Tigers rugby splits tough pair of matches thanks to strong determination
Over the last few weeks, the Summit High School Tigers boys rugby team has fully transformed from a squad in development to a well-seasoned unit with chemistry.
The team started the season with a firm foundation beneath it, but with only five returners from last season, head coach Lance French was not sure what to expect from the young team.
Now in the latter part of the season, French said he has been blown away by the season so far as the team went into a pair of matches at Regis University on Saturday, April 16. The team was 4-1 on the season as it prepared to face two challenging Division II high school teams in Aspen-Grand Junction and Castle Rock.
Summit faced Aspen-Grand Junction in its first match, and from very early on it was evident that the game would be a low-scoring affair as both defenses did a good job to snuff out each other’s offensive attacks.
Aspen-Grand Junction was the first team to put points on the board after their players executed on a try just five minutes into the game to go up 7-0.
Towards the end of the first half, Summit was able to mount an advantage. Sam Daly rocketed a successful penalty kick and Caleb Artherholt scored a try to pull ahead of Aspen-Grand Junction, 10-7 at halftime.
“At halftime there was not much to adjust,” French said. “To win, we had to outwork, out tackle, out attack and not stop the things we were doing well. It was a very simple conversation.”
In the second half of the game the Tigers were the better team. Aspen-Grand Junction could not get past the Tigers’ defense even though Summit was without Jared Marcer due to an injury.
“For the last 14-15 minutes of the match we were playing a man down but you would’ve never had known it,” French said. “Our team kept playing hard, our team didn’t even let it faze them.”
The Tigers won the match over Aspen-Grand Junction, 10-7.
Going into the Tigers’ second match against Castle Rock, the team knew it would be hard to compete with the fresh-legged opponent.
The Tigers scored first off an impressive conversion from Jake Boyle, who carried several Castle Rock defenders across the try line.
“I can’t wait for him to go up to Colorado State to play rugby,” French said of Boyle. “He’s leading our team. The kid is everywhere. He is going to be a great rugby player.”
Castle Rock upped its effort after the Boyle conversion. By halftime, Castle Rock had a 15-10 advantage.
The Tigers tried to stand their ground in the second half, but the team was starting to idle after expending itself in the first match and playing a man down for three halves.
Castle Rock ended up scoring a couple times to hand the Tigers its second loss of the season. The final score was 25-10.
Despite the loss, the Summit boys rugby team felt accomplished.
“We came to play, and all of them did just that,” French said. “We played the best to our ability. They worked hard and each player gave it their all. A coach can’t ask for more than that.”
The Tigers will look to improve upon its 5-2 record as it plays its last matches of the season on May 7.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.
Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.