A Global Attraction: Mount Men’s Rugby Playoff Bound
It may not be the most popular sport among the Mount St. Mary’s sports community, but they are making history and a name for themselves across the state and nation. The Mount Men’s Rugby team are going to the playoffs once again as top contenders in the conference. The first game for the Mountaineers will take place on Nov. 13 at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. With five wins, two losses and a tie, Mount has one of the best records this season at the Division One level. While the Mountaineers have one of the top rugby programs in the country, the development of the program in the last five years has had much to do with the success of the team.
Over the past five years, the Mount rugby program has grown extensively due to increased support from the University. The foundation of this program is separated into four different support categories: academic support, administrative support, player support, and medical support. This is what makes the rugby program a prosperous entity among foreign and domestic players. Rugby has been a part of Mount since 1973 and to this day is made up of more than 60 players. Many players come from around the world from countries such as South Africa, England, Ireland and beyond.
As the Mountaineers are on their way to the playoffs, there are many players that have contributed to getting the team to this point. Mount St. Mary’s Junior, Damon James, is one of those players. A native of Pennsylvania, James is no stranger to tactical sports. James plays the forward position on the team and has amassed popularity among the Mount Rugby community. While James is passionate about Rugby, he believes that all his success for the Mount program this year is due to “working out religiously” during the Covid-19 pandemic. As Covid-19 ravaged throughout the United States, as well as the rest of the world, many colleges and universities across the country shut down their sports programs.
The pandemic caused programs to quickly set up guidelines that hurt sports for college students regardless of location. Even with all guidelines in place, that did not stop the Mount team who tried to do whatever was available during the pandemic. James said, “Many players trained individually.... players saw an opportunity that had high growth potential and that’s what we all wanted”. James also added, “Height and size do not matter. There is room on the field for everyone of all shapes and sizes”. He is proud to represent the Mount and the next generation of college Rugby players around the country. James bets that in the next coming years that the Mount will be “a global attraction” for Rugby in collegiate sports and will be one of the best programs in the country and at an international level.
The Men’s Rugby program may not be the most popular sport yet, but they have made giant strides to gain popularity in the last few years. As they have been supported by Mount St. Mary’s and its students, the program is expected to make big leaps in the coming years. Not only have the Mountaineers established themselves among the nation and in Maryland, but they have also been acknowledged at the international level. They are quickly developing their player roster to form a diverse group of individuals from countries around the world. As they get ready to face off against the Kutztown Golden Bears in the playoffs, the program is hoping to further their goals to keep the program growing and making note of expecting to be the best in the country.