Action County: Allen Warmbier
Despite being born and bred in Bloomington, Ind., Blue River’s Allen Warmbier wasn’t glued to the TV during the Hoosiers’ recent come-from-behind victory in the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament. His rationale is simple.”After Bobby Knight quit, I stopped watching sports,” Warmbier said. Warmbier may not watch many sports but there’s one he plays with proficiency – rugby.After moving to Summit County four years ago, Warmbier did what any local rugby player would do: He joined the Breckenridge-based Gentlemen of the Blue Goose Rugby Club. It didn’t take long for Warmbier to encounter the likes of Blue Goose veterans Ron Reyes and Russel Backhouse, while hanging out at Breck’s Gold Pan bar.
Reyes and Backhouse, among others, quickly recruited Warmbier to the rugby pitch; it was a venue he was accustomed to succeeding in. Warmbier played high school rugby in Indiana, a state that includes more than 30 secondary teams. His team fared well during his senior year, advancing to the Midwest finals at Ohio State University. There, they took third place, missing a trip to the national tournament by one place. “We played everybody,” the Blue Goose defender said. “Inner schools, prep schools and boys schools.”Soon after his high school graduation, Warmbier became a Hoosier … in a sense. “I had the grades in high school to go to IU, but I didn’t have any business wasting my parent’s money when all I wanted to do was play rugby,” he said. “So we found a little niche. I was going to a community college at the time and technically trying to get into IU.”Warmbier, a 24-year-old plumber’s apprentice and skiing enthusiast, has been a steady contributor for the Goose throughout his four-year tenure.
In 2005, he grabbed most valuable player honors at Breck’s famed St. Valentine’s Day Massacre rugby tournament. The Goose is currently the two-time reigning champion of the Massacre.Warmbier said he’s taken it upon himself to help grow his team’s numbers.”It sounds like a lot of people may want to come out (this summer) from the gym,” he said. “I’d like to get some people that aren’t necessarily recruited in bars … people I see working out, strong people.”Warmbier’s primary goal before hanging up the spikes is to play rugby in England.”I want to play with some of the best and see what I can do,” he said. “I’ll be too old soon.”Warmbier plans to compete in the Goose’s extensive upcoming summer league, unless, of course, he’s playing overseas.
“We play almost every weekend starting in May,” he said. “Anyone who wants to play rugby is welcome to join us.”Allen WarmbierDecade born: 1980sFavorite team: The New Zealand All Blacks rugby teamFavorite band: Jimi HendrixFastball or Curveball: “That I could hit? Probably neither.”
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