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From silver to gold: rugby tries to shine

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With an undefeated season last year, rugby team members advanced into the gold league.

They used to be part of the National Small College Rugby Organization’s silver league.

According to senior Grady Zagorac, the two leagues differ in the team’s skills and talents.

“We’ve been pretty good over the past few years, and so we’ve got moved up to the gold league.

“Teams that don’t show improvement stayed in the silver or got demoted from the gold (league),” Zagorac said.

Despite being undefeated last season, Zagorac said team members go into the new season with a blank slate mind set.

“We have a whole new team, new opponents, so it’s always a challenge. But our guys are receptive, quick learners, and our senior leaders are always pushing guys to be the best they can be,” he said.

Zagorac also said the team has been waiting to get into the gold league for about two years.

“There’s been a lot of preparation, but, in regards to this season, we hold weekly practices and occasional film sessions,” he said.

Senior Matthew Roland said the team tries to scout their opponents and watch film so they know what to expect.

“We’ve also stressed the importance of making sure we stay in shape.

“(We also) prepared by staying focused and making sure we have good practices,” Roland said.

Zagorac said he thinks the team is prepared for the gold league.

“Our team is definitely young, and they are all willing to learn, and everyone is a team player,” he said.

Zagorac also said he thinks he is going to do well throughout the season.

“This year is off to a good start for me,” Zagorac said.

Since this is his last season, Zagorac said, for him, it’s not about him personally doing well.

“(It’s) about the team learning, growing and being ready to handle the team when the older guys graduate,” he said.

Zagorac also said his biggest challenge is graduating and being done with rugby.

“It’s definitely hard, and I love this team (and) the guys, so walking away at the end of it all will be the hardest.

“There’s no way to overcome it, but to just have fun personally and as a team,” Zagorac said.

However, Zagorac said his goal for this season is to win a national championship.

Roland also said due to the number of veteran players and new talent, he’s confident in the team’s ability.

“I have confidence that we will be able to perform well in playoffs and hopefully bring home another championship,” Roland said.