For the love of the game

Men’s rugby club team established on campus

By Nick Misiak
Sports Editor

Photo by Nathan Gartner.

Photo by Nathan Gartner.

It is a combination of strength, speed and strategy; involves minimal to no protective gear; resembles the game of football, but is an entirely full contact, free flowing game of physicality. This is rugby.

For the first time in the history of the college, there is a rugby club team competing in the Michigan Rugby League against various other club rugby teams from around the state of Michigan.

The Schoolcraft College Rugby team was established in October 2013 by business major Emiljan Vukaj and three friends. Vukaj, who began playing rugby during his sophomore year at Northville High School, felt there was enough interest in the sport in the campus community that he decided to try and establish a club through Student Activities for students like himself to participate in. The team is the first rugby team to be associated with a community college in the state of Michigan.

“Rugby is a little different, simply because you can have people that are not aggressive, but still like to play, and then you have the different spectrum where you have the aggressive people that love hitting someone,” said Vukaj, who also acts at the team captain. “The people I would look for to get involved would be the ones who are dedicated to being physical and are committed to working hard at practice. That is what appeals to me.”

Photo by Nathan Gartner.

Photo by Nathan Gartner.

Rugby is a full contact sport that is similar to football, and although it is not very popular in the United States, it is played throughout Europe, New Zealand and Australia. The popularity of the sport has risen in the Americas over the last few years, and ex-high school football players that were not able to continue their playing careers through college have begun to join rugby teams to keep their athletic careers going.

“It’s for guys like me and other guys around the school that couldn’t go away and play college ball,” said team member Brandon Lemoncelli. “It gives you an outlet to maybe get some frustrations out and have a good time playing some sports.”

Practices for the rugby team are held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on the athletic field behind the Applied Science building. Anyone who has signed up for the club or just looking to get in shape is welcome to come.

There have been students in the past that have lost twenty pounds by practicing with the team according to Vukaj, and their practices include distance running to improve stamina and rugby drills that are focused on improving skills necessary for the games.

In cases of inclement weather, workouts are held in the Fitness Center and are focused on building muscle.

Students interested in joining the team or getting a workout should go to the Student Activities Office, located in the Lower Waterman of the VisTaTech Center, or call 734- 462-4422.