The athletic success at Sam Houston State University is unparalleled. The football team has reached the FCS semi-finals four out of the last five years, the baseball team has had success reaching the national tournament and the bowling team captured a National Championship in 2014.
But what many people don’t know is that SHSU actually has a handful of club sports teams. Just like scholarship teams, their clubs compete with the Bearkat name printed across the jersey. They play to win, and to represent the university in good fashion.
The SHSU rugby team is one of those teams.
“What I like about the team is the brotherhood you build over the course of playing the sport,” captain and President Sal Arismendez said. “The men who play on this team will tell you that they’d do anything for someone who shares the field with them.”
The team practices on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at lower Pritchett Field. No experience is required to join.
“To join the rugby team and be a member of our family it doesn’t cost anything. You just have to show up ready to learn a new exciting sport,” senior Jacob Barrera said. “On the other hand, to play and participate in league matches it is a $75 to the team per semester and a $115 charge through USA Rugby. The $75 helps our team.”
With the new season about to be underway, the rugby team is looking to build off last year’s success to reach greater heights.
“Last season was a good one. We’ve been rebuilding ourselves, and last season we ended a game away from Nationals in 7’s and we are looking to bring it full circle this year,” sophomore Donald Dorsey said. “Work rate is our daily agenda; just work hard and get better. We go out every Tuesday and Thursday with our hard hats on ready to work.”
Last season’s success caught the eyes of many Bearkats around campus. Arismendez is thankful for the support that both the students, as well as the university, has for the team.
“The club has received nothing but unconditional support from the school,” Arismendez said. “Senior Assistant Director of Intramural and Club Sports Brian Weaver, and club advisor Teresa Bird have helped us through very stressful situations, but never once have they given up on us.”
The Bearkat rugby team, who plays in the Lone Star Conference, will begin conference play on Oct. 8 against Texas A&M-San Antonio, but people will have a chance to catch a sneak peek of the team when they take on Stephen F. Austin on Oct. 1 at 11 a.m. in the Woodlands.