The Maryland rugby season concluded with a tournament at Kinder Farm Park during the weekend of July 30-31. Here’s how the Green Hornets teams fared this season.
“Pass backward, run forward,” the echoing refrain of Green Hornets U7 rugby, did not fall on deaf ears in 2022. Although the U7 crew started with a group of mostly new players, by the end of the year, the team had leaders and strategists like Georgia McGrail, Amelia “Millie” Davis and Jackson Minor directing field positions during free kicks and managing defensive lines for scrums and lineouts.
By the end of the year, the kids had grasped the idea of getting the ball out to space, particularly to teammates like Daniel Morgan, Marin Alexander, Daniel “Fitz” Murphy, Richard “Rick” Dolan, Ronan Dapkus and Sam Nelson who would take the corner and score a try given the smallest opening. Getting the ball out to space required a team that had great ball control and confident handling. No one displayed this better than Austen Dumond, Marin Butler and Max Letteny. All three athletes consistently kept the play alive and in their team's possession when they needed them the most.
With a great lineup of rugby players came a great group of parents; despite the heat, they showed up while juggling multiple kids on the hot turf fields. Parents were all willing to lend a hand on short notice. The U7 Green Hornets had a mostly winning season and performed well at the 2022 Maryland Rugby Festival.
The U9 team doubled in size from 2021 to 2022 and the new numbers paid off. After a tough first-game loss, the U9 Hornets rebounded and claimed third place in the Maryland rugby championships.
“It was hot, and we entered two teams, but I’m proud of the efforts of all the kids today,” coach Matt Aquino said after the games. “Any time you leave with a trophy is a good day.”
Newcomers Audrey Clark and Eli Letteney joined veterans Laken Alexander and Lucas Aquino to propel the team to the third-place spot.
Green Hornets fielded two U11 teams at the state tournament. Their state championship team took the third-place trophy, having lost out on the final play of the game to both the Maryland Exiles and West Carol Marauders in the pool matches.
They took third place from the Marauders in the third/fourth playoff game. Led by perennial stalwarts Kieran Gibson, Elliott Wells, Anna Nelson and try machine Ellie Davis, the team also had spectacular tries from Waverly Alexander, Gavin Prager, Owen Tong-Holcomb, Liz Cox and Colton Maccallair. Placing third in the state in a highly competitive group was a great achievement.
“I'm very proud of how everyone played even though a couple of results didn't quite go our way,” said U11 coach Kevin Gibson. “It was a fun year, and rugby keeps going from strength to strength in Severna Park. I'm already excited for next year.”
The team took second place in the Classic tournament, having gone undefeated through the pool and semifinal stages. They lost the final by 20-12 against PAX Rugby, despite leading at halftime. The team of Lincoln Latchaw, Isabelle Lynn, Arjun Carye, Logan Nield, Noah Baehmer and Heath Gardner put on an amazing display of skill and speed to carry them to the final.
“We had a slow start in the first game, but once we tied that game, we didn't look back and worked really hard for each other all day,” said coach Kurt Prager. “I am really proud of what they achieved.”
Green Hornets U13 Social team took part in the Maryland State Classic tournament, losing a close bowl game to Arden Youth Rugby. Green Hornets qualified for the bowl game after a 5-2 try win over Freedom Rugby. The Social team drafted in a few U11 players to get a team into the competition. Will Gibson, Dorsey Berlin, Stuart Lancaster, Coleman “Hattrick” Eaton, Ellie Davis, Gavin Prager and Kieran Gibson were coached by Kurt Prager and Kevin Gibson.