Tech Ruggers Third in Socorro Challenge
SOCORRO, N.M. May 1, 2010 – The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club stumbled to a third-place finish in the Fifth Sometimes-Annual Socorro Challenge Tens Tournament on April 24. The Pygmies could manage only one win from four matches in the four team, 10-a-side competition. (A traditional rugby union team is comprised of 15 players.)
Royce Beaudry advances the ball in Tech’s game against the Brujos Rugby Club. Former Tech rugger Pablo Garibay lines up to tackle in the foreground. Behind Beaudry are Tech's Joaquin Roibal (left) and Graham Payne.
A total of nine matches were held throughout the day, with the University of New Mexico capping a spotless 5-0 record with a 49-24 triumph over New Mexico State University in the final.
The opening match saw the hometown team give the Lobos their stiffest challenge of the day. Although Tech could not manage a point, the speedy UNM side was limited to their lowest total of the day with 12.
New Mexico State took a five try to one, 32-7, win from the Brujos Rugby Club (Albuquerque) in the second match. After a 30-minute pause to allow the Chiles to recover, they nevertheless found themselves on the short end of a 26-5 score against a Lobo team beginning to hit their stride.
Tech then returned in hopes of their first win against the Brujos, but were disappointed when former Pygmy Tory Tadano, a Socorro native, scored a second-half try that saw his Albuquerque team squeak past by a 15-10 score. Brock Romero scored the first try of his career for the losers, and was joined in the scoring column by head captain Royce Beaudry.
Hardworking Pygmy scrumhalf Dustin Webb was the difference in the next match against New Mexico State's Chiles. The Chiles scored two five-point tries in the first half but managed just one conversion kick for 12 points. Meanwhile Webb's drop kick connected after James Fallt's five-pointer to bring the score to 12-7 as the teams traded sides. Tech's defense held up in the second half, and Webb sealed a 14-12 victory when his kick sailed through the uprights after Beaudry's try on a penalty play.
Pool play ended with a 61-5 UNM thumping of a fading Brujos side. The Lobos raised their day's point total to a commanding 99, versus 49 for NMSU, 27 for Brujos, and 24 for New Mexico Tech.
The first semifinal saw New Mexico State finish the Brujos' account by a 17-5 margin, and then it was Tech's turn to attempt an upset against UNM in the second semifinal. The home team battled bravely and trailed just 7-5 after another try by Beaudry. But taking advantage of Tech’s erratic play, the four leading scorers in UNM's balanced attack – Chris Wisdom, Josh Aranda, Nico Young, and Nare Utsireletsoe – each crossed the line in the second spell for a runaway 33-5 victory.
Honors were bestowed on the Lobos following their stampede over NMSU in the final match. Tech was selected for the Spirit of Rugby award by the captains of the four competing teams. In addition Jerod Aragon and Brock Romero of Tech were selected to the honorary All-Challenge team. The Pygmies will draw the curtain on their 2009-2010 campaign with an appearance in Albuquerque’s Celtic Sevens Tournament on May 15, the same day that team veterans Marcus Chavez and Nick Aldape receive their engineering diplomas in Socorro.
– NMT –
By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director