Rugby may be a gentleman's game, but Summit High's ladies were being far from lady-like on the field during Saturday's state championship bout with Castle Rock.
But, that's what it takes to take a fifth straight state title home from Glendale's Infinity Park to Summit County - and fourth straight win over Castle Rock in the finals.
The Tigers won, 30-5, but not before enduring being slammed onto the field in a hard-fought game.
Summit was expecting a physical game, and the team dealt one right back to the Rockets, who wanted the upset - badly. After losing to Summit in two shutouts in the regular season, and points against totaling 91, they didn't want the Tigers to score, much less win.
The Rockets allowed the Tigers to lead the possession game in the first half, but largely stopped them at the middle of the field. They shut down senior Maddy Hunt-Snyder, who was frustrated in her attempts to take off for the try.
"She was frustrated, but it was cool to see her lead and set up opportunities and Hailey (Wyatt) and Becca (Rosco) took over," head coach Karl Barth said.
The Rockets couldn't cover the whole field, though, and by halftime, freshman Rosco had beaten two defenders to the outside endzone - twice - and Morgan Courtney found another hole, diving in to touch the ball down for a try, making the score 15-0. None of the extra points were converted.
As players on both sides began to lose steam midway through the game, Castle Rock put Summit's defense on its heels for a try that also went unconverted. Senior Katy Peoples responded not long after by grabbing the ball from the ruck, stiff-arming her defense on the run and passing to Rosco, who managed to get the ball off, moving the ball to where Wyatt waited, wide open and ready to use her speed to outrun defenders to touch the ball down just outside the uprights from the right wing.
Castle Rock fought for possession in the last minutes of the game, making drives at the Tiger endzone, only to be stopped when entering Summit's defending third of the field.
A breakaway later in the game put Chelsea Christianson in the position of kicking the ball downfield, chasing it as she went, eventually kicking it into the end zone to be chased by Lilly Weldon for the touch. Before Weldon could reach the ball, the Rockets played Courtney and not the ball, forcing the referees to award a penalty try to the Tigers.
Later, Wyatt sealed the win with a pass from Rachel Fitch and took off down the field, looking over her shoulder to make sure her two defenders were fading away before cutting inside for the touch down and better field position for the kick (though again unsuccessful).
Summit ran its trophy around the field, celebrating to Queen's "We are the Champions" playing on the stadium's sound system.
"(Castle Rock) upped their ante for this game," Barth said. "They came out here with nothing to lose and they fired it up."
In the pre-game awards session, Summit had 14 players named all-state, Peoples was awarded Student Athlete of the Year by the Colorado Rugby Board and Hunt-Snyder was voted Player of the Year by the league's coaches. The junior varsity team earned the sportsmanship award, and a handful of players received all-state status.