NMU rugby hosts tourney

Lucy Hough

This past weekend, NMU rugby players were given a chance to return to the game after having finished their season last semester.

On Saturday, March 13, Northern hosted a sevens tournament in the Dome with six teams: three from Marquette, two from Green Bay and the last from Traverse City, Mich.

“We had a great time; it was a very good first attempt by the organizers,” said Jim Kehrer, coach of the Traverse Bay Blue, the team that won the tournament.

NMU’s Ian Ronayne tries to bring down a player from the UW-Parkside rugby club team. Teammates Jimmy Kibby (black shorts) and Tom Breilein (striped socks) trail the play. // Ashley Wiggins / NW

Will Thompson, a junior Northern rugby player who was involved in the planning of the event, said that this tournament was a little different for some of the Moosemen, Northern’s official club team, because it was a sevens tournament – where only seven players are on the field – and in general the team is used to playing with 15 people. These games are often faster-paced. He said that some Northern players didn’t understand the rules at first, but overall, everyone had fun, which was the goal of the tournament was to have fun.

“It was more geared toward having a good time, more of a social tournament,” Thompson said.

In the championship game, Traverse City played one of the Marquette teams in a close game, ultimately coming out on top 7-5.

“We were pleasantly surprised that Northern was extremely tough; the last game came right down till the end,” Kehrer said.

The Traverse City team was composed mainly of older players, which Kehrer said worked to their advantage, as the other teams, often tend to come at the game strongly at first and eventually become exhausted.

“With college teams, they tend to be a little bit more intense because they’re very young, but not as skilled,” Kehrer said, saying this is what allowed them to go through the tournament undefeated.

After the tournament, the Marquette teams hosted a social at Marquette Commons where all of the teams could get together to relax and enjoy a U.P. tradition: pasties.

Overall, Thompson said he’s impressed with how the tournament turned out, and he hopes to do the tournament again next year.

“Everybody who came up had a good time,” Thompson said. “So we expect to hopefully do it again next year. They all said they’d come up again.”