Connect with us

Rugby

FRIARS, COUGARS WRAP UP PERFECT RUGBY SEASONS

FD wins fifth straight; Academy leaves no doubt

By Paradis Jolie Fejerang

ISA’s 2024 male and female rugby championship games played out under a scorching sun raising illness and emotions from players and coaches alike from the four teams that set foot on the GW field. Fighting through the heat, Academy took home the gold with a big win over their Sanchez Sharks opponents with a final score of 31-5. Earning the first place title for the males, after an arduous game with two extremely hardworking teams, Father Duenas just beat out the George Washington Geckos with a difference of merely one conversion to make the final score 21-19.

Female Champions: Academy Cougars

The female athletes on the field seemed to take a bigger hit than the males when it came to physical strain as a result from the weather. Various subs were needed on both teams thanks to injuries and a clear state of exhaustion due to all manner of nerves, weather and overworking during pre-game warm-ups.

The Academy Cougars dominated the competition throughout the season, leaving no doubt in their championship season for 2024. (photo by Dj Foster)

Commenting on the visible anxiety on the field, Cougar junior Auriana Merfalen shares that despite nerves being normal for the athletes, it was especially impactful today. “We had to keep telling each other that we had each other’s back and just push through it.”

Despite the hits they took, the Sharks were able to squeeze in one try for the day but it was nowhere near enough to combat the Cougars’ dominating presence on the field, especially with their offensive runs lacking in making use of the whole field. With their opponents staying congested in one area, the Cougars had an easy time targeting the Sharks when needed to turn the ball to continue adding to their score. 

AOLG took a total of five tries, each from a different athlete who was able to find an open pocket from Sanchez’s sparse defensive lines. Adding to their numerous tries, senior captain Mia Saige Topasna succeeded in making three conversions to top off a fruitful final year with the team.

Representing her team, Topasna acknowledges making it through tough practices and approaching every game with a want to win and knowing that staying dedicated throughout the season is what led them to what they accomplished today.

“[Winning the championship] feels great. All our hard work paid off…It’s my last ride and it feels good to win. It ended on a good note.” Topasna goes on to share her hopes for the Cougars to continue the legacy.

Co-captain Merfalen is confident in what is to come. “I’m excited to take over Mia’s shoes,” she regards. “We’re going to be here for the championship next year. Thank you.”

Male Champions: Father Duenas Friars

Stepping onto the field right after the female athletes, the Geckos wasted no time proving that if the Friars wanted to take the gold, they would have to work harder than they had thus far. 

The FD Friars make it five straight titles, but not until a hard-fought matchup against the GW Geckos in the championship match. (photo by Dj Foster)

Where the girls seemed to be more heavily affected by the heat, the boys were heavily affected by emotion.

Mentality took on a big role for this championship game. There was never any doubt in either team’s athletic ability, so the simple mistakes from both sides seemed to lead back to who’s state of mind was afflicted. Athletes, coaches and spectators, whether in maroon or in purple, were locked in on what became an incredibly intense game. 

Geckos made the first try of the day, immediately rocking the Friars into a frenzy to even the score, which the Friars returned for the score to be 7-7 as both teams completed their conversions.

Highlighting the importance of every little point, during the second back-and-forth of tries between the two teams, only the Friars took the extra two points that a conversion kick grants and ending the first half at 14-12 for FD.

Getting into the second half only got the crowds, coaches and players more heated. With the Geckos demanding they be the ones to take the half, another try and conversion brought them forward along with a boost of confidence with the gold just in reach with a five point lead over the Friars.

Unluckily for the Geckos, the missed conversion came back to haunt them in the final seconds of the game. As FD pushed themselves to their limit, senior Alex Sojo brought his team to the championship to accomplish one final try to make the score an even 19-9. Sojo, who had also been the one to make each previous conversion, completed the final kick to bump the Friars up just two points over the Geckos before the game-ending whistle blew. 

From the start of the game, Sojo recognized the emotions getting to his teammates and shares how this disposition, though initially seeming negative, helped him and his teammates through the game, even if they were unaware of how they were being affected. “[Stepping onto the field] as a team, it gives you all the confidence in the world. Looking left and right and seeing your brothers by your side, nothing could bring us down. From that moment on, it was only up.”

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

Ad

GPS Sports Calendar

March

April 2024

May
SU
MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
31
1
2
3
4
5
6
Events for March

1st

Events for April

2nd

Events for April

3rd

Events for April

4th

Events for April

5th

Events for April

6th

7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Events for April

6th

No Events
Events for April

8th

Events for April

9th

Events for April

10th

Events for April

11th

Events for April

12th

Events for April

13th

14
15
16
17
18
19
20
Events for April

14th

Events for April

15th

Events for April

16th

Events for April

17th

Events for April

18th

Events for April

19th

Events for April

20th

21
22
23
24
25
26
27
Events for April

20th

No Events
Events for April

22nd

Events for April

23rd

Events for April

24th

Events for April

25th

Events for April

26th

Events for April

27th

28
29
30
1
2
3
4
Events for April

27th

No Events
Events for April

29th

Events for April

30th

COMING SOON …

QUICK HITS

The PVA Fairies went unbeaten and took the U14 4×4 Beach Volleyball Tournament. The Fairies beat the SIFA Manta Rays 21-10 in the championship match.
L-R: Summer Pinaula, Alina Torres, Ava Quinata, Bella Pangelinan, Lexi Delfin
—————————————–
Mia-Lahnee & Rckaela Aquino qualify to represent Team Guam in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. This is Team Guam’s first siblings to qualify on merit and Rckaela’s second Olympic Games, according to the Guam National Olympic Committee.

More in Rugby