PMHS rugby takes third state title in five years, defeating Rye 23-10 in final

Yet again, the PMHS rugby team has brought home the gold. On June 2 in Binghamton, the Pelicans dominated Rye 23-10 in the final, winning the third state championship in five years for division 2.

Nick Lapponese and Philip Dulock were the scorers in the final game. Lapponese contributed 10 points while Dulock added 13.

Lapponese, the captain, led Pelham to victory throughout the season. He made the all-state all-star team, was picked to play for the Rugby United NY U20 pro team and won 95% of lineout throws to him. He also stole opposition lineout throws 65% of the time. Nick was the leading try scorer, topping it off by scoring two tries in the state final.

“We started off the season with a lot of injuries and needed a lot of younger guys to step up,” said Lapponese. “As the captain, I wanted to make sure the team was comfortable playing with each other. As the season progressed, our coaches taught us what we needed to know for the games, and I made sure the bond between the team was strong. With that strong bond, we were able to play to our full capability and truly as a team, which is truly what led us to the state championship.”

Senior Henry Driesen decided to take the season off from track and join rugby. “I didn’t know what to expect when I joined, but I see now that it was a great decision for me,” said Driesen. “I was able to pick up the game pretty easily, and the team was very welcoming.”

Although the rugby team had a new set of players this season, they quickly bonded and were determined to bring home a third state championship title.

“We had a lot of new guys this year and at the start of the season were unsure about how things would go,” said Dulock. “But the new guys learned fast, and a lot of guys stepped up to bring the team to where it ended this season. Winning states this year was special and won’t be forgotten.” 

The Pelican’s season record in their division was 9-0. In the state semifinal against Syracuse, Pelham won 58-12.