Bobcat rugby, focused and engaged

In the spring of 2011, MSU Senior Brandon Marsh had an idea to start an organization on campus to promote student engagement in a competitive manner. Thus, the MSU Rugby Club was established. Marsh, club president, asked Ed McKenna, a member of the Bozeman men’s rugby team and MSU English professor, to be the club advisor in Fall 2011 and later that year the team was formed.

“This is a great opportunity for students to become active members of MSU and play competitive rugby,” McKenna said. McKenna works with two other coaches, Joe Williams and Nate Hamrick to help the team be the best they can be.

While there are currently 35 members of the club, this number continues to grow every year. The team constantly works to improve both on and off the field and recently earned the right to bear the Bobcat name but not the logo. They finished last season 3-3 with wins over Gonzaga University and Utah State. “Last season was a learning experience,” Marsh said. “We grew as a club and built a stronger foundation.”

In addition to becoming the Bobcats, the team joined the Utah Collegiate Rugby Conference this year. “This is our first year in the conference and we want to represent MSU well,” Marsh said.

The team will be competing against 12 schools in the conference, including BYU, Idaho State, Utah State, Weber State, Southern Utah University and University of Nevada – Las Vegas.

[pullquote align=”right”]We are always trying to represent MSU in a positive way. We set an example for other clubs and organizations by promoting student engagement. — Brandon Marsh, Bobcat Rugby President[/pullquote]

In addition, the team will also send 12 members to BYU on Sept. 28 to play in the qualifiers for the National Rugby 7’s Championship in the spring. “Our goal is to win our conference and compete for a national championship, while actively serving in the MSU and Bozeman communities,” McKenna said.

While the team works to continue their improvement on the field as they join this new collegiate conference, they are also working hard to improve the MSU campus and Bozeman community. “We are always trying to represent MSU in a positive way,” Marsh said. “We hope to set an example for other clubs and organizations by promoting student engagement.” The team can be seen helping out on campus by doing things such as cleaning the Bobcat stadium after football games.

Bobcat rugby was also involved in the community last year volunteering at events such as the Sweet Pea Festival and Bozemonster Challenge, as well as serving meals at the Community Cafe. The members of the team are also devoted to maintaining a high level of scholarship achieving a team GPA of 3.4 last semester.

The team practices every Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Kagy fields and encourages interested individuals to contact Marsh at 406-531-1816 or look at the Bobcat rugby Facebook page.

Bobcat rugby will host their first home game of the season against Idaho State this Saturday, Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. at the Roskie Lambert fields.

Editor’s Note: Brandon Marsh is the Marketing Director for the MSU Exponent.