By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

Men’s Rugby looks to replicate last season’s success

(Left) Calvin Liulamaga playing against the Arizona State Wildcats. Photo courtesy Jacob Thompson

After unforeseen weather conditions last Saturday, Jan. 13, the Wildcat’s season opener was canceled and pushed back a week. While they were previously supposed to face off with the Seattle Rugby Club, CWU’s first match-up will now be versus the University of Victoria Vikes on Saturday, Jan. 20.

The game will take place at Wallace Field in Victoria, British Columbia. The Division I Wildcats haven’t competed against the Vikes since 2017, where they ended the clash victoriously with a score of 31-29.

Last season, the men’s team finished with a record of 8-1 and ranked second in the conference, which is the highest ranking in program history. Head coach Todd Thornley, who has been coaching the team for eight years, discussed how he wishes to keep his team ahead.

“It was nice to be ranked that high but at the same time, we were a little disappointed with how our season actually ended,” Thornley said. “You know we’re hungry for more, we want to be the best in the whole country, we got number two and now we want number one.” 

Head coach Todd Thornley hugging player on senior night.
Photo courtesy Jacob Thompson / Jacob Thompson sports

The team’s impressive performance has not only solidified its reputation as a threat, but has also potentially provided insight into the season ahead.

The men’s team consists of 34 players, with two that were selected as the 2023 D1A Collegiate All-Americans by the USA Rugby College Rugby Association Of America. 

One of these All-Americans is fifth year center Calvin Liulamaga, and he said that his biggest worry is regarding the element of time. “I’m worried it’s gonna end pretty fast since it’s my last year, so I’m just trying to do it one day at a time,” Liulamaga said. “Every good thing sadly comes to an end.”

When asked about what he is hoping to improve on most, Liulamaga said, “I just want to be a playmaker when the ball is in my hands and you know, making the right decisions. Doing what’s best for the team and working with them as a family.”

The players are ready to showcase their offseason work outside of practice and on the field. Supporters and students can look forward to the upcoming match as the team continues their commitment to excellence. 

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