Flank forward Mario Naranjo (#18) and his New Mexico Tech teammates scrum down in Santa Fe Saturday. The home team won, 53-12.
The Pygmies paid the price for showing up with just 17 players for 15 playing positions against an experienced club team. With 80 minutes of rugby before them, the result was almost in the books before the starting whistle.
Surprisingly, the rookie-laden student team strung together some effective passages of attack and defended well in the opening minutes. The Santos seemed on their heels as freshman wing Aaron Long collected his first rugby try by diving into the corner after eight minutes. Fly half Brock Romero angled a difficult conversion kick against a stiff breeze and Tech led 7-0.
Santa Fe only needed six more minutes to get on the scoreboard through a try from outside center Royce Beaudry on a passing play after a Tech penalty. From then on, first half scoring was the exclusive domain of Santa Fe, with inside center Pat Simons touching down two tries and Matt Kretz adding another. Along the way freshman forward Ryan Barnes suffered a sprained ankle and at the halftime break Tech faced a 24-7 deficit with a lack of fresh players.
Predictably Santa Fe put up five more tries in the second half, but mercifully converted only two as the gathering wind played havoc with kicks. Four minutes from full time wing Joe Tyson sliced through Santa Fe's defense on a run from a penalty to score Techs' final try.
Long was selected by captains Isaiah Sanchez and Blaine Trujillo as Tech's man of the match. Santa Fe’s Beaudry, a 2010 Tech graduate who was named the Tech Sportsman of the Year in 2010, completed the hat trick, while former Pygmies Pat Simons and Matt Kretz recorded two and one tries respectively.
Tech's season record slid to 4-4. All of Tech's wins have been in 10-man rugby and all but one loss in 15. The team's next action is scheduled for October 1-2 in Flagstaff Arizona at the Northern Arizona Tens tournament. The Pygmies are defending collegiate champions.
By Dave Wheelock /Tech Rugby Director