For the first time in the program’s history, the Fresno State Men’s Rugby Club won the Western Pacific League’s Sacramento State Championship.
With the home advantage at Fresno State Kinesiology, the Bulldogs swept the Hornets, 36-0, in the first league game hosted by Fresno State since participating in the 2013 conference.
“Today’s game did not go our way in many ways, but they never gave up and kept it at zero, which says a lot,” said coach Patrick Kwan.
The athletes were awarded a trophy and medals for their victory and senior Joshua Jacobson was named the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Jacobson noted that at the beginning of the game, things did not go well for the Bulldogs, but they managed to complete a quick reversal and succeed.
“I felt we had to make a little effort. Just before the game, we had a mix of kids, but we made it. “You know that most of our kids can play in all the different positions, so it really helps when you learn every position you play, so you can just change kids and it doesn’t really affect our game,” he said.
After seven years with the rugby team, Quan won his first league title.
“It was great. We are seven years old, you know. We kind of started and we had a long way to go. But we are building, we are hoping at this point, and we are really excited,” Quan said.
He noted that going so far has always been the plan for the team, even through pandemic fights and training in unguarded field in the last six monthsthe rugby team was able to advance to the league game.
The strength and size of the bulldogs was in their favor this season, Quan stressed that even mentally, the team has gained strength through the obstacles it faces.
“We were just worried that, you know, something would change. Everything just seemed to change. But we are grateful that it happened this season. “And we are really proud of the players,” he said. “We have gone through a lot as a team. And it really made us stronger. I’m really proud of the players. “And, you know, they’re fundamentally changing the way we plan at Fresno State.”
The young Carlos Banuelos of Fresno State stressed how important it was to win the championship for the rugby club. With the club just nine years old, one of the youngest in the league, and winning the league after approaching before COVID-19 was amazing, Banuelos said.
“We have all worked hard for the last nine months. Everyone is hard committed and when they do any practice, they can go to class doing their job. Mill for this. “At last he succeeded,” he said.
Playing in his ninth year of rugby, Banuelos said how exciting it is to win a championship for Fresno State, since growing up in the Valley there was nothing similar to what he experienced in college.
“It’s amazing. We had things in high school in the valley, but there is no such thing. Being as dedicated as that,” he said.
He shared the struggle of moving to a new training ground and other things that could have led the team back, but they remained resilient in all of this and ended up winning the championship, especially with a home advantage.
“Perfect, wonderful that we were hosted without anyone who was not tired enough to stay in hotels. Everyone should stay at home. We are well rested. We did not have to play Friday. “It was great to have the home advantage,” said Banuelos.
Jacobson said how much he deserved for his team to win the championship trophy and take home the title of MVP of the match. He emphasized the hard work of the team this season and seeing the progress that some of the athletes have made in the four years he has been on the club’s team.
“I did not know what I was doing when I enrolled and started playing in college. But once I fell into the community, it was really moving. “And I think we deserved it,” he said.
After working tirelessly for many days a week and at unwanted hours, as most athletes came after work or school, Jacobson said the team deserved to win.
Jacobson said rugby club coaches are not paid to work with athletes, so their dedication to appearing after work to teach the team more about the sport meant a lot.
“So I want to thank them, my coaches are now coming to teach us and stay with us and even when we are not in the best position, and even though we behaved, they stayed with us,” he said. “Colleagues, it is my honor to have such great friends and brothers that I made in this team and I feel really blessed for that.”
The conference is a Division 1 AA conference competing for the U.S. National Rugby Team Competition in the 15th Century. Since the state of Fresno qualified alongside the State of Sacramento, it heads to Washington to compete in the West Coast Regional Competition to determine if they will go to the Nationals at the end of April.
“Everyone knows their job. Everyone will go up. We all know what we have to do. “It’s just a matter of doing it,” Banuelos said.
Kwan noted that the main thing the team needs to do is win a national championship, which is now three games away. The team leaves for Seattle in two weeks where it will play Sacramento State, UCSD and West Washington. The winner of these matches will advance to the national finals in Texas.
“This is a very, very good rugby team with some great athletes, and they just have to do what they have always done. “They could have won it all,” Quan said.
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