UVU’s Men Rugby Team is Going Strong
Kenzie Jones | Sports Editor | @KenzieScribbler
Curtsey of Cornel Saluone
Despite the fact that the program has been in steady existence since 1994, this is the first time the future has looked truly bright for UVU’s Men Rugby Club. After all they have been undefeated so far this season and plan to remain that way.
Two years ago the team found themselves in a tight sport. The previous head coach was gone and the program was in debt to both the school and their conference. Dean Ormsby, a long time member of the UVU rugby community, saved the team as he stepped in as head coach. Ormsby came in with a plan and the high goal of winning the 1AA Collegiate Rugby National Championship. He demanded the time and effort needed to raise a simple club up to championship caliber.
It was a difficult transition for many reasons. The biggest being that previously the team never had much structure let alone a strict schedule. Throw in the lack of funding and you quickly whittle out those who weren’t fully committed. Soon the team became comprised of a small group of players who were willing to put up with the challenges that came with the new structure and a coaching staff working on a volunteer basis.
One of their earliest games as this new team, UVU faced off against Weber state and were only able to field 13 players. Due to that shortage of players Weber State dominated, 40-0. The next week, those same players were back at work to reach those seeming impossible goals of Coach Ormsby.
After that demolishment in the fall of 2013, most thought that spring of 2014 would see UVU accomplishing very little. They were wrong. Instead of being rolled over, the Wolverines proceeded to show that they were a force to be reckoned with. After qualifying for a playoff spot, they faced a hard test against BYU. The cross-town rivals were quickly surprise at the intensity of their competition. UVU managed to keep pace for much of the game, but in the end the Cougars won.
They arrived at the 1AA National Championships that year as a team with a lot to prove. In a hard fought contest they lost to the University of Washington 24-39. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but everyone knew that this team was headed in the right direction and would soon have their Cinderella story.
Fall 2014 saw a lot of changes in the coaching staff; Ormsby stepped down as head coach and David Logsdon joined the team as strength and conditioning coach. Ultimately Logsdon took over as the head coach and built a new start staff. A year after the team had a player make over they experienced a coaching one. Both changes combining to make a team truly committed to becoming a championship club.
The first tests of this new combination came at the start of the 2015 season in the Red Rock Invitational. “As we warmed up we could tell that al the other teams took note of us. We were a different club than we used to be. We looked like a team. Acted like one. No one expected that to happen,” Coach David Ledward explained as he talked about the undefeated season so far.
The season is just starting as the Wolverines face off against BYU on March 25th. They plan to ride a wave of victories into the playoffs and return to the Varsity Cup 1AA Collegiate Rugby National Championship.
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