Locals Spark Xavier Rugby Team To Eighth Northeast Crown
The Xavier High School rugby team, which has a host of Rockaway and Breezy Point members on the roster, was impressive in the Northeast Rugby Union Championship Tournament in Springfield, Massachusetts last weekend.
Xavier High School hoisted their eighth consecutive Northeast Championship with a 15-7 win over Greenwich High School of Connecticut. Eight New York and New England teams competed for the title. In the first match, Xavier faced newcomer Kenmore West High School from Buffalo. Xavier's overall team speed and superior passing skills was too much for their opponent as they cruised toa 25-5 win.
Head coach Mike Tolkin was able to rest some of his starters in the second half and be prepared to face off against division rival Fairfield Prep of Connecticut. Xavier's defense was too stifling in a 27-3 win which advanced the team to the finals.
For the third straight year, Xavier faced Greenwich High School in the championship. A talented Greenwich squad came out firing, going up 7-0 early in the first half. With less than five minutes to go, Xavier captain John Burke scored to cut the lead to 7- 5.
With that score, Xavier recaptured the momentum and began to dominate the rest of the game. In the second half, Xavier would score twice and their tenacious play held Greenwich scoreless for the rest of the day to win the title 15-7.
The victory also gave Xavier High School the opportunity to advance to the National Rugby Championship Tournament in Salt Lake City, Utah.
What makes this especially rewarding is the number of local athletes playing rugby at Xavier High School: John Burke, Kieran Carley, Sean Carley, Pat Coleman, Jonathon Dimola, Jospeh Drennan, Mike Dier, David Hauck, Sean Kearney, Seamus Kelly, Ryan McTiernan, Ryan Meade and Bill Slattery. The number of players that contribute for a winning program is truly impressive.