UW-Parkside rugby club unbeaten, at home Saturday
By Kelsey Hoff
Kenosha has a unique sports community, which includes two rugby teams: the Vultures at the high school level, and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Rangers. The two teams support each other and share a practice field at Kennedy Park in the spring. Many of the 30 college-level players started out on the Vultures, which has given UW-Parkside an advantage in player development. The club team (self-funded, unlike varsity sports) was started in 1997 by Dr. John Murphy and is still going strong as the oldest continuous sports club at UW-Parkside.
The team is currently 3-0 with victories over Elmhurst, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and most recently Northwestern University. The Ranger ruggers play Ripon College at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kennedy Park. The spring season is halfway over, with only three games left, but the team is well on its way to beating the record of 6-2 it set last year. The Rangers will start playing again in September.
Coach Todd Streeter previews the Ripon game: "We have a great rivalry with them and play them every spring. We had never lost to them prior to 2011, but last year they played hard and beat us in a close match in Ripon. Our guys are looking for revenge and will be practicing hard all week to bring home a win this weekend."
Rugby is becoming more and more popular, and the Rangers have become a regular fixture in the local news. A recent Kenosha News article highlighted Kenosha native Joey Giorno (back) and South African native Wikus Loots (forward) as star seniors as well as Austin Brunet, a three-time member of the Wisconsin Select Side, which features the top collegiate players in the state.Once again, Saturday's game against Ripon College is at 1 p.m. at Kennedy Park. The team's remaining spring games are April 28 at the Milwaukee Cup and the alumni match on May 5. GO RANGERS!