Men’s rugby advances to Sweet 16

Melissa Sidebotham

The Kent State men’s club rugby team will play in the Sweet 16 in Grand Rapids, Mich., Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Flashes beat No. 18 Dayton to earn a spot in the Ohio Rugby Union Division II playoffs, with a 3-2 fall record. The team hasn’t been in playoffs since 1993.

Kent State coach Adam Rapp knew his team had the potential to make it to playoffs.

“This team is so competitive,” Rapp said. “We had a big win against Dayton to take us to the playoffs.”

Last season the Flashes went 0-5, but Rapp said it was a “growing and developing” year.

“We had a lot of good athletes; they just needed to learn how to play the game,” he said.

Senior Adam Milter said the team worked hard in the spring and played great tournaments during the summer.

“We work very hard together,” he said.

Rapp wants the team to realize how rugby goes beyond what they do here at Kent State.

“People treat it as a club, but there’s so much more to it than that,” he said.

With Kent State qualifying for playoffs this fall, they are now able to compete in tournaments during the spring. If they hadn’t qualified, the team would be limited to pickup games during the spring.

Rapp said the team practices hard, and that results in them winning games. He said spectators that come to support the team at their games really keeps the players motivated.

Senior Tommy Krecic is excited to be in the playoffs and wants to come home with a win.

“I can’t wait to boot people,” he said.

If Kent State defeats Michigan State on Saturday, Rapp feels they will likely play Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“We will crush Pitt,” Rapp said.

If Kent State wins Sunday, the team will travel to Indiana in two weeks in hopes of qualifying for nationals in New Mexico.

Rapp considers Saturday’s game against Michigan State to be a test of the team’s endurance. He said there are going to be big hits, and it’s going to get very physical.

“It comes down to who wants to win more,” he said.

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Melissa Sidebotham at [email protected].