Congratulations to the Strikers Team of the Month for August, the Rugby 7th/8th grade boys!
The 7th/8th grade team finished strong in 3rd place at the State Championship that took place on July 21st. They went into the tournament ranked 2nd in the state after beating Loudoun the week before.
Head coach Stuart Willis said about his team, "What I love about this team? They play for each other. On all teams you have strong players, and his team has strong players, but they encourage and bring up the team to their standards. It has been a real pleasure to coach this group of kids. Coach Ed Kuzusko and I look forward to seeing these youth players move on to High School. In the summer tournament, the team was struck by adversity in the first game. The team was down 12-0 at halftime and went on to win 14-12. This type of play exemplifies the the team."
The boys first game was against Alexandria, where they were down 12-0 at halftime with one player off the field for a dangerous tackle. The second half started with a flair. Ned Mangum had a breakaway and scored. After a few minutes, Luke Willis picked up and went blind. He broke a tackle and then outran two players down the sideline. Once in goal, he turned to center the try, he sprinted to the center and beat a fourth opponent. He then dropkicked to put the Strikers up by 2 points. Andy Kuzusko made a great play to hold up a go-ahead try in the game. Strikers won 14-12, playing one-fourth of the game down a man.
Game two was against Vienna Red. Vienna has recently won the National Championship for Middle School 15s. It was a great competitive game, but the team came out on the losing side just barely, 17-14.
In the semifinals, we played against a strong Vienna Black team. We ended up losing 31-12. Mike Mitchell moved to a few different positions along with Fintan Stengal. Along with Ned, Luke, Colin Irvin, Shane Allen and Harrison Willis had strong showings.
The last match was against Loudoun was short on numbers but they honored the game. They only had 11 players and they played hard but we overmatched them and the boys finished the day in high spirits and came in 3rd in the state!