Pelham varsity rugby expecting a promising season

Pelham rugby is a fairly new varsity sport at the high school. It became a varsity sport only three years ago. Once national finalists and two time state champions, the Pelham rugby team has high hopes for the upcoming season.

This year’s captain is Nick Lapponese, a senior at Pelham Memorial High School.

“Pelham rugby has had a history of success having won two state championships and coming second in nationals,” says Lapponese, “I feel that these are great titles to hold, but the future of Pelham rugby will stop living in their shadow and create our own history by winning states this year, and many more to come.” 

Coaches Matt Persanis and Keith Killeen consider last season to have been disappointing, as it did not go the way the team had hoped. The team believes that they didn’t start the season off right, causing them to make small, simple mistakes which resulted in them not making it to states. However, with a large group of promising members joining the team, they are working on better technique and skill.

Promising newcomers include Jonathan Onslow, a sophomore at Bronxville High School, and Peter Fontanella, a senior at Pelham Memorial High School. James Carney, now a freshman at Ohio University and a starter for their rugby team, was a big loss for the team. Persanis is expecting good things from their captain, Nick Lapponese, as well as seniors Alex Walker, James Hupprich, Henry Driesen, Gabe Sucena, and juniors Philip Dulock and Sean O’Brien. 

Persanis says, “We believe we can make the state finals and if we go, well, win our third state championship.”

The team is hoping for improvement this season to guarantee them a chance at states. The team’s biggest rival is Rye. Losing to Rye last season cost them their place at states. Lapponese believes that their game against Rye will be the biggest game of the season. As of now, the team will be playing Rye on April 7th on Glover Field at 4 P.M.

The team lost their first game against Play Rugby on March 17th and won their second game against Bishop Loughlin on March 24th, 107-41.