Summit High School rugby: Tigers bring home sixth straight state title
There’s the old saying that nothing is certain but death and taxes. Up here in the High Rockies it might be time we add the Summit High School girls rugby team winning state championships to that list. The lady Tigers laid claim to their sixth consecutive state title Saturday, and they did it in style with a 53-0 win over Fort Collins.
“I’m not sure they’ve ever played like that. It was near perfection,” head coach Karl Barth said of his team’s performance. “They came out of the gate like a bazooka.”
All-American senior team captain Lily Weldon echoed the sentiment. “This game was the best game we’ve had all season and the best game we’ve had at state,” the four-year starter told the Daily.
All week long the team rallied behind the idea of “uno mas,” one more game.
And on Saturday, with his team gathered after the game, Barth told his teary-eyed audience: “No mas.”
Surprisingly, with nothing but convincing wins all season, the girls said they still went into the state championship game nervous.
“One of their coaches told a local paper they were going to win,” Weldon said. She explained that the statement made her Tiger team wonder why the Fort Collins team was so confident.
In the two games the teams competed against one another this season, Summit had won by a combined 71 points (46-0 in the season opener and 33-8 in October).
But of their first two contests, Weldon said: “Compared to the last time we played them, we got a lot worse and they got a lot better.”
That had the Tigers a little on edge going into the championship game. And while for some of the girls it was their second, third or fourth title game, for many it was either their first as a starter, or their first altogether.
“Every single player was so nervous,” Weldon said of the atmosphere before the game. “There’s only so much you can tell someone to prepare them for a game,” she said about veteran team members’ efforts to calm the team.
But when they took to the field, there was little question as to the end result.
“They (Fort Collins) never had the ball in the first half of the first half,” Barth said.
The scoring came early and often, starting and ending with tries by Morgan Courtney. Summit all-time leading points scorer Maddy Hunt-Snyder also added four more tries on the day.
Barth said his team’s success was credit to the team culture that’s been passed on from year to year.
“We just play like it’s zero-zero all the time,” junior Caroline Wilson said, explaining how they keep themselves motivated when frequently playing with large leads.
For the graduating seniors, many who’d witnessed other championships, this one was “theirs” Barth told the Daily.
For those that had been there before: “It’s definitely still fun,” senior Kayce Chaparas explained. “It’s not just about the winning, it’s about the team.”
A number of players spoke to their family mentality as a credit to their continued success, and the idea of passing it on from one year to the next.
“We want to keep it going,” Chaparas said.
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