Rugby national championship game showcases UD heart and spirit

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On April 30, the University of Dallas Rugby Football Club faced off against the Norco Community College team from Norco, California in Grand Prairie, Texas. This was the first time in team history that the University of Dallas qualified for the national championship game.

This season was the team’s best ever. Their record this season was 8-0 and their season point differential was 364-8. A Division II team, they placed 4th in the state of Texas across all divisions. 

Over a hundred fans, including students, alumni and families came out to cheer on the Hoggies. Unfortunately, the game ended in a 57-28 loss for UD.

Team captain and senior politics major Dominic Valentine scored two tries throughout the game. Senior computer science major Carlos Gomez and senior history major Mike Williams both scored tries, contributing to the team’s overall score. 

“It feels great,” said Gomez. “We put in the work all season. We’ve played huge teams and being the smaller guys, it’s a David and Goliath situation. We came out here and put it to the grind. I’m so proud of these guys, as a senior I’m so proud to be out here.”

Despite the disappointing loss, the Hoggies showed admirable heart from beginning to end. For example, one of Norco’s players accidentally stepped on freshman Joe Wilcox’s throat, but Wilcox got up and played through the rest of the game. 

“We always play our hearts out, we never give up in the 4th quarter,” said Gomez. “It’s always a joy to be out here, especially at nationals. This is going to be something to remember for a lifetime.”

They played bravely through their injuries, despite an intimidating opponent. “We had a lot of injuries with a lot of our big game-changing players were out and a lot of our subs stepped up,” said Valentine. 

Valentine added, “It was a good game. We played especially well in the second half because they started to lose steam. As everyone saw, they were significantly bigger and more athletic overall, but I think we played with more heart overall.”

“We did not give up,” said Gomez. “I think that’s the important thing; that’s what UD is all about.”

Senior politics major Kolbe Costello said, “Individually each person stepped up and played a game larger than themselves and I think collectively the boys showed a lot of heart, a lot of courage, and resilience … Courage and resilience in the face of larger opponents is the only way that UD will ever win games. I’m really proud of the boys and humbled to be playing with them. They play with a lot of courage, a lot of resilience, and a lot of virtue.”

Despite this loss at nationals, the Hoggies end their best season ever as the 2nd place Division 2 team in the nation. 

“This year, it’s the farthest UD’s ever made it, and I think we’re setting the standard for a program I think we’re going to build into a better and better team every year,” said Costello.

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