By Carter McAlilly ‘22

Brother Rice rugby is finally back in the mix this year. For the first time since 2019, the team is able to compete for a spot in the playoffs.

The team this year has high hopes and a lot of big expectations for this coming season. With not having the playoffs these last two years, the hunger to win is bigger than ever.

Senior Rolando Sepulveda said, “It is extremely exciting to be able to come out on the pitch again and compete for our spot in the playoffs. I cannot wait to get out there with the team and play our best.”

Rolando started playing rugby last year and became a key to the team’s success. He racked up multiple try’s and helped the team to achieve a 5-1 record.

The 2022 season starts April 26 with a preseason game against Bishop Dwenger. Sophomore Robby Rutledge is very excited to start on the varsity team for the second year in a row.

Robby was added to the varsity roster his freshman year and has been a great player ever since he stepped on the field.

Robby said, “It is a great experience to play with all these guys older than me and to learn new things from them every day.”

Head Coach Jack Sullivan has a lot to say about the upcoming season. He said, “After 2 years of no “competitive” rugby due to COVID and no State Championship, it’s difficult to look at our schedule and pick out games that we’d expect to win, versus games that will give us a tougher matchup. I believe that the parity in the Division 1 level will be much stronger than years past. As always, we have a target on our back. Not just because we are defending Champions from 2019, but because we are Brother Rice. While that mindset is rather conceited, it’s the reality of our program’s history of success from the onset of High School Rugby in Illinois.”

Coach Sullivan is extremely excited to lead the team onto the pitch, especially with a chance to compete for a state championship this year.

Although the numbers for the team are down, there are a lot of quality rugby players on the roster. Many are new faces, but all are open to learn and do their best on the field.

The team has a bright future ahead. Brother Rice rugby is coming back to defend the state championship for the first time since 2019. Go Crusaders!