By SIERRA HORTON
Just like that, the University of Mary Washington rugby teams are off to another incredible start. After a long summer of practicing hard, going to the gym multiple times a day and preparing for this season, the men’s rugby team is feeling ready to face their competition and live up to the high standards of their past seasons.
The men’s rugby team is thrilled about being back in Fredericksburg this fall and they are feeling ready for the remainder of this season. Playing mostly larger schools like James Madison and Virginia Tech, some might label the UMW men’s rugby team as the underdogs; however, their records prove that this is an incorrect assumption. After finishing this past season undefeated, the team is looking forward to keeping their spotless record going.
“I feel really good about this season. We are looking for a repeat of last year going undefeated in the conference and then going on to be national champions, and we have the talent to do so,” said sophomore Miguel Terrazas.
The players are feeling optimistic and believe that the new freshman class will only have a positive effect on the team. Not only do they believe the freshman class will have a positive impact on the team this year, but they also hope they will having a lasting impression on the team during the remainder of their time here at Mary Washington.
“I’m excited to see how we do this season. We had an amazing season last year, winning the National Championship as well as being ranked number 1 in Division 1-AA, and this year we have lots of new young talent ready to make it a second year of being National Champions,” said sophomore Bradlee Nicholls who has had eight years of experience on the field. “There is also a bigger freshman class, which allows them to gain experience and take up the seniors positions soon once they graduate.”
Members who have been playing rugby for many years are also feeling hopeful about the future of the team.
“I’m feeling very confident in our team and I am hoping we can do it again with an even stronger team this year,” said Joseph O’Donovan.
However, this season has not been identical to last year. With any reputation comes a little bit of anxiety and because of their record, the players are beginning to feel the pressure build.
“We are really playing with a target on our back. Now everyone is gunning to take us down, so we can’t take anyone lightly,” said Terrazas.
Even so, the players have been working hard to ensure that they are as prepared as they can be for this season. This includes everything from monitoring their food intake to pushing themselves at the gym in order to increase endurance. Rugby is by no means an easy sport, and the players are making sure that they remember its intensity.
“I have been going to the gym and eating right over the summer to be more fit. After all it is eighty minutes of straight running and hitting others,” said Terrazas.
“I have been going to the gym six times a week and I was going twice a day over the summer: one session for physio and the other session for weights and cardio,” said O’Donovan.
Besides general cardio and weights, some players are focusing specifically on their individual proficiency.
“I’ve been doing extra work with ball handling, kicking extras and speed work, and I’ve also been in the gym everyday trying to get bigger and stronger,” said Nicholls.
“I am really excited to see some of the freshman play and see what different talents they can bring to the field.” said Terrazas.
Nicholls has his standards set high saying, “I’m excited about winning the Conference 8-0 and then going back to the National Championship again.”
With their next game on Friday, Sept. 21, the team continues to practice hard and looks forward to having another season as extraordinary as last.