Christendom ready for Rugby Tourney

By Brad Fauber

Christendom College’s rugby season has been very hit and miss — mostly miss — so far this spring.

The Crusaders have played just two matches since their season officially began with a 19-19 tie with Catholic University on March 1 due to uncooperative weather. But they will finally get some quality matches in on the pitch this weekend.

Christendom is scheduled to participate in the 48th Annual Cherry Blossom Rugby Tournament in Fort Washington, Md., this Saturday and Sunday, an event that typically features over 40 teams and 600 players at various levels of competition.

Crusaders second-year head coach Theo Smith said his team was a late addition to the tournament after Christendom was initially told that there was “no chance” that it would be accepted into the tournament, as James Madison University’s withdrawal opened space for the Crusaders.

Smith said he thinks this is the first time that Christendom has participated in the tournament.

“The guys are just champing at the bit to get out there and play,” Smith said in a phone interview on Friday. “… This is a good chance for us to get out there and play some high-caliber competition.”

Smith added that there are five groups in the college-level tournament, and that the Crusaders will be competing in Group B along with West Virginia University, Mary Washington and Salisbury.

The winners of each group advance to the playoff rounds with a shot at the tournament championship.

Christendom, which is 1-0-1 this season, will open the two-day tournament with a match against WVU at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday.

“I was really hoping we would play [University of Pittsburgh], but WVU is a good school,” Smith said. “They’re big old farm boys that love to hit. They’re a really fun team to play.”

The Crusaders will play two more matches on Sunday, starting with a 7:45 a.m. match against Mary Washington followed by a 10:15 a.m. game against Salisbury.

The team with the best record will then advance to the semifinal round later on Sunday against the winner from one of the other brackets.

“The guys have really earned this spot and I hope they go as far as I’m expecting them to go, which is to the finals,” Smith said.

Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD