Rugby wins Cooper Lake Collegiate Plate Classic, ends fall season with 5–1 record

Credit: Courtesy of Christianna Elash Credit: Courtesy of Christianna Elash The Tartans pose for a champions of the Cooper Lake Collegiate Plate Classic picture. (credit: Courtesy of Christianna Robinson Elash) The Tartans pose for a champions of the Cooper Lake Collegiate Plate Classic picture. (credit: Courtesy of Christianna Robinson Elash)

"Carnegie Mellon Rugby Football club steps on the field every game seen as pushovers and walks off the field earning the respect of the opposition and usually a win," head coach John Elash said.

Week after week, the Cardinal and Gray racked up victories against top regional teams, ultimately leading the Carnegie Mellon Rugby club to a 5–1 record overall in the fall and remaining undefeated in its playoff bracket.

As a result of the team's success, four Carnegie Mellon players, with a fifth alternate, have been selected for the Allegheny Rugby Union (ARU) Select Side. Fifth-year Jameson O'Donnell, junior Daniel Huddock, senior Mario Pedro Leonel, and graduate student Tim Lee will represent the Tartans, who make up just under 20 percent of the overall select squad that will compete in the Midwest Tournament. The invitational will be held at the end of the month in Grand Rapids, Mich. In addition to these six honors, the team's only female player was selected for the ARU Women's U-23 select side.

For the second time in four years, the team has taken home the trophy at the Coopers Lake Collegiate Plate Classic in which the Tartans recorded decisive wins over their three opponents on the weekend, defeating sides from Washington & Jefferson (15–7), Kenyon College (24–0), and Juniata College (18–3).

Starting the tournament with a struggle against W&J, Carnegie Mellon did not demonstrate its truth worth on the field right away but rallied in the next game to prove its dominance. Amped up and ready to go, the Tartans brought aggression and technique to the forefront, outplaying Juniata in the final match of the weekend.

With this exciting win, the Tartans entered this past weekend with high expectations and relentless game strategies that ultimately led to the Carnegie Mellon 27–7 victory over West Virginia University. Despite the close match-up, the Tartans were able to pull ahead, maintaining possession and locking in the defense. After a 20-yard sprint down the sideline, senior Frank Marzano recorded his first try for the Tartans and received Man of the Match honors. Marzano helped seal the win for Carnegie Mellon.

"This team has respectfully represented Carnegie Mellon all the while becoming a team that strikes fear into its opponent," Elash said. "We also know this is only the beginning of a great rugby tradition at Carnegie Mellon University."

The team will face Robert Morris University, and possibly University of Pittsburgh, this Saturday at Gesling Stadium.