With two preseason matches under the belt of the CSU rugby team, players and coaches have their eyes set on the future in which hopes of reaching another elite eight postseason appearance are held.
CSU has one preseason game tie against the Colorado School of Mines and a dominating victory over New Mexico, 69-13 in its first game of the regular season. The Rams were scheduled to play the University of Colorado last Saturday but it was cancelled due to the increased amount of snow fall.
“The season has been going great,” captain Carmine Hernandez said. “This year has been a little bit of a rebuilding year, but we gained a new coach and a bunch of new forwards.”
Alongside Hernandez on the field is leader Chris Hooyman. He is looking to not only take this season to the same height in the championship as last year, but also sees this year’s team taking it to the final four.
“I think the bigger goal is to make it to the final four or the final this year,” Hooyman said. “It is really going to come down to how well we play against these top teams because this is a hard sport and it does take a lot to play at that level.”
An asset to help the Rams achieve this goal comes from the number of games added to their schedule. CSU started the season off earlier in order to have 10 games played before it travels to the championships. Players believe a lack of games for preparation is what held the team back last year.
A strength of the team lies in the fundamentals. CSU is focusing on its passing and kicking game to remain in contention with top competitors while its size has proved to be a deciding factor this year. The Rams are a young team who rely on all players from freshman to seniors to pick up the slack and pull out wins each and every time it takes the field.
The Rams’ season has just begun with plenty of time to tie up loose ends in practice and move forward towards their ultimate goal. CSU will take on Air Force Saturday in Colorado Springs followed by CU-Boulder, Wyoming and CU once again over the weekend before spring break.
“I think the CSU community should know that we work just as hard as a football team, or teams that give scholarships and have all kinds of benefits. We work just as hard as them without the benefit,” Hernandez said. “If you are an athlete out there and are looking for something and you have passion, come out – that is was it’s going to make this team grow and that it why this team continues to succeed. ”
Collegian Assistant Sports Editor Haleigh Hamblin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @haleighhamblin.