Rugby Comes to Adams State

Tanner Elliot
The Paw Print

Prop, scrum half, hooker, locker forward; these are not common terms found in typical American collegiate sports. This fall will be the first time that a competitive rugby team will take the “pitch” in Alamosa with Adams State embroidered across the chest.
Over the past several years, only the club teams found within the university could compete against one another. Eight teams from within the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) have come together to form a league known as the “Endurance League” to battle one another on the rugby fields.
The head coach of the newly formed squad is Benjamin Longfellow. This will be Longfellow’s first year at Adams State as a part time coach. He previously worked at Monte Vista high school for two years. After high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps where he was first introduced to Rugby. He received his bachelors in English and a minor in French at Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio. Coach Longfellow also received a Master in Education from Antioch University Midwest in Yellow Springs, Ohio. He is currently working on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
In 2001, Longfellow started playing rugby competitively at the Dayton Area Rugby Club. After moving to France, Coach Longfellow planned to attend school, but loved the game of rugby so much that he decided to play for the Federal Rugby League. That was the last time he played the sport competitively.
One of the keys to the start of the rugby program is Associate Athletic Director Rob Lopez. He has strong ties to the college dating back to 1990 when he graduated from Adams State with a degree in Education. He taught for twelve years at a middle school in Centennial, Colo. before returning to Adams State.
“We thought it would be a good idea to get rugby because it’s an enrollment sport, it’ll hopefully raise the amount of students attending the University over the next couple of year,” said Lopez.
Rugby is a Non-NCAA sport; therefore rugby does not have to meet the requirements of NCAA p athletes. Technically, you cannot become academically ineligible while playing rugby.  However, most non-NCAA coaches do place academic requirements on individual athletes.  An athlete must meet a 2.0 GPA and maintain twelve credit hours.
“I like how team oriented the sport is, and if all fifteen players aren’t working as a unit, we won’t succeed,” said senior team-captain Jeff Jackson from Boulder, Colo. He has been playing rugby for eight years, and was previously on the United State U-19 team.
“They are ready to come together as a unit with camaraderie. I am conditioning them quite a bit. They are running hard and they really seem like they want to be here and they want to play, which is beneficial to the team as a whole. We are just slowly building,” said Longfellow. The team has size and power in the front of the field, and speed and quickness in the back, which is very beneficial for a quality team.
“The practices for the team are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 4:30 p.m. to 6, and we are still looking for players,” added the coach with a laugh. The Adams State Unit’s first home game will be Sept. 29 vs. Western State.

One response to “Rugby Comes to Adams State”

  1. I was excited to come across this article about the Rugby program because I haven’t seen much other information on the ASU web site (maybe old stuff). I look forward to reading more about the team and students that make up this rugby squad. It seems that this new program needs some help in getting the word out and drawing more interest. I believe the team currently has 15 members and thats just enough to field a rugby squad(15 players). With any injury or illness this team will not be able to field a full team and that would certainly be a let down to the rest of players.
    So this article you did and those to follow can only help promote and strengthen this new ASU sport. Thanks, Jeremy is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet