Spring 2003 Match Reports
How to make your tax-deductible donation to Truman Rugby …
You can now make your tax deductible donation to Truman Rugby online through the Truman State University secure website. Click on the following hyperlink to directly access the Contribution Form. You can make donations using your MasterCard or Visa credit card. [The web address is https://secure.truman.edu/alumni-s/contribution_new.asp.] Alternatively, you can go to the Truman website, www.truman.edu, click on “Alumni and Friends” – then “Giving Opportunities” and then the “Online Contribution Form“. Be sure to denote the gift should go to “Other – Men’s Rugby”. Also, if you do make an online contribution, please drop us a quick e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org so we know you have done so and we can track the appropriate credits to our account (to be on the safe side).
If you prefer to donate the old-fashioned way – via check, we are also happy to work with you! Simply make the check payable to “Truman Rugby” and mail to Truman Rugby c/o 1405 East Meadow Lane, Kirksville, MO 63501.
Truman Rugby announces 2003-2004 Alumni Awardees
Through the generous support of the Truman (Northeast) Rugby Alumni, we were able to initiate the “Alumni Awards” program last year (click here to link to the information and application). The awards are designated for incoming first-year players with previous high school experience, who project to having a significant impact on Truman Rugby. The awards are for the first year only, and total $500 – payable in two $250 installments at the end of the fall and spring seasons. They are recycled for new incoming players the next yeat. The first recipient of an Alumni Award was Sean Foley (flyhalf) for the 2002-2003 year. Sean was outstanding on the field, earning Outstanding Rookie and then Outstanding Back awards his first two seasons as a freshman. In addition, Sean was selected to the Heart of America Collegiate All-Stars, and was selected to the All-Tournament Team during the Western Rugby Union Collegiate All-Stars Championships in November 2002.
We have made two awards for the 2003-2004 season. They are Tony Guibardo (DeSmet High School in St. Louis) and Adam Levin (International School of Brussels). Tony is a 6′ 0″ 200 lb outside center who has four years of high school rugby experience, and has recently played with the USA Rugby Under-19 team. His Desmet team took 3rd place at the Western High School Championships, earning them a spot in the USA Rugby High School Sweet 16. Tony scored three tries for Desmet, during their 19-15 victory over the Junior Blues to take 3rd place. Adam is a 6′ 0″ 220 lb prop (plays both tighthead and loosehead), who began playing rugby at age 12 in England. He has lived and played rugby in Belgium for the past two years. Both players come to Truman Rugby with great experience and superlative references from their respective coaches. I have met each of these young men, and am very impressed with both. I believe they will be great additions to the Truman Rugby family. Many thanks to the generous contributions from our Alumni who make these awards possible!
Chris Bell elected Club President
Citing heavy school commitments, Kyle Stephens, who was elected club president in December 2002, has stepped-down. Chris Bell, was elected unanimously to succeed Stephens as president.
Spring 2003 Playing Awards announced at Spring Team Dinner
The recipients of the spring 2003 season playing awards were announced Tuesday evening at the spring post-season dinner. These awards are voted on by the players. Each award is sponsored by an Alumnus, who pays $50 which covers the awardee’s dues for the next semester. The sponsor’s name is placed at the bottom of the award plaque.
Many players were nominated in each of four categories, and the top vote-getters were:
Most Improved (tie)
Most Improved (tie)
We also bid farewell to our two graduating seniors, Joe Rothermich and Luke Walczewski. Rothermich was president of the club from 2001-2002, and received the “Allan Chapman Service Award” in 2001. Joe is headed back to St. Louis to work in radio broadcasting. Walczewski was team vice captain in 2002-2003, the outstanding back in fall 2002, and was the leading points scorer each of the last three seasons. Luke is headed to Washington University, School of Law.
In addition, we said good-bye to freshman lock and award winner, T.R. Dilla. T.R. had been accepted to West Point during his senior year of high school, but a rupture anterior cruciate ligament and subsequent recovery kept him out. T.R. worked very hard on his knee strength and recovery to pass the West Point fitness test and get back on the list. Well, he recently heard that he had been accepted, and will be headed to West Point at the end of June. Best of luck with Army – our loss is their gain!
Truman assemble to play Kansas City Junior Blues
We put together a team of available players to travel to Kansas City last Saturday, April 19 to provide some opposition for the Junior Blues (Brian Wilson’s old team) before they head to the Western Boy’s High School Championships in Dallas next weekend. Truman fielded a good side – a number of regular starters, some second team players, and a rookie in his first ever match. It appeared that some Truman players expected to roll over the Junior Blues, but it was quickly made clear that they were not to be intimidated. The Junior Blues ran and tackled hard, and never stopped coming. While the result never seemed to be in doubt, with Truman posting a 19-0 score, it reflected some poor quality rugby by Truman and some very good play by the Junior Blues. They should do well next week at Westerns.
CMSU Match Truman were supposed to play Central Missouri State Missouri (they called us!) on April 10th. However, they called the morning of the match to inform us they weren’t able to make the trip. Game cancelled. You can figure out the rest for yourself!
Truman place 4th (of 8) in Western Rugby Union Men’s Division I Collegiate Championships
Truman traveled to Dallas, TX April 4-6 to participate in the Western Rugby Union Collegiate Championships. We defeated University of Nebraska-Lincoln 18-10 in the first round. We did not play well, but we played well enough to move on. In the second round we faced Air Force Academy – big, fit and fast. Overall, I would say we played well, but we just don’t have the same overall athletic ability, and when pressed, Air Force was just too strong and we lost 0-36. However, our technique and execution was good, and we played much better than against Nebraska. In the 3rd place match against the University of Texas on Sunday morning, we had to contend with their solid pack, and exceptional Texas backs. Our forwards played very well, but we were out-paced in the back-line, and Texas was able to hit holes and convert the littlest handling error or funny bounce into a break-away try. We answered their scores with our own scores and it was 13-17 at half. Early in the second half it was 20-22, but a couple late converted tries sealed their 20-36 win. Truman finished in 4th place – our starting seed. Note, against Texas we played better than in both previous games, and it is clear that we respond well to challenges. It is clear that we need more fast, challenging matches to bring our game up. Everyone is already excited about next year!
> Truman 18 – University of Nebraska-Lincoln 10
> Truman 0 – Air Force Academy 36
> Truman 20 – University of Texas 36
> Final Standing: 4th Place
Credit to everyone on the team who traveled and played – all played with great conviction and dignity, and no one ever quit. We received a number of compliments for our style of play from fans and referees alike. We will use this tournament and experience as a springboard to continue to build our program. Special thanks to Mark Wilson, who traveled with the team, drove a van, and who provided great moral support for team. And thanks to the Burkempers, who were able to travel from St. Louis to watch us (Ben really!) play.
In the finals, Air Force defeated Texas A&M 49-12 – both advance to the USA Rugby Sweet 16.
Truman 20 – University of Iowa 13
Truman fielded what appeared to be the strongest combination to go against the University of Iowa – a big and aggressive team, who were playing their first game of the season. Truman was sloppy and undisciplined through much of the first half turned-over possession constantly and again failed to convert numerous scoring opportunities. The halftime score was Truman 3 – Iowa 0 on a Walczewski penalty. Iowa opened the second half aggressively and put Truman on their heels from the outset, scoring unconverted tries at 3 and 11 minutes and a penalty at 15 min, to take a 3-13 lead. Will Truman fold or rally? The answer is that we rallied with style! Don’t ask me why we can’t play with this effectiveness more often, but it was amazing. We began to attack the fringes with aggression, and did a terrific job in support and ball control. Truman got a penalty goal from Walczewski at 20 min to close to 6-13. After driving the length of the field (including 20+ meters on a well-executed driving lineout) we got a good try from replacement lock, Nick Welchert at 26 min that converted by Walczewski to tie the match at Truman 13- Iowa 13. Truman continued to control the pace of the game and dominate possession. From a penalty kick to touch, we executed a good driving lineout, spun the ball to Walczewski who crashed up. From a series of rucks close to the try line, freshman lock T.R. Dilla drove over for the winning try in injury time.
Halftime: Truman 3 – Iowa 0; Final Score: Truman 20 – Iowa 13
Tries: Welchert, Dilla
Conversions: Walczewski (2 of 2)
Penalties: Walczewski (2 of 2)
NOTE: Everyone was obviously thrilled to come back and take the good win. An adjustment in game plan mid-way through the second half, and great performances by a couple of key subs (Welchert and Tom Tajkowski) had a huge impact, as the intensity of attack and tone of play changed. Clearly, fitness was critical and no one on the pitch even thought of letting down. Personally, I hope that this marks an important step in this team’s preparation – the time when they find their “heart” and know that they can ratchet up the intensity to earn a win!
Truman 40 – Pearl City (IA) 7
Earlier in the day, Truman fielded a mixed team, with an eye on preparation for the WRFU Collegiate Championships in Dallas, TX next weekend, with the entire reserve bench starting this match. The first half was brilliant, as we controlled possession and scored 4 converted tries to take a 28-0 half-time lead. Tries were scored by Kevin Hunn, rookie lock Matt O’Brien, Luke Walczewski, and Chris Bell (all converted by Walczewski). Some rearrangement of the lineup in the second lead to some serious lapses and loss of discipline, and our effectiveness waned. Two second half tries and a conversion by Walczewski resulted in a Final Score of 40 – 7.
Halftime: Truman 28 – Pearl City 7; Final Score: Truman 40 – Pearl City 7
Tries: Walczewski (3), Hunn, O’Brien, Bell
Conversions: Walczewski (5 of 6)
Truman Rugby shows marked improvement against a tough St. Louis Ramblers team
Facing a larger men’s club side is always daunting, even when they have subbed some of their starters, they tend to be bigger and more experienced and provide stiff competition. That said, Truman played well and showed improvement over the past couple of weeks, and limited the Ramblers to three unconverted tries. Truman was missing three key players (Joe Donley – military duty, Kyle Stephens – rolled ankle, and Kevin Jones – bruised shoulder), and we filled in well, testing our depth going into the Western Championships. Truman defended well tackling lots of big guys, and they played aggressive offense. However, we were undone by some errant passes and dropped balls that lead to some costly turnovers. We had several good scoring opportunities, but we were unable to finish off the movements (still a problem!). We had to settle for a couple of Luke Walczewski penalty goals. This was a good performance by all measures, and some mistakes can clearly be attributed to defensive pressure. Final score: Truman 6 – Ramblers 15 We will address some more of these issues over the next two weeks as we prepare for Westerns in Dallas, TX April 5-6.
Halftime: Truman 6 – Ramblers 10; Final Score: Truman 6 – Ramblers 15
Two penalties from Walczewski
In the second match (two 20 -min halves) Truman surprised the Ramblers to take an early lead on two Ryan Worth tries and a Richard “Dick” Schuessler try and two conversions. The Ramblers came back in the second half, to put up four tries and three conversions to take a 19-26 lead, which was the final score. Great efforts from those who also played the for game, and those players who are still learning their game.
B Game: Truman “B” 19 – St. Louis Ramblers “B 26
Scoring: Two tries from Ryan Worth, one try from Richard Schuessler; two conversions from Schuessler
Truman spring break trip – two disappointing losses
We met in St. Louis on Wednesday, March 12 and traveled south to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. The ASU hosts were terrific and everyone had a great time. We played ASU on Thursday afternoon under cool and cloudy skies. ASU were big and aggressive, and we started slow playing lots of defense. We were unable to convert some early scoring chances, and were down 0-12 at the half. We rallied for two tries (Justin Carley and Ryan Worth) in the second period, as our fitness began to show and we were pressing hard. Unfortunately, we couldn’t convert these tries and lost by final score of 10-12. (FYI – ASU has won the South Territorial Division II Championship three years running, and appeared in three consecutive Division II National Championships, making it to the National Finals in 2001).
On Friday, March 14, we traveled to Cape Girardeau, MO to meet the Kohlfeld Scorpions. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to understand about hosting/billeting and only three players came out to meet us. We got hotel rooms and descended upon an unsuspecting Ponderosa Steakhouse! Saturday was our first hot day of the season with the sun beaming down. However, the field was the best we have played on in ages – soft and full regulation size. The heat was a factor for both teams, but the game was generally fast-paced regardless. For our part, we played brilliantly at times, and shocking at others. We made too many mistakes to hope to win against good competition. We displayed poor judgment and attempted to “manufacture” opportunities that resulted in squandering some very good scoring chances. We gave up a converted try right before half to be down 0-7. We worked our way back into the match with an unconverted try to pull within 2 points (5-7). However, Kohlfeld never quit and scored a try to go up 5-12. Despite lots of pressure, we continued to stumble, and were unable to score in the closing minutes. The final score was 5-12. (FYI – The Scorpions are the Missouri Union Division II Men’s Club Champs for 2003.)
Truman play well but can’t match Kansas City in 14-34 loss.
This was on the schedule as a “shouldn’t win” match, but that didn’t stop Truman from giving Kansas City RFC a scare. Originally scheduled as a home game, the consistently bad weather caused the game to be moved to Kansas City, where the weather was cool but comfortable and the pitch was firm and dry (something we haven’t seen yet this season!). Kansas City is a Men’s Division I team with considerable experience and size. However, sometimes it’s about “the size of the fight in the dog”! Truman came out quickly and scored two quick tries from sophomore center, Ryan Worth to lead 14-0 with only 10 minutes gone in the match. Then KC decided to keep the ball in tight and use their big forwards. Truman constantly pressured at the tackles and created some turnovers, but it wasn’t enough as KC began to take control. The halftime score was 14-22. KC made a few subs, and continued to play well. Truman defended relentlessly, and held KC to 12 second half points, while never giving up. In the second side match (a 3rd period), KC was too strong for the team of mixed reserves and players who had already played 80 of hard rugby, as KC ran out a 0-33 score. Many players clearly stepped-up their intensity and performed very well. These hard games need to prepare us for the tough playoff matches down the road.
Halftime Score: 14-22; Final Score: 14-34
Tries: Worth (2)
Conversions: Foley 2/2
Truman post 57-0 win over KU – B Side scores late to win 7-5
A merit table game between Truman and KU is never taken lightly. Truman defeated KU in fall 2002 by a 19-15 margin, and had to either win Saturday’s match or lose by less than the 4-pt margin. A trip to the Western Rugby Union Collegiate Division I Championships in Dallas, TX on April 5-6 was at stake. Truman responded with a 9-try performance, and some fine defense en route to a 57-0 win. Truman played well overall, and did well in set piece play. We gave up too many penalties, but at least they were aggressive penalties. Our rucking was good, and tackling was generally solid. Perhaps the best aspect of the game was the level of support and the hard-running.
Halftime Score: 26-0; Final Score: 57-0
Tries: Hunn (2), Foley, Walczewski, Stephens, Donley, Wilson, Carley, Burkemper
Conversions: Walczewski 4/5; Foley 2/4
Truman defeat Columbia Outlaws 38-5 in season opener
The season opened with a game against the Outlaws in Columbia, MO. The Outlaws are always tough, and Truman worked hard get through and around their defense for the win.
Halftime Score: 14-5; Final Score: 38-5
Tries: Foley (2), Bell, Stephens, Hunn,
Conversions: Walczewski 5/5
Penalties: Walczewski 1/1