Connect with us

Feature

RUGBY: BEGINNING A KNIGHTS TALE

In the ten years of high school rugby’s existence, the St.John’s Knights have refrained from entering a team in both the varsity and junior varsity division, until now.

By Jose Terlaje

In the ten years of high school rugby’s existence, the St.John’s Knights have refrained from entering a team in both the varsity and junior varsity division, until now.

This season, the St.John’s Knights entered a Junior Varsity team into the league and it’s only fitting that their two head coaches, Jacob Flores and Vern Lukeijak, were part of the championship-winning Simon Sanchez Sharks’ class of 2005 when rugby first become a high school sport.

The team was started by a student very interested in playing rugby named, Rocco Flores. Rocco got a petition together with signatures of students interested in playing. When the petition got enough signatures, it was presented to the school board and was eventually approved. The school was then tasked with finding a coach.

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Coache Flores and Lukeijak heard about the coaching opportunity from other local rugby players that were approached about coaching the team but didn’t have the time. The two friends then decided to give it a shot.

“We really wanted to spread the sport and share the knowledge about what we’ve learned and gained in our ten years of playing. We love playing rugby and really wanted the boys to learn about the sport enjoy it, and then hopefully they will love the sport as much as Vern and I do,” said Coach Flores when asked about his goals when he was given the job as coach for St.John’s.

Although it is expected for most teams new to a sport to have a hard time coming together and being victorious, that is not the case for St.John’s. The Knights are currently 4-2, having only lost to Okkodo and GW. The team consists mostly of underclassmen and their progress is remarkable for a team of boys that just started playing the sport.

“As coaches we weren’t too sure what to expect. It was pretty challenging in the beginning, trying to prepare a group to be able to compete in a sport they’ve never played before. We ended up finding out that we had a bunch of good and smart kids that loved learning to play and it all just came together. Of course the boys were really nervous at first. We did lose to GW in our first game but it helped the boys get those jitters out and since then we’ve been doing really well,” responded Flores when asked about his first experiences coaching the team and witnessing them play for the first time.

The Knights huddle in after the game to celebrate the win. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

The Knights huddle in after the game to celebrate the win. (photo by Richard Camacho IV)

The success of the team so far has really sparked interest in the sport throughout the school, encouraging more students to come out and play in the seasons to come. Flores added that it may take some time but his team does intend on putting together a varsity team as well, hopefully as soon as next year.island fit logo

Flores also stated that he is very proud of his team. “We were just looking to make sure these guys had fun playing. We didn’t expect so much when it came down to winning or losing games but the boys are doing a lot more than what we have asked for and it makes me happy to be able to successfully teach something I love to people who didn’t know a thing about it and get positive results.”

As the season progresses, the Knights are working toward winning the remainder of their games and hopefully finishing as the top Junior Varsity team. As sports fans at GSPN, we are happy about the Knights’ decision to enter a Junior Varsity team into the league, expanding the variety of competition in the league. Hopefully their team will put forward a Varsity team very soon but until then you can catch them in action this Wednesday, February 18 at Guam High School’s football field. First games start at 4 pm.

Knights Rugby Roster

Thomas Untalan- Center
Thor Jensen- Prop
Sean Juego- Prop
Alu Concepcion- Prop
Noah Sablan- Prop
Jp Errett III- Wing 
Alex Errett- Fly half
Xavier Kirksey- Wing
Edward Santos- Hooker
Jin Shin- Hooker
Peter Park- Center/Wing
Nick Rhee- Prop
Rocco Flores- Scrumhalf

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

0001-57800448

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

(photo by Richard Camacho IV)

Ad

GPS Sports Calendar

January

February 2024

March
SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
28
29
30
31
1
2
3
Events for January

1st

Events for February

2nd

Events for February

3rd

4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Events for February

3rd

No Events
Events for February

5th

Events for February

6th

Events for February

7th

Events for February

8th

Events for February

9th

Events for February

10th

11
12
13
14
15
16
17
Events for February

10th

No Events
Events for February

12th

Events for February

13th

Events for February

14th

Events for February

15th

Events for February

16th

Events for February

17th

18
19
20
21
22
23
24
Events for February

18th

Events for February

19th

Events for February

20th

Events for February

21st

Events for February

22nd

Events for February

23rd

Events for February

24th

25
26
27
28
29
1
2
Events for February

25th

Events for February

26th

Events for February

27th

Events for February

28th

Events for February

29th

COMING SOON …

  • 3rd Quarter Sports: Rugby, Boys Basketball, Softball, Tennis in full swing!

 

 

QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
—————————————————
Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

More in Feature