SJ Rugby continues historic season

Will Turboff ’22

Amidst an incredible season, SJ Rugby is cementing themselves not only as one of the premiere sports within Strake Jesuit Athletics, but also as one of the greatest Crusader teams in recent history.

As practices began early in the school year, many players and coaches knew that this team was going to be something special. Although talent is a big factor, the team has preached chemistry and playing the game their way in order to succeed.

If you were to ask any player on the team about the relationship that they have developed, many of them would use the word “camaraderie.” As this team has been practicing together for nearly the entire school year, and many of them have been on the team for several years, they see themselves as one of the most tightly knit groups in Strake Jesuit.

“The bond this team has is incredible for lack of a better word,” Mark Ashram ’22 said. “Without a good bond and good chemistry, this team wouldn’t be as successful as it is.”

That success has become apparent to rugby enthusiasts across the country, as SJ Rugby was ranked #1 in the entire nation in a national poll this past April after a win against the top team at the time, Brother Martin. Because the number of teams in rugby is not as large as many other sports, the Strake Jesuit team has had an opportunity to travel to places like New Orleans to face top teams like Brother Martin and New Orleans Jesuit.

Another great opportunity that the team had was to play one of their district games in a professional setting, Aveva Stadium, which is the home stadium for the Houston Sabercats. This game, which was a 43-18 victory over St. Thomas went down as another dominating performance in the rivalry between the Crusaders and the Eagles.

Some of the season highlights for the team include the first program win over Katy, where SJ won by 19 points and dominating district wins against Lamar, St. Pius, and St. Thomas. Overall, the team finished with a 8-1-1 record and a 6-1-1 district record.

As the team has begun to enter postseason play, they face an ever greater cut of competition. On May 1st in Houston, the Crusaders faced Dallas Jesuit, once a perennial football rival. The Crusaders took a tough loss in this game, as Dallas held off a Strake comeback and won the game 36-28.

The Crusaders will finish out their season by once again visiting New Orleans to play either Brother Martin or New Orleans Jesuit for the Regional Championship on May 8th, as well as traveling to Austin on May 15th for the Overall State Championship.