Talent and strong work ethic are amongst the reasons BGSU men’s rugby won its third consecutive Midwest Rugby title and continues its season. Sunday, November 15, BGSU defeated Indiana University 21 – 10 in the championship game. The team advances to the Division I Collegiate Rugby National Championships in San Diego, Calif. on April 23 – 25, 2010.
After an October 31 loss to Ohio State, BGSU did not enter into this year’s Midwest tournament as the favorite. However, it was a 55 – 32 BGSU payback win in the semifinals over Ohio State that propelled the team into the championship game, where they would eventually win the title.
The October loss to Ohio State served as motivation.
“We realized we needed to work on the finer points of our game,” said BGSU men’s rugby President Justin Rutledge. “We weren’t able to complete our plays. The mental game was what we needed to work on.”
The wins over Ohio State and Indiana did not only lead BGSU to the conference title. Additionally, the team moves on to the National Championships, continuing what has already been an extremely successful season. The success the team has known has not come easy.
“We work hard at practice,” stated Rutledge. “When we find a weakness we work at it. We work together on and off the field.”
A competitive schedule and resilience have provided the team with the necessary experience and mindset going into the National Championships.
“The loss to Ohio State gave us a punch in the mouth,” said Rutledge. “It made us realize there are teams as good as us. Also, the win against Indiana showed us we can pull out a close victory.”
With the National Championships not starting until April, the team has a long break in action. Maintaining momentum could be a problem, but Rutledge sees opportunities to keep moving in a positive direction.
“I think we can keep this going by taking the winter seriously, but not too seriously,” said Rutledge. “We need to work to get better, but only concentrate on what we’re doing. We can’t be concerned about any opponents.”