Carroll rugby players hopeful club will become team sport

By Luke Hanna, Sports Writer

   The Carroll Charger Rugby team had a successful season last year with their win at state against Pike High School. This year the Carroll team hopes to win again for back-to-back state victories.

   While the Charger team feels comfortable overall heading into the new rugby season, senior Nathan Achor said he feels apprehensive about continuing last year’s success.

     “There’s definitely a lot of extra pressure,” Achor said. “Everyone is after us now because they know who we are.”

   Charger Rugby started their season on April 13 with a victory against Angola High school with a score of 53-3. They also won on April 16 against Hamilton South Eastern High School with a score of 30-3.

   The Carroll Rugby team has many players on their squad, so the seniors that graduate can have their spots easily replaced. The current team is led by senior Jake Grossnickle, who said the team lost a couple key seniors last year. 

   “We lost our eight man Levi Muter and we lost our hooker Alex Lewis,” Grossnickle said.

   Since these tough players are gone, some sophomores and juniors are needed to step up to take the places of the graduated seniors.

   “A couple of the sophomores I see stepping up already are Salvador Soto, he’s stepping up at the prop position, and Peter Stillwell,” Grossnickle said. “A junior I also see stepping up is Lucas Hook, he is really good.”

   Carroll High School and Bishop Dwenger High School seem to have built up a rivalry in rugby. Three out of four rugby players interviewed said Bishop Dwenger was their biggest rival and they look forward to playing them this season.

   “One [team] that is not in our division, but I am looking forward to playing the most would probably be Dwenger,” Achor said. “I think we have a lot of good competition between us and it is pretty even every year between us and them.”

   Attitudes towards rugby have changed as a result of their state victory last year. Senior Jarod Garner said he and his team are a lot more motivated this year.

   “Everybody is a lot more competitive, and we all just want to win,” Garner said.

   As of now, Carroll Rugby is considered a club instead of a team sport, meaning it is not a sport that is funded by the school. Rugby is growing quickly, and many of the rugby players believe that it will be a funded team sport in the future.

   “I know that one state in the United States has already sanctioned it as a sport, and it is kind of like soccer in that soccer was a slowly growing club sport and now it is a school sanctioned varsity sport,” Grossnickle said, “so I think rugby will become a sport eventually.”

   One of the biggest reasons for rugby and other club sports such as bowling not being a funded sport is because of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) guidelines. Senior Triston Wright is a high believer that rugby will become a school team sport, but does realize the rules of the IHSAA.

   “There are women’s rugby teams, but [Indiana] would have to make that an IHSAA sport,” Wright said. “There has to be an equal amount of boys and girls teams, so they would just have to bring in new girls teams.”

   At most Indiana high schools, there must be an equal amount of female sports and male sports. Sports such as basketball, soccer, and golf have both girls’ and boys’ teams. In addition, male sports such as football are matched with female sports such as volleyball. In order for rugby to become a funded team sport for Carroll, it would need a girls’ sport at the school to counteract this addition.

   Carroll Rugby will compete in their next game on April 27 at their field at the intersection of Carroll Road and Lima Road.