Tech Rugby Team Finishes Season in Style

Tech Rugby Team Finishes Season in Style


Ruggers Demolish The Chiles 73-5 in Las Cruces


LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico Tech Rugby Club closed their fall campaign with a comprehensive 73-5 win over the New Mexico State University Chiles in Las Cruces Saturday. Tech scored 11 five-point tries and kicked nine successful conversion kicks, including six by fullback Javier Koerdell.  

  The Tech rugby team: Standing (from left) are Christian Rode, Dillon Mann, Geno Palermo (astride Mann), David Parsons, Dillon Cvetic-Thomas, Everson Cruz, Tanner Graham, Sam Bartlett, Miguel Angel Santillanes Lopez, Ben Turner, David Lopez, Bastian Avila, and Chris Bond.

Kneeling (from left) are Rick Cosentino, Kris Ford, Nigel Ruckhaus, Javier Koerdell, Isaac Juarez, Stephen Albritton, and Blaine Trujillo.


The performance was consistent with the form the team has shown on their way to a 12 win, two loss, one draw record, capturing two tournament titles along the way. The match was an apt farewell for club veterans Blaine Trujillo of Isleta Pueblo and Rick Cosentino of Buffalo, N.Y, as they close in on master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering and physics, respectively.  

In ideal autumn conditions Tech took control from a lineout (inbound throw) three minutes after kickoff. Halfback Isaac Juarez passed the ball to head captain Tanner Graham at the head of the six-man backs unit. A series of tackles followed with the Pygmies retaining possession for freshman center Dylan Mann to finish with a strong 20-meter run to score the first five-point try. Javier Koerdell’s conversion kick flew wide of the mark.

Koerdell converted his own try seven minutes later after his backline partners executed a fine passing movement to make it 12-0. The Chiles committed a penalty near their own try line after 14 minutes and loose forward Nigel Ruckhaus took Juarez’s pass to dive over the line. Koerdell’s kick brought the score to 19-0.

NMSU kept Tech off the board for the next quarter hour but only through supreme effort. Koerdell got Tech back on track by fielding a desperation kick and beating the cover defense to score from 30 meters. His conversion kick made it 26-0. Six minutes before Mann finished a length-of-the-field try engineered by all 15 Pygmies. Tanner Graham ran in Tech’s sixth try after an errant Chile lineout after 38 minutes and Koerdell notched the kick to make the halftime score 40-0.

Tech’s focus seemed to wander in the opening minutes of the second half and the Chiles responded with an unconverted try to avoid a whitewash.  But Tech struck again at 51 minutes when Juarez spun the ball wide for Koerdell to dot down following another Chile penalty. The fullback’s conversion increased Tech’s lead to 47-5.

Tech’s lineout dominance continued and 61 minutes into the match Ruckhaus scored courtesy of an offload pass from Albritton. Ruckhaus’s conversion stretched Tech’s lead to 54-5 and soon after the big Alaskan showed his trademark pace and footwork as he evaded several defenders over the course of a long jaunt. His teammates supported well and Graham eventually touched down before booting the conversion for a 61-5 bulge.

At 70 minutes the Pygmies were awarded a scrum five meters from State’s try line. Albritton’s forwards won the scrum and Cosentino, in to relieve Juarez at scrum half, picked up and ran briefly to the right before dishing a soft pass for freshman wing Chris Bond to score untouched in the corner. Ruckhaus’s conversion attempt from a difficult angle failed.

Tech’s other freshman wing, Dillon Cvetic-Thomas, got on the scoreboard just before the final whistle and Graham’s booming kick from the corner capped Tech’s scoring binge at 73-5.

Following his team’s clinical effort, Mann was named Tech’s Man of the Match by team captains Graham, Albritton, and Koerdell. Honorable mentions also were bestowed on Bastian Avila and David Lopez. New Mexico Tech and the University of New Mexico will start the spring season atop the Rio Grande Rugby Union collegiate division with their 15-15 draw on September 10 being the only blemishes on their league records. 

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/NMT Rugby Director