SJ Rugby Builds On Season, Looks Forward To Next Year in Varsity

Colin Brown ’16

Rugby at Strake Jesuit took a big leap this year.  It went from not even having a varsity squad to competing at a high level right out of the gate, beginning with a bonus point defeat to top team Kingwood and then for the first time ever beat St. Thomas at the varsity level.  They beat the nationally ranked St. Thomas eagles in a thrilling bonus point victory.  It was a great moment for the team as a whole who had worked so hard and especially for the seniors who had finally beat St. Thomas.

Although the Crusaders came out victorious they lost a good number of key starters.  The rest of the season was a struggle to field enough players each week dealing with injuries, testing, and illnesses.  The crusaders did not falter however, and continued to compete.  They fought long and hard as more people were lost to injuries.  They ended the season on a very high note beating The Woodlands in a very tight, hard-fought match by just three points.  There was one more match to go also against the Woodlands, but Strake Jesuit just ran out of bodies to put on the field.  The team could no longer field a healthy side as the team was stripped of its players one-by-one through injuries.  The final match unfortunately had to be canceled.

This season was always going to be a tough one for Strake Jesuit.  Making a huge jump from Junior Varsity level to Varsity is always difficult.  The team is much smaller than the other squads and much less experienced as well.  The team surprised a lot of people with its level of play going out very strong against top teams Dallas Jesuit, Kingwood, and beating St. Thomas.  Strake Jesuit had made a name for itself and showed what they are capable of.

This season was definitely a big step forward for not only the team as a whole, but also the individual players.  Standout players including Back of the Year Patrick Swanson who tackled, ran, and kicked with the best of them.  John Arrieta was the Forward of the Year who led the team in tackling and stole the opposing teams’ scrums many-a-time.  Collin Brown was the Most Improved Player.  He was the goal kicker for the team and started his first year as Varsity scrum half.  The Rookie of the Year was Christian Hernandez.  He had an uphill battle against him this season by being backup to the former team captain at prop, but ended the season as the starter.  This rugby season was very positive stepping stone to work from.