The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Rugby team celebrates 25th Anniversary

    Chris Kemp

    As the celebration of its 25th anniversary comes to an end, the UW-Eau Claire men’s club rugby team finished its regular season with a 2-2 performance at Saturday’s 2005 Milwaukee Cup.

    Eau Claire placed second in its pool, beating UW-Plattville and rival UW-Stout 17-7 and 13-12, respectively.

    “The team beat Stout by one point after coming back from a 13-point deficit in the last half of the game,” senior Anthony Frick said.

    Their third game pitted them against UW-Madison, the team who went on to place second in the tournament. The Blugolds kept up with Madison fairly well, junior Mike Brownlow said.

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    “We had some bad breaks where we lost possession, and they had some lucky ones,” he said.

    In the fourth game, the Blugolds found themselves matched up again against Stout. Neither team was excited about playing the other twice in the same day, junior Mike Schatz said.

    During the tournament, six starting players were unable to play due to injury, so the younger players stepped up and filled in, Brownlow said.

    “There is so much talent on this team,” he said. “So many of the young players proved themselves last weekend. It’s very encouraging.”

    Injuries were a problem the entire season, Schatz said.

    “There were a lot of knee and ankle problems too,” Brownlow said. “We just lost our biggest guy to knee problems, Matt Pope.”

    As the season comes to a close, the team looks toward next season, losing only a handful of players: seniors Pat Atkinson, Eric Steinman, Joe Nawikas and junior Richie Waterson.

    “These men have put a lot of time into their rugby careers as well as with the team leadership,” Frick said. “The loss of these players will be felt, but more importantly, they have taken the steps to educate those that will be filling their places. Their playing style and mentality will still be seen within the team’s actions.”

    However, the loss of these players, and the integration of the younger players will create changes in the team’s chemistry, Brownlow said.

    “After awhile, you learn communication,” he said, “and you just know where your teammates are out on the field.”

    The team will hold their annual alumni game this weekend. More than 100 alumni are expected to attend. The event is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bollinger Field.

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    Rugby team celebrates 25th Anniversary