The Xavier High School Varsity Rugby Team traveled to Elkhart, Indiana over Memorial Day Weekend to play for the High School Rugby National Championship and with twelve players from Rockaway and Breezy Point, the community was well represented.
Led by coach Greg Norris and an experienced cadre of assistant coaches, Xavier placed third overall in this national tournament. Xavier’s first match on Thursday, May 25 was one of the team’s toughest and most exciting of the year. Xavier battled against 2021 National Champions, the Herrimen High School Mustangs from Herrimen, Utah. “Staying in the Fight, that’s the name of this game,” said head coach Greg Norris about the Xavier Knight’s 26-24 victory against the Mustangs. The match was most certainly a fight to the end, with Xavier scoring the winning try and conversion in the last two minutes of the game. Rockaway seniors Sean Donahue and Liam Allison figured prominently in Xavier’s victory with Allison being awarded the Man of the Match honor.
On Friday, May 26, Xavier took a tough loss to the ultimate National Champions Gonzaga High School from Washington D.C. A try scored by Breezy Pointer Jake Billows was not enough to stop Gonzaga who prevailed 45-12 on their way to winning it all.
Despite the setback, the Knights were right back in it on Saturday with a 27-14 win over last year’s Nation Champions, St. Ignatius of Cleveland, Ohio. Both Donahue and Allison kicked for points helping Xavier secure their third place finish.
Congratulations to local seniors Patrick McCann, Danny O’Malley, Jake Billows, Charlie Kinzie, Robert Allen, Jamie Franchock, Liam Allison, Sean Donahue, Matthew Smith, Colin Peterson and Juniors Matthew Bambury and Matthew Verrengia. The team’s next stop is the New York State Rugby Championships in Binghamton the weekend of June 10. Go Knights!
Photo by Darren Franchock.