In the midst of a rough season, the CSU club rugby team has found a bright spot in the accomplishments of one of its youngest members.
Spencer Sarver, a freshman, just returned from Europe where he played with the US Eagle’s Under 19 National rugby team. There, the 18-year-old played nothing but Rugby for the nine days he spent in England.
Sarver had been working for the honor since he was in high school.
“It felt really good to do this,” he said. “I started playing rugby my sophomore year and since then, it has been a dream of mine to make the international team.”
While in England, the US squad participated in three matches throughout the country. Sarver was just happy to play in such a rugby crazy environment.
“It was awesome going to England and playing at their level because they are the top rugby nation in the world,” the 5-foot-7, 200-pounder said. “It is a whole new level of play.”
Blake Stevens, head coach of CSU rugby, explained just how big of an honor Sarver had received.
“It provides him with notoriety,” Stevens said. “It is an honor for CSU and the rugby team to have an athlete that is representing his nation. That is the highest honor you can have in a sport.”
Sarver and the US team enjoyed success during their tour, winning two out of the three games they played. With the victory, they became the only US team ever to beat an English team on British soil.
A week removed from playing with the national squad, Sarver is back with the CSU rugby team, which is in the middle of what they are calling a rebuilding year. The loss of players to injury and graduation has hurt the team this season. Stevens said that a mix of a tough schedule and bad luck has really cost the Rams.
“We played all the top teams in the nation and lost closely,” he said. “You can take a little something out of that, but our record is not to good. It’s not like we are way far away, a break here or there and we’ll be where we want to.”
Andrew Anena, a senior, said that the only thing the team can do now is get through the season and work on improving for next year.
“Rebuilding is just something that has to happen every now and again,” the construction management major said. “All you can do is come out the next year and try and win some more games.”
Stevens can see a bright future ahead of his team, especially with freshmen like Sarver strengthening the heart of the team.
“We have got a good core, but we had a lot of injuries this year,” he said. “Next year we should be strong so our goal will be to win the league championship.”
Six of CSU’s 15 current starters are freshmen. Once they get more experience, Sarver sees limitless possibilities of what the Rams can accomplish.
“That is going to be a pretty big deal in the future,” he said. “The freshmen that are starting right now have all been playing for at least three years. It will be huge in the future having that many players getting time their freshmen year. We can start making sweet sixteen’s and just taking it.”
Sports reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org