Since rugby at Saint Ignatius High School became an official school sport in 2013, the program has grown to include more than 120 student-athletes each year. In the past four years, the teams have traveled to Ireland, Texas and France and racked up three state championships. You have the chance to come and learn from our coaches and players September 15 and 22 and October 6 and 13. The first clinic will be held at Saint Ignatius High School on September 15 from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Registration will be available at the door.
How has the rugby program grown here at Saint Ignatius High School?
Learn more about the rugby program from Latin teacher and Head Coach Dan Arbeznik '00 in this Q&A:
How early can students get involved with the sport?
- We began building the program in the Spring of 2005. I think we had about 25 kids on that first team. It's customary to give teams two games so we would often have some kids playing back-to-back in order to fulfill our obligation and get all of our kids playing time. Since then, we've grown to regularly field rosters of about 120+ each year. We regularly put out five different sides to compete within the local Northeast Ohio rugby league.
In what ways do students grow by learning the fundamentals or team building from rugby?
- The Rookie Rugby program, which began in 2011 had similar beginnings. Originally there were only 20 kids from St. Mark and OLA who met regularly to learn the game. Since then, the program has blossomed into a league of over 360 players from grade schools and middle schools across northeast Ohio. We field both boys and girls tackle divisions for grades 6-8, co-ed flag divisions for students grades 4-6 and even a division for your players grades K-4.
Why is it important to you to travel with our teams?
- Like all team sports, rugby teaches core skills of teamwork, hard work, and perseverance. However, I think rugby is unique in the American sporting landscape in its emphasis on respect. Players, coaches, and fans are taught to respect officials and their opposition. Yelling at a referee is not permitted. Players learn that ultimately they may not agree with calls, but they have to move on and adapt to their new set of circumstances.
What will students learn at these clinics?
- I think travel benefits our students on so many levels. From a competitive standpoint, it allows our student-athletes to see different styles of play and bond with their teammates. More importantly, it ties directly to our grad-at-grad. We want our students to be intellectually competent, open to growth, and committed to doing justice. Collecting for missions is one thing but exposing our students to the poverty of Syrian refugees on the streets of Paris is another. Learning about history in the classroom is one thing. Visiting Versailles, the Louvre, and Normandy Beaches is another. We want our kids to live these lessons, not just learn them. How better can we challenge students to be ppen to growth than to put them in unfamiliar and uncomfortable circumstances?
What's the landscape of rugby here in Ohio and how has that changed in recent years?
- Attendees of these clinics will be working with some of the players and coaches at Saint Ignatius High School. Parents might want their kids to be exposed to something new or work on the skills of a sport they love. Some parents might just want to take advantage of an hour and a half without their kids to enjoy the restaurants of Ohio City!
- Ohio is one of the leaders on the American rugby landscape. Our rookie rugby programs are the model that all other states use as they grow rugby in their regions. At the high school level, Saint Ignatius is one of the premier programs in the country with our players regularly filling the rosters of schools from Stanford to Ohio State to Yale. We were recently ranked as the #1 program in the country in 2017 and will look to solidify that ranking at the 2018 High School National Championships in Kansas City, MO.