East Valley Victories: Red Mountain rugby team wins national title - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

East Valley Victories: Red Mountain rugby team wins national title

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Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 8:16 pm | Updated: 8:57 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The third time was really the charm for the Red Mountain rugby team. On June 1, the group of men who hail from all over the Valley capped an undefeated season with the USA Rugby Division II men’s national championship.

“There is nothing else like it,” said Warthog captain Matt Williams. “It was an awesome thing to share with my mates.”

In 2006, Red Mountain advanced to the final four and last year the Warthogs lost in the title game.

“I can truly say the monkey is way off our backs,” Williams said.

This year Red Mountain (16-0) captured the title with a 41-18 win over Brandywine, Pa., which was also undefeated and had knocked the defending national champions out of the tournament.

But it wasn’t as easy for Red Mountain as the score indicates.

In the semifinal game a day earlier, the Warthogs were behind 22-5 in the first half against a strong and experienced Wisconsin team. But they rallied in the second half for a 39-22 victory.

“It said a lot about us as a team,” Williams said. “We had our backs against the wall in the semifinal but were able to stay calm and focused to pull out a big win.”

“Coming out of that game, having come from behind against an excellent Wisconsin team, there was an unspoken feeling amongst the team that it was going to be very hard to stop us in the final.”

The national championship is the first for an Arizona team. Red Mountain, which outscored its opponents 815-169 this season, also added to its string of four consecutive Pacific Coast and Arizona championships.

Even though the team has more than 70 members, the roster submitted to USA Rugby for the finals consisted of: Andrew Beal, Michael Bennett, Loren Broussard, Brent Bandura, Matt Brecher, August Clauss, Richard Darrow, Matt Defreitas, Alexandru Enache, Jeff Gallegos, Daniel Gianino, Jonathon Gray, Zachery Hentges, Shaun Hudson, Scott Just, Mosese Langi, Andrew Lebowitz, Jon Mackey, Aloisio Mageo, Michael Mahnke, Matthew McMinn, Scott Mead, Todd Miller, Billy O’Connor, Austin Sage, Adolpho Sanchez, Matt Squires and Williams. They are coached by Kevin Torkelson.


Kari Granville of Tempe placed second in the Senior Adult Women’s Olympic Recurve Division (a recurve bow with sights), scoring 530 points at the National FITA Field Archery Championships held June 6-8 in Spokane, Wash.

Dakota Sinclair, also of Tempe, took third place in the Senior Adult Men’s Olympic Recurve Division with 636 points, and Richard Doria of Chandler was third in the Masters (50-plus) Men’s Barebow Division (a barebow has no sighting device) with 259 points.

The Federation of International Target Archery tournament tests an archer’s skill in hitting targets as small as 20 centimeters (about eight inches) at close range and as large as 80 centimeters (about three feet) at long range.

In addition to the varied-sized targets, archers have to contend with targets that are placed at the bottom of cliffs, from one hill top to another, across streams and between trees.

Granville and Sinclair will be part of the U.S. team that will compete in the world championships Sept. 1-3 in Wales.


The AZ CLASH (Character, Leadership, Attitude, Stature & Heart) 12-under and 14-under teams won their divisions at the Loren Schmidgall Youth Memorial Tournament June 7-8 at Tempe Sports Complex.

This annual tournament is held in honor of Schmidgall, a Valley baseball player who was 14 when he died Oct. 29, 2006, in a bicycle mishap.

The 12U team coached by Dan Contreras and the 14U team coached by Tyler Bassett are comprised of players from all over the valley.


Four board members and coaches from Chandler Youth Football, which qualified three teams for the American Youth Football national championship tournament last December, won a trophy of their own last month as a bunch of losers.

The quartet of CYF president Dee Grayer, cheer director Jullie Bennett, treasurer Derrick Stinson and Web site director John Masters competed against seven other teams in the Competitive Athletic Training Zone Fitness Challenge at the facility located at 825 E. Warner Road, Suite 100 in Chandler.

In the inaugural contest they lost a total of 73.8 pounds and 16.2 percent body fat over an eight-week period. Visit http://catzaz.com/cfa_chandleryouthfb.htm to see before and after photos.

"It was fun and challenging," Bennett told the CATZ staff at the end of the contest.

Team members were required to train at least three days a week and if any member missed more than two days that team was disqualified.

And they didn’t actually win a trophy.

What they did receive was a year of free CATZ training, a six-month pass for a friend and a complete designer outfit from Moody Blues.

The facility plans to offer three challenges each year with another one scheduled to begin in July.

Interested teams should call (480) 855-3145 or visit http://catzaz.com.


Aztec Camp will provide instruction in the fundamentals of football, mental aspects of playing the game, and strength and conditioning fundamentals for youth in grades 5-9 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 14-17 at Tempe Corona del Sol High School. Cost is $70. Call (480) 899-5936.


Chandler Youth Football will be conducting registration from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Tumbleweed Recreation Center (745 E. Germann Road) as follows: cheerleading, ages 5-15 (as of July 31); flag football, ages 6-8; tackle, ages 8-14. Visit www.chandleryouthfootball.com or call (480) 598-9244.

Rio Salado Pop Warner will conduct registration for football and cheer from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and again July 19 at Tempe Fire Training Center. Prices range from $75-$145. Call (480) 650-0994 or visit www.eteamz.com/riosalado/index.cfm?

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