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Three men’s rugby players make All-Minnesota team

May 5, 2011

The UW-River Falls men’s rugby team recently had three players make the final cut for the All Minnesota rugby team at the tryout held in early April.

Put on by the Minnesota Rugby Union, the tryout consisted of collegiate level players from all over the state of Minnesota.

According to team member Jesse Engen, in order to compete in the tryout, players present themselves to the union and hope for an invite.

“It is something you pursue on your own,” Engen said. “There are no credentials necessary to at least tryout.”

During the tryout process, players are ranked by a board of coaches and rugby officials until the final round of cuts in which 28 players are selected.

Engen said that to make it to the final round is where the real work starts.

“During the final selection tryout, we play a team called the East Side Banshees,” Engen said. “They are pretty good so that’s always a challenge.”

Once the 28 man roster is finalized, the team heads to Chicago, Ill. for a nationwide tournament consisting of teams made up of other state’s best players.

The All Minnesota team competed in the Midwest bracket this year, a bracket that they took second place in at last years tournament.

Engen, who was a member of last year’s squad, said that the extra motivation to win this year after a second place finish last season was big.

“We made it to the final game last year,” Engen said. “We lost so to go back and win was really nice.”

Engen said that this years tournament provided some interesting twists to accompany strong competition.

“It was sleeting and raining and all kinds of stuff this year,” Engen said. “The weather combined with the good competition made for a tough tournament.”

Considering the number of players UW-River Falls produced for such a prestigious team, Engen said that the rugby team on campus has come a long way since its beginnings.

“It really shows how far we have come,” Engen said. “We have a really athletic team this year.”

Engen added that the recruiting for the rugby team takes place at the yearly Involvement Fair held in the University Center.

“Anybody can play,” Engen said. “When I came here, I had never played and really didn’t know anything about it.”

With the end of the academic year approaching, the lacrosse team has wrapped up its proceedings.

For more information on how to get involved with UWRF Rugby, visit the UW-River Falls homepage and search “rugby” under Club Sports.