As the Head Coach of Lake Forest Harrier Rugby and VP of Development with Rugby Illinois, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to teach youth the sport of rugby and also instill solid values and habits youth can use later in life.
When I was contacted by Thrive Project for America , a new non-profit run by former US Navy SEALS aiming to work with young athletes utilizing SEAL training, we were in!
Members of Harrier Rugby, New Trier Rugby, Arlington Stallions and Illinois Tornadoes got together for an afternoon of physical and mental training, pushing themselves to limits they hadn't been pushed before.
The 2016 Rugby Illinois state championship weekend was a fantastic success. Sunny skies (maybe a little too much?) and exciting rugby were a perfect combination in Rockford to wrap up the competitive season in style.
From an all day festival to decide champions in four middle school divisions on Sunday to state championship and consolation title matches in seven boys and girls high school divisions on Monday, it was a celebration of quality youth rugby to cap off the 2016 spring season, and we have all the results!
The Rugby Illinois Sevens Championships returned to Elgin July 10-11, 2015, and we have the results! The Sevens Championships are an opportunity for boys and girls high school and middle school sevens teams from across the state to compete in an all day festival that decides the Illinois state sevens champions.
Rugby Sevens is a variation of the rules involving seven players instead of the usual fifteen, resulting in a faster paced game with non-stop action. Also known as Olympic Rugby, the 7s version will be featured in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, a return for rugby that has been a long time coming. The United States took home the gold medal in 1920 and 1924 in the 15s version before rugby was dropped from the games.
Rugby 7s has grown in popularity as a summer diversion for rugby players following the spring 15s season. Teams will gather for weekend 7s festivals in the summer, with an entire tournament completed in one day.
Rugby Illinois sponsored the first official Illinois state sevens championship in 2014, with Arlington defeating Mt. Carmel for the boys high school title. Arlington returned in 2015 with hopes of repeating as state champions.
There were nine boys high school teams in three pools. At the end of pool play, the top team from each pool plus one wildcard entered in the playoff round. When the dust had settled, the Arlington Stallions came out on top in the championship over the South Side Irish 24-10. The Palatine Barbarians took third.
The high school girls championship was won by the Rockford Ravens over the Elgin River Rats with a sweep of the series. The middle school championship went to the Fox Valley Predators, who defeated the Elgin River Rats 17-15 in a close fought deciding match.
On Friday night while the teams were checking in to start the festival, individual player competitions were the featured events. For the high school boys, the drop goal kicking title went to Leo Martinez, while kicking for distance and passing accuracy went to the Curt Crouser, and Cam Wimes was declared fastest rugger. For the high school girls, Carmina Rossas won the drop goal kicking, Mahairy Martinez won kicking for distance as well as passing accuracy, and Kylie Tredwell was fastest rugger. Standout Malik Hill won all four competitions at the middle school level.
For more information, including all the match scores, visit the Rugby Illinois Sevens event page.
Rugby Illinois visited schools in Onarga, Bismarck and Gilman in a three day swing through the heartland of Illinois.
Rookie Rugby was enthusiastically received by the PE teaches and the majority of the students. Approximately 630 boys and girls in 18 separate PE classes were able to experience running, passing and catching a rugby ball and scoring a try for the first time. Teachers and students also stopped by the gym at all three schools to watch the rugby action.
This outreach would not have been possible without the help of our volunteer instructors, John Baderman, West Suburban Bulls, Tim Bauer, Andy Bauer of Flatlanders Rugby Club and Kelley Sullivan, Rugby Illinois' intern from Illinois State University.
These outreach programs also gave Rugby Illinois the opportunity to demonstrate and train the volunteers so that they can now go out and conduct Rookie Rugby sessions in schools.
Two of the PE teachers at the schools visited are active High School football coaches who now wish to provide more rugby playing experience to their football programs. All three schools are considering inviting Rugby Illinois instructors back to provide further rugby playing experience to their students.