Alumni recovers the rugby ball (known as a Gilbert) after a huddle play. | Photo by Alberto Muro

Annual Alumni Rugby Games

Men and women's rugby play against former players during alumni game.

Men and women’s rugby play against former players during alumni game

Humboldt State’s alumni rugby games began with women’s teams. To advance during plays, players must use their upper body strength to block others and throw the ball.

During the first half, HSU student and kinesiology major Libby Treu helped her team gain yards, but defensive plays and staggering hits from the alumni team prevented the students from making points.

Hannah French (left) and Libby Treu pose for a photo during the alumni game halftime on Sept. 28. | Photo by Alberto Muro

During the second half, HSU junior Zelaya Ceja attempted to make a recovery during a kick-off. She managed to gain momentum and maneuver around the alumni defense, but multiple alumni players closed in on Ceja and thwarted her possession of the ball which allowed a recovery for the alumna.

Multiple occasions of yards gained and ball possession helped the alumni seal a concluding victory over the students. A loss for one team did not diminish the clubs spirit. After the game, they lined up for a traditional handshake and got together.

When asked, Treu said she took the game as a learning experience.

“The alumni always win,” Treu said. “That’s part of it, but this is the best game of the year because we learn from it.”

The women’s rugby season doesn’t start until spring 2020. For now, they look forward to training and fixing problems they encountered during the game against former players.

Some alumna keep in touch with the younger generation of HSU players to help them work on their plays. Rugby is a tough sport, and HSU women’s player Hailey French knows that tackling is crucial.

“I’m definitely pleased with the alumni today,” French said. “I’m impressed with the girls too, but they need to work on their tackling.”

Delivering hits the right way ensures that players do not experience injuries early on in the game.

During the men’s game, alumni Ricky Gomero gained possession of the ball and moved his team down the field. It was another well-executed run and pass technique that seemed endless before the students delivered a hit causing the alumni to lose possession.

In what looked like a stack of bodies piling up, the fight for possession of the ball continued as both teams delivered hits.

HSU senior and psychology major Glenn Denning was injured during the play, but instead of worrying about his foot he quickly had it wrapped up and went back onto the field.

Glenn Denning gets patched up before heading back onto the field to finish the rugby alumni game on Sept 28. | Photo by Alberto Muro

While the alumnus put up a fight, they eventually fell to the students. After the game, they lined up for handshakes and shared advice with one another.

“Rugby is a lot of chemistry base,” Denning said. “It’s all about cohesion and commodity as a team. You gotta know where your partner is gonna be at.”

Positive team chemistry has an impact on any sport. Rugby can be tough, but a clear head is what makes the experience enjoyable.

(From left to right) Cameron Whitney Jr, Ricky Gomero (alum ’18) and Chris Armstrong after the men’s alumni rugby game on Sept. 28. | Photo by Patrick McGown

Gomero graduated last year, but his dedication to return for an alumni game drove him to play hard and have fun. Before the match, Gomero was in Colorado playing in the Aspen Ruggerfest 52nd Annual Rugby Tournament.

“I just got done playing the Ruggerfest in Aspen last week,” Gomero said. “I figured I needed to come and give the boys support.”

Gomero plans to head back to the University of Boulder to pursue his graduate degree in law. He also gave some advice to all future graduates of HSU, to make sure to live life and love it.

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