The SHSU rugby team won the state championship playoffs March 1-2 against both the University of Dallas and Angelo State University in San Angelo.
Winning state guaranteed the rugby team a spot at the “westerns” state competition April 5 in Plano.
“We went undefeated in Texas, (and) we’re 9-0 right now,” said James Browder, rugby team president.
Rugby coach Wesley Boyd said the team’s performance assured a spot in the state competition.
“Our performance in the spring and fall determined if we were invited to the state competition,” Boyd said. “(Winning) assured us a spot at westerns.”
On March 1, the rugby team played the University of Dallas, winning 29-8.
Casey Dillon, team captain, scored one try and two conversions for nine points. Browder got one try as well.
Other key players in the winning rugby match were Stephen Hewer and Chris Najar, scoring two tries and one, respectively.
On March 2, the rugby team won against Angelo State 20-17. Before halftime SHSU was up 17 points, but Angelo State came back to tie the game. Dillon scored the winning points, bringing the final score to 20-17.
“Our captain, Casey Dillon, put away a 20 yard penalty kick, and we won a few minutes later,” Browder said.
Jake Key, Bill Floyd and Andy Bass all got tries during the Angelo State game.
The top two teams in the state advance to regionals. SHSU is a division two team in the western region.
Last year the SHSU rugby team won westerns and placed third in nationals.
“We’ve got some big shoes to fill,” Boyd said. “We’re looking forward to bigger and better things.”
“This is just one step in the process of being the best in the nation,” Dillon said.
Four games earlier in the season helped bring the rugby to the state championships.
On Jan. 25, SHSU played the University of North Texas and won 62-0. Dillon scored two tries and seven conversions, and Kirby Dorman scored three tries. David Tyler got two tries totaling 10 points. Both Key and Cody Bane got one try.
Texas Tech lost to SHSU 38-3 on Feb. 1. Browder, Chris Ranly, and Dorman all scored one try. Bass scored two tries, and Dillon scored one try and four conversions.
The following day, SHSU won over the University of Dallas. Steve Ortiz, Bane and Floyd all scored one try, Bass scored three tries and Dillon got five conversions during the game. The ending score was 40-7.
The Feb. 15 game against SFA ended in SHSU’s favor, 40-10. Dillon scored three tries, one drop goal and four conversions, and Najar got one try.
Individual current totals are high for SHSU. Dillon has the highest points with 99, with Bass behind him with 30. Dorman has 20 points, and Bane, Browder, Floyd, Hewer, Key, Najar, and Tyler are all at 10 points. S. Ortiz and Ranly both have five points.