At mid-season, men’s rugby looks to nationals

by Erich Bogner, sports reporter

At the mid-point in their season and with a 1-6 record, the Simpson College men’s rugby team still has high hopes to make nationals.

So far, the Simpson rugby team has competed in two tournaments. Their only win came in a game against the University of Iowa’s team. Some of their losses came to schools like University of Northern Iowa, University of Wisconsin and University of Nebraska. A 1-6 record is not good, but coach Jake Norlin is focused on the positives of their season.

“Numbers-wise, we have gone from about 12 last year to 20 this year,” Norlin said. “Record-wise is not so good, but as far as performance goes we’re doing a lot better. We’re putting out some good effort against some really good teams.”

To beat Iowa, junior forward Nick Huffman scored at the end to win the game. His favorite part of the season was, “When we beat Iowa. That tri I scored at the end was pretty fun.”

A tri is a when a rugby player scores the equivalent of a touchdown in football.

Huffman is not the only player to be excited about beating the University of Iowa. It is the highlight of the season for many rugby players. Freshman Danny Reetz said, “Beating Iowa was a big win. It was the first time we ever beat Iowa, which says a lot coming from where the team was last year. I practiced with the team a few times last year, and we just have a lot more guys this year and our ball handling looks a lot better. We’ve improved a lot and we’re trying to make it back to nationals this year.”

The rugby team played at Wayne State last weekend and will travel to Iowa State for a tournament on Saturday. The team will then host a tournament in Des Moines, and if they win that tournament, they will qualify for nationals in Philadelphia.

April 18 the team will be in Cedar Falls. After that, the tournaments will end unless they make nationals, in which case they will want to add a few more tournaments for extra practice.