Rugby Makes Its Debut

Natalie DeBelina, Reporter

The Durango High School building opened in 1917 and the school has always had a wide variety of sports offered, and  finally after 101 years 0f the opening of DHS our teachers, students, and other staff members have come together to create the first ever rugby club.  

After students began showing interest in their past and hobbies, language arts teacher Mark Cuenca was joined by Durango High School senior Jack Hilliard, and together they have started the first ever Rugby club at DHS. This Club will consist of any DHS student who is interested in learning to play rugby.

When asked about his role in the whole process of starting this club, Hilliard explains his part.

“Since Rugby is a school club sport we needed a student ambassador to get it moving,”  said Hilliard.

Hilliard had to talk to Mr. Garland about getting the club approved, and once it was they moved forward in the process of getting other students to participate.

“Rugby is a hard sport but its pretty casual… Although you’re not wearing pads there’s actually less concussions in rugby,” said Hilliard.

Hilliard argues that rugby gets an undeserved negative reputation from outside observers. From a very side point of view many might see it as more intense sport than football, but Cuenca describes the sport as “Chaotic, But Organized.”

Cuenca will be joined by Hilliard, two parents of athletes interested in participating, and Katrina Cuenca – to help coach the kids that are facing the challenges of rugby, with each coach coming from a different position on the field they will be able to get many different views on the game.

Talking about his background in rugby, and how he got pulled into to the family like community of rugby.

“I started playing my freshman year of college, I didn’t really know much about it, a guy just invited me out, and rugby has a really undeserved bad reputation. I thought I was going to get punched in the face” said Cuenca.

To explain the cultural differences between rugby in the US compared to Australia.

“The biggest difference between the culture of rugby in Australia and the culture of rugby in the US is: rugby in Australia is more accessible,” said DHS language arts teacher Gregg Cornwall.

Expanding our cultural knowledge through sports can help open up more choices for the future.

This club will open many doors into the world of USA rugby, which is a national governing body for the sport of rugby in America.

“By playing in USA Rugby,our players will be a part of the pool which they select the high school, national team,” said Cuenca.

Our DHS students might be able to play rugby nationally.

Playing a new nationally  popular sport is not the only opportunity afforded, as more and more students are relying on a scholarship to go to college, creating a rugby team is another opportunity for scholarships, because rugby is a growing sport in the College community. This option could get a student into college that  they might not be able to go to otherwise.

“I am going to the Fort, I was probably going to end up helping out down here coaching as well,” Hilliard adds when talking about his plans for college next year.

DHS Activities director Adon Bright offers his opinion on the startup of the rugby club

“I think it’s a cool sport, so I’m excited to watch it,”said Bright.

Other Students are excited about these new opportunities too.  DHS senior Connor O’Keefe is one of the kids who is planning on joining the up and coming rugby team.

“I wanted to get involved in something and try something new,” said O’Keefe.

As DHS’ first ever rugby team is started our schools understanding of rugby and all the opportunities that spread from it will become more relevant, and might even get the DHS rugby team recognized nationally.