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Category Archive for 'Awards'

Whether you’ve played rugby for years or if you have never even picked up a rugby ball The Middlebury College Men’s Rugby Club (The MCRC) would like to invite you to join us in the world’s premier contact sport! Having had strong success in Division II (National Champions 2007 and 2009, runners up 2011), The MCRC  moved up to  Division I-AA Collegiate Rugby in the fall of 2011 where we are founding members of the East Coast Rugby Conference (ECRC).  We enjoyed a tremendously successful 2012-2013 season, winning the ECRC and participating in two National Championship events (7′s & 15′s.) The fall of 2013 was even more successful as the club went undefeated in league play and won our 2nd consecutive ECRC title before advancing to the National semi-final. Nevertheless this club is about more than trophies and accolades: its a brotherhood that will last you a lifetime!

Here is all the info you will need to get started:

Club Meeting (all new and former players must attend):

  • Every Monday @ 4:30 PM in KENYON LOUNGE      (First meeting is Monday, February 10)

Health Forms & Sports Medicine Clearance (Deadline: February 24 @ noon)

BEFORE you can practice you MUST receive clearance from Sports Medicine. The deadline is noon Feb 24 – please take care of this ASAP to avoid issues. You must have submitted the appropriate forms by 2/24 or you will not be eligible to play rugby this semester.

Here is the clearance procedure info:  

http://www.middlebury.edu/athletics/sportsmed/all

Impact (Concussion) Test

Any student that has not taken an impact test at Middlebury, must schedule an appointment with sports med to complete a baseline IMPACT test. Email sportsmed@middlebury.edu or call x5636 between 10am – 2pm.

Spring Practice Schedule:

  • To Be Determined

Fall Practice Schedule:

  • Monday – 4:30 pm Club meeting in Kenyon Lounge followed by practice till 6:30 pm
  • Tues, Wed & Thurs – 4:30 pm – 6:30pm  Practice @ the Rugby Field
  • Fri – Captains’ Practice; Gym session
  • Sat – Game day!
  • Sun – Pool recovery session

Game Schedule:
Check out our game schedule under the Schedule-Results tab at the top of the screen.

Equipment:
For practice please make sure you have the following gear:

  • Mouthguards (available at the bookstore, 4th ‘n’ goal, Olympia Sports)
  • Non-marking running shoes (in case we have to go in-doors due to weather)
  • Rugby or soccer cleats (you can wear football cleats or running shoes until you have an opportunity to get appropriate cleats)
  • Rugby jersey (t-shirt okay until you have an opportunity to get a rugby jersey)
  • Rugby shorts (other sports shorts okay until you have an opportunity to get rugby shorts)

Rugby Field location: Beyond South East end of Peterson Family Athletics Complex on South Main St. (Route 30 South)

USA Rugby Registration: Once you have decided that you are sticking with rugby you need to register with USA Rugby (the governing body for collegiate rugby in the US).  Registration is required to play in matches: https://membership.usarugby.org/default.aspx

Please email rugby@middlebury.edu with any questions and to let us know you are interested in rugby so that we can add you to our email list and roster.

Middlebury’s historic season came to an end on Saturday with a 12-34 loss to Penn State. Middlebury struck first with a converted try from Captain Allan Stafford, and later extended the lead with another try from 8-man Laird Silsby, but Penn State answered both times and the contest was even at 12 points each at the half.  Ultimately Penn State’s size, depth and skill proved too much for The Blue as the Nittany Lions pulled away in the second half to earn a berth in the title match. Our hats go off to an excellent opponent!

Despite the loss it was a special day as it was the first ever National playoff game held at Middlebury, and the campus and community came out to support in record numbers. Nearly a thousand friends and family were on hand to cheer on The MCRC and their shouts surely lifted the Boys in Blue to new heights.

Many thanks to all our alumni, parents and friends who have supported us throughout this incredible season. We wouldn’t be where we are without you!

On Saturday, November 23 Middlebury Rugby will host a National Semi-Final. Perennial powerhouse Penn State will make the drive north to take on the Blue. Kick-off is scheduled for 1pm.

The other semi-final pits Kutztown against Bowling Green, also this Saturday.

The American Collegiate Rugby Championship concludes in South Carolina two weeks later with the National Championship match at Furman University on December 7.

Please come and support The Blue for this historic game!

 

The MCRC crushed Empire Conference Champs Stony Brook University on their home pitch to the tune of 57-3 in last Saturday’s National Quarterfinal. The Blue dictated the action from the opening kick-off and never looked back.

Next up Middlebury will host Penn State in the National Semi-Final on Saturday, 11/23. The match will be the Nittany Lions first trip to Middlebury, and also marks the first time Middlebury will host a National play-off match. Penn State defeated Clemson by 1 point to reach the semi-finals.

Full match report:

Saturday the 16th dawned clear and crisp and full of promise. The Blue woke up rested and eager to take the pitch and would not disappoint. From the opening kickoff from outside center Adam “this IS a beard” Schreiber ’14, Middlebury dominated the play. Terrific defense kept the Seawolves pinned in their own zone and Midd captalized just 2 minutes in with an easy penalty kick. Inside center Jake “Flo” Feury ’16 slots it home to put the Blue in front 3-0.

The next five minutes are indicative of how this day is going to go, as Middlebury refuses to allow Stony Brook to get anything going. The first few scrums of the day are totally dominated by the Blue pack, with Middlebury driving back their opposites 5, 10 and 15 meters. The front row of loosehead Cliff “The Kraken” Hanich ’15, hooker Madison “Plank” Stebbins ’14.5 and tighthead Cole “LPF” Baker ’16 is absolutely savage. Together they take control of the scrum and make it clear that this is going to be their game.  Middlebury’s forward dominance earns another shot at goal which Feury converts. The score is 6-0 after 8 minutes of play.

The next five minutes see the backline start to connect with the pack and Middlebury shows it is a complete rugby team. The backs string together multiple phases, helping one another immensely with rock solid rucking after each tackle. After more constant pressure fullback Alex “Coco” Ruocco ’14 pins his ears back and scores the first try of the day in the corner. The difficult conversion is wide and Middlebury has the lead 11-0 after 14 minutes.

The game is still young and both teams have worked hard to be here. Stony Brook stormed through the Empire Conference en route to an undefeated season and nobody expects them to roll over. They attack in Middlebury’s half, but are undone by loose passes and knock-ons. With The MCRC firmly in control of the scrum the attacking opportunities are few and far between for Stony Brook. After a series of phases the Blue defense stands firm and clears out of danger. Solid work from all 15 players sees the Blue march confidently down the pitch and into the red zone. Feury takes a pass and despite being triple-teamed does what he has done all season long: score. The big man fights thru several defenders and then turns the corner on them showing a (un)surprising turn of pace. Feury converts his own try and after 24 minutes Middlebury leads 18-0.

Mention must be made of the season of Mr. Jake Feury. In this his first full season with the team, Feury played both inside and outside center and had a torrid campaign. Jake led all try scorers in the Conference with 13 tries, and also all scorers with an amazing 110 points (thru 6 games.) This total was nearly TRIPLE the next closest scorer and higher than the cumulative season point total of three teams in the ECRC. Needless to say, Feury presents opposing defenses with countless problems and his day was far from over.

Stony Brook knew that it was now or never and they came out clawing at the subsequent kickoff. The two teams duked it out, but the home side is unable to break thru. Rock solid defense from lock Tom “Deep Heat” Lynch ’14 and flyhalf Captain Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 set the tone. Stafford is unbelievable making tackle after tackle, while Lynch is relentless at the breakdown clearing one ruck after another. Fellow senior flanker John “Escuter” Hawley ’14 is totally dominant at the lineout, and one almost starts to feel bad for the hosts. Almost.

Stony Brook earns a penalty at the breakdown near midfield and takes the rare chance for points. The kick is good from over 40 meters and the score is 18-3 after 32 minutes. These would be the Seawolves only points on the day.

Middlebury swept the ECRC by taking advantage of opportunities and always answering back after a score. The Blue kicks off and immediately puts Stony Brook under pressure. Middlebury earns a penalty and kicks to touch, gaining valuable ground. The forwards win clean ball and drive it up with loosehead Hanich pounding thru the defense. Quick ball sees Stafford free and he unselfishly pops to roommate and fellow captain lock Ben “Firenuts” Stasiuk ’13.5 for the easy try under the posts. It is a beautiful and well-earned team try, which Feury, of course, converts. 25-3 with five minutes remaining in the half. The play also demonstrates the growth and maturity of Stafford who is used to scoring tries. The career fullback made the switch to flyhalf mid-season and continues to improve each week. “El Natural” finished the regular season the 2nd leading try scorer (and 4th leading scorer overall) in the conference, but this simple pop pass shows he more than just a pretty face and a try scoring machine. Allan Stafford is a rugby player.

Feury converts one more penalty just two minutes later and Middlebury goes into the break with a 28-3 lead. Midd knows it is their game to lose and the focus remains laser-like. Injured 8-man Silsby challenges his teammates to bring a renewed energy and the team returns the pitch ready to go.

As expected, Stony Brook comes out of the gate with new life. The teams trade blows for nearly 20 minutes with neither team able to turn opportunities into points. Middlebury knows it needs to weather the storm and they do so brilliantly with shutdown defense and lethal counterattacks. Middlebury penetrates deep into Stony Brook’s territory and attempts to pound it across the goal-line but the ball gets buried underneath a pile of bodies and the referee blows the whistle. Scrumhalf Alec “Beefcake” Mackenzie ’15 and flanker-turned-8-man Griffin “Gym Rat” Jones ’16 link up for what looks to be a picture-perfect try, but the exchange is ruled forward and the scrum is given to the Seawolves. No matter, as the Blue pack steals the put in, drives them back, and Jones is able to touch down for the try. Feury converts and the lead is 35-3 with 21 minutes remaining.

Middlebury takes advantage of its depth and Jones comes off with flanker Miller “I need a nickname” Judge coming on to flank and Hawley taking over the #8 duties. Hanich also gets to rest, with Baker moving to the #1 spot and tighthead Mike “Traps” Wysota ’14 coming on with fresh legs. Sam “Gluten Free” Finkelman ’14 takes over the hooking duties for Stebbins, and Middlebury shows what it means to have a true squad.

A few minutes later the Seawolves have an opportunity inside Middlebury’s 22 but the ball is turned over by openside flanker Devin “I’m so glad he’s on my team” Risinger ’14. Risinger has been a force all day, nay, all SEASON, at the breakdown and his breakdown work sets free the backline who counterattack roughly 75 meters down the field. Stony Brook, penalized repeatedly at the breakdown, finally commits one infraction too many and earn a yellow card. Feury drives home the penalty kick and Middlebury stretches the lead to 38-3.

Smelling the blood in the water, The MCRC moves in for the kill. Risinger scores a forward’s try off a beautiful driving maul which Feury pushes just wide from out wide. New assistant coach Junior Tuiqere (long time head coach of the Burlington Men’s Club) has helped take the forwards to another level, and the maul is the finest example. It is a well-earned try and gives the Blue a 40 point lead.

The Blue strike again quickly, with young Canadian winger Julien “Why is it so cold?” Miller ’17 turning on the jets and finishing off another attack in the host’s try zone. Feury converts and the lead is 50-3 with roughly 10 minutes remaining. Stony Brook’s player returns from the sin bin and his absence has been a costly one for the home team as Middlebury tallied 15 points in those 10 minutes.

Lock Charlie “What does the fox say?” Kunze ’15 relieves teammate Lynch and immediately announces his presence with authority thru several crushing tackles. The fresh legs in the forwards keep the Seawolves on their back foot and they are called for another penalty. Middlebury kicks to touch, wins the lineout, and attacks. Stafford looks for space, but it isn’t there, but Stasiuk is and he is not to be denied. The big captain muscles through several would-be tacklers and pounds down the ball for his second try of the day. Schreiber slots the conversion to extend the lead to 57-3 with just minutes to play.

The final whistle blows and Middlebury has a convincing victory and first ever Division I playoff win. It is an unbelievable team effort and well-deserved celebration for the club. Many thanks to Stony Brook for hosting and for a hard-fought match. We have no doubt we will see this team again in the future!

FIRST XV: Cliff Hanich ’15, Madison Stebbins ’14.5, Cole Baker ’16, (C) Ben Stasiuk ’13.5, Tom Lynch ’14, John Hawley ’14, Devin Risinger ’14, Griffin Jones ’16, Alec Mackenzie ’15, (C) Allan Stafford ’13.5, Sam Schwarz ’16, Jake Feury ’16, Adam Schreiber ’14, Julien Miller ’17, Alex Ruocco ’14

RESERVES: Mike Wysota ’14, Sam Finkelman ’14, Miller Judge ’16, Charlie Kunze ’15, Henry Thomson ’17, Vince Mariano ’14, Tucker Hopkins ’16, Max deJong ’17

SCORING: Feury – 25 points (1 t, 4 p, 4 c), Stasiuk – 10 points (2 t), Alex Ruocco 5 points (1 t), Griffin Jones – 5 points (1 t), Devin Risinger – 5 points (1 t), Julien Miller – 5 points (1 t), Adam Schreiber – 2 points (1 c)

 

On a windy day in Beantown The Blue avenged last year’s narrow loss to BC and soundly defeated the Eagles 35-15. Middlebury won it’s sixth straight match, all bonus point wins, to finish the regular season a perfect 6-0. This marks Middlebury’s first ever undefeated regular season in D-IAA and is the team’s second straight ECRC Championship.

Middlebury now prepares to meet the winner of the Empire Conference in a National Quarterfinal on November 16.

For the second year in a row Middlebury has won the East Coast Rugby Conference title! After soundly thumping Albany 78-22 the MCRC kept an eye on the twitter feed of the Saturday evening match up between AIC and Boston College. Although AIC was in front the entire match, BC punched thru a late try to close the gap and be in position to earn the losing bonus point. AIC, however, responded with a try of their own in the final moments to win the match 20-10. Neither team earned a bonus point which benefited The MCRC.

The weekend’s results leaves the standings with Middlebury alone in first with 25 points (5 bonus point wins) after 5 games played, AIC in second with 24 points after 6 games played and their regular season complete, and BC in third with 14 points after 4 games played.

By virtue of the conference title Middlebury has qualified for the National Quarterfinals to be played Saturday, November 16 (location TBD).

Middlebury’s final regular season game is Saturday, October 26 against Boston College at 1pm. Please come cheer on the Boys in Blue!!

Pitch Address:

LAKE STREET & ST. CLEMENT’S FIELDS (BRIGHTON CAMPUS)

From Downtown Boston: Follow Commonwealth Avenue to St. Johns Seminary (Enter on the 4th Right after Foster Street). Follow the road until you see the parking area on your right. The field to your right is St. Clement’s field and the field ahead and to the left is the Lake Street field.

 

MCRC wins Conference Championship!!!

On a absolutely beautiful fall day The MCRC defeated Southern Connecticut 40-5 to win the last game of the season and clinch the team’s first ever Conference Championship in D-IAA. The Championship, glorious by itself, is extra sweet in that it includes a bid thru to Nationals in the spring.

That’s right, Middlebury Rugby is going back to Nationals! It is the club’s sixth trip to Nationals in the last seven years, but the very first in D-IAA.

Today also marked the last game for our graduating seniors. All-American Captain Brian Sirkia ’12.5 led the Blue onto the field for the final time, and, as he has done for the last four years, led the team for the next 80 minutes, scoring 2 tries (the ref didn’t see the third, but we did!), and drilling 5 conversions to lead all scorers once again.

Today is a very special day in the history of Middlebury Rugby and we thank you all for all your support!!

Full match report below:

The game against SoConn opens up with the teams trading kicks and penalties for the first ten minutes. Middlebury threatens repeatedly, but is unable to put points on the board.  Strong breaks by the Blue ultimately lead to a lineout deep in opposition territory. After securing the ball, the pack draws in the defense with a series of punishing pick and drives, before scrumhalf Don “Strong Juan” Song ’13 spins the ball out to Sirkia, who slices through the defense like a light-saber through butter and crosses over for the game’s opening try. He calmly connects his conversion and the score is 7-0 14 minutes in.

The referee is calling a tremendously tight game, and one too many penalties for not releasing the ball sees 8-man Laird “Godzilla” Silsby sin-binned. The blue scrum, operating a man down, begins to crush the opposing pack. A savage front row of Cliff “Kraken” Hanich ’15, Sam “Gluten Free” Finkleman ’14.5, and Cole “George Washington” Baker ’16 batter the SoConn front row into submission. The Blue engine room of locks Captain Ben “Sturgees” Stasiuk ’13.5 and Tom “Wildman” Lynch ’14 never looked stronger, while flanks Griffin “Hip Flexor” Jones and John “Scooter” Hawley fly all over the pitch chasing whatever scraps the tight five leave for them.

After spending ten minutes of quiet and deep introspection, Silsby rejoins his mates on the pitch. Fresh legs and a newfound inner peace help Silsby break through the gain line on an absurd support line and touch down for the second try of the game. Sirkia drills it. 14-0 at the 30 minute mark.

As halftime approaches, the Blue defense holds strong as SoConn manages to string together a few sequences of strong play. Midd regains possession after Dylan “I just want to tackle” Whitaker rips the ball out of the arms of a southern Connecticut front-rower. Sirkia gets the ball, presses turbo, and he’s gone. A solid 60 meters and 3 or 4 dummies later, he is in the try-zone celebrating. The referee, unfortunately, believes that everyone’s favorite Canadian was held-up.

No matter. Minutes later, on the final play of the half, Sirkia’s co-captain, Stasiuk, takes a pop, runs parallel to the try line as if searching for that elusive Proctor parking space and then dives across when a gap opens up. Sirkia goes 3-3 and the Blue lead 21-0 at the half.

At halftime, the MCRC brain trust turn towards the bench where they see try-machine and mustache aficionado Allan “El Natural” Stafford ’13.5 anxiously pacing  like his wife is in labor. Stafford is brought on for Alex “Coco Puffs” Ruocco ’14 on the wing. Ruocco started playing rugby just this past spring and has already become a vital contributor, earning his Blue during this, the last game of the season.

The boys from Midd take control of the game as the forwards begin asserting their will on the Southern pack. A 30-meter maul here…a scrum stolen there…the Boys in Blue are dominating the contact area.

A great boot from center Adam “MuttonChops” Schreiber ’14 earns the Blue a lineout at the opposition 20. Time for some set-piece magic.

Baker throws an absolute dime to Hawley, who is approximately 75 feet off the ground thanks to lifters Stasiuk and Lynch. Hawley sends it off the top to Don “watch the hair” Song who flings a lazer out to Sirkia. Fearful of the canuck’s side-step, the SoConn defense forgets about the big 8 man. Sirkia draws the defense and pops to Silsby whose acceleration onto the ball epitomizes “taking it at pace.” Try number two on the day for the sophomore, who chooses a great day to play the best game this author has yet to see out of him. Credit to the coaching staff on this try. The blue lineout added a fair number of wrinkles this year to help attack off the set piece, and they put it all together beautifully on this play. Sirkia converts his fourth straight and Middlebury leads 28-0 eight minutes into the 2nd half.

Three minutes later a beautiful attack highlighted by superlative support play culminates in Captain Sirkia touching down in the corner for his second score of the day. The kick is from the touchline and even Superman Sirkia can’t make this one: 33-0 Midd.

Jebb “The best facial hair on campus” Norton 13.5 subs on for Geoff “Just a little upper circuit” Genova ’15 at the other wing. Great game by Genova who seems to have found a home on the wing this fall.

Wonderful series of passing by the backline sees Stafford break free for a try under the posts (his tenth on the season). Particularly fine job of ball movement by Alec “Stir-fry” Mackenzie ’15, filling in at fullback for the dinged up Stafford. A superb sophomore campaign from Messr. Mackenzie. The support and ball movement are again note-worthy here, and somewhere a cork is popping, because THIS is some Champagne rugby! Sirkia drills the kick to put the Blue ahead 40-0 with only 16 minutes remaining.

In the final few mintues of the game, the  SoConn pack keeps hammering away, finally managing to break over the try line. A tremendously impressive series of goal-line tackles by the blue pack kept SoConn waiting on the doorway for multiple phases, but credit to SoConn for fighting until the final minute, despite the game being out of reach. The kick is no good at the score stands at 40-5 with just minutes remaining.

Middlebury knows the game is in hand and all eyes are on the clock and the referee. Finally the ball is drilled to touch, and the final whistle of the season blows and Middlebury are 2012 East Coast Champions!!

 

The MCRC would like to wish a fond farewell and good luck to Muchadei Zvoma ’07 who is off to pursue an MBA at the Kellogg School of Business.  After winning the Division II National Championship in his last game as a collegiate rugby player, Muchadei returned to Middlebury in the fall of 2008 to begin his coaching career.  There must be something about this man from Zimbabwe for in his first year as a coach the MCRC went undefeated and won their 2nd National Championship.

Muchadei leaves us as the only member of the MCRC to win a National Championship as both a player and a coach, but his contributions to our club cannot be measured in wins and losses.  For the past four years he has worked tirelessly on behalf of the MCRC, both on and off the pitch. He has been a constant advocate for the club and its members, and a valued friend to all.

To honor Muchadei and all that he means to the MCRC, he was awarded the first ever “Legend of the Blue” at this year’s pre-Commencement banquet.  The “Legend of the Blue” aims to recognize the unique accomplishments and contributions of those special few who have changed the club forever.  We can think of no better man to be the first ever Legend of the Blue!

Muchadei was also awarded the 2012 Evan Mangino Award, which states, “This award goes to the player displaying the highest level of Character and Courage, and a strong Commitment to the betterment of the MCRC.  It was created to honor the achievements and contributions of Mr. Mangino, 2003.” For all those who know Muchadei, these words could have been written directly about him, and he is most deserving of this unique honor.

Muchadei, you are forever our friend and brother and we wish you all the best. You will be missed!

The MCRC would like to congratulate the class of 2012 and welcome them into the ranks of MCRC alumni. The seniors enjoyed a terrific celebration the Friday before Commencement with many family and friends.
 
In 2008 a tradition was started by Head Coach John Phillips: “Earning your Blue.” A player earns their “Blue” by appearing in five (5) competitive A-side games over the course of the college career. The are presented with their official MCRC jersey to keep at graduation.  This year 6 players received their “Blue” on Friday.
 
 
Ladies and Gentlemen, your graduates!
 
Ross Berriman (All-American, Blue)
Tom Campanella (Cum Laude, Blue)
Landers Carnal
Nick Derrico (Blue)
Dillon Hupp (Coaches’ Award & Service Award)
Geoff Kalan (Blue)
Rowan Kelner (Captain, Blue)
Jack Maher (Blue)
Jieming Sun (Cum Laude)
Ben Tabb (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude)
Charlie Weymess-Dunn (Magna Cum Laude)

The MCRC would like to congratulate the class of 2011 and welcome them into the ranks of MCRC alumni. The seniors enjoyed a wonderful banquet the night before Commencement with many family and friends, followed by a lovely Vermont spring day for Commencement.

In 2008 a tradition was started by Head Coach John Phillips: “Earning your Blue.” A player earns their “Blue” by appearing in five (5) competitive A-side games over the course of the college career. The are presented with their official MCRC jersey to keep at graduation.  This year 8 players received their “Blue” at the saturday banquet, and a special “Blue” was presented to Club President & Coach Darragh Hurley for his outstanding contributions to The MCRC.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your graduates:

  • Zach Bills (Cum Laude, Blue)
  • Ben Cmejla (Magna Cum Laude, Blue)
  • Andrew Durfee
  • Phil Ehrlich (Cum Laude)
  • Drew Harasimowicz (Blue)
  • Sam Harrison (Blue)
  • Mike Hodge (Cum Laude)
  • Darragh Hurley (Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude, MCRC President, MCRC Coach, Blue)
  • Dan Khan
  • Brendan Mahoney
  • Chris Marshall (Captain, Blue, All-American nominee)
  • Mike Pappa (Magna Cum Laude, Blue)
  • Dane Steel (Blue)
  • Chris Vandergrift (Magna Cum Laude, Blue, All-American nominee)

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