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The Aquilian

Eyes on the repeat: varsity purple rugby sets itself for another successful season

The+varsity+rugby+spent+time+in+France+last+spring+break%2C+and+have+now+gotten+better+from+then.+Photo+taken+by+Gonzaga+College+High+School.+Used+with+Creative+Commons+License.
The varsity rugby spent time in France last spring break, and have now gotten better from then. Photo taken by Gonzaga College High School. Used with Creative Commons License.

If you go back about nine months, the varsity purple rugby team was on top of the world. After dominating the Nationals’ tournament, the team had won its fifth national championship and is now ranked as the best team in the country according to Goff Rugby Report. Now, the team has its eyes set on one thing this year: back-to-back championships. And with as much experience as this team has, it would not be a shock. 

Captains Andrew LaFrankie ‘24 and Kieran Downs ‘24 are both three year members of the varsity purple team and are considered some of the best at their positions in the country.

“Winning the National Championship is achieving a goal that you and your teammates work for all pre-season and season long,” LaFrankie said. “It is gratifying to know that all of your hard work pays off in the end.”

Downs shared the same belief. 

“Winning the championship was a massive relief, especially after losing the year before,” he said.

After such a great season last year, Varsity Coach Peter Baggetta wants to try and top that. 

“It takes talent and hard work to win a championship,” Coach Baggetta said, “but in order to repeat, it takes talent, hard work and most importantly character. Being able to stay hungry and humble is what is going to drive this team forward.”

Not only does Coach Baggetta believe this to be true, but a number of players on the team see it as the same.

“We’re going to have to push ourselves this year,” Downs said. “Since we won the championship, we put a target on our backs, and now everyone wants a shot at us.”

It’s not only the seniors that are important to this team, but the juniors and sophomores are going to play a big role.

“It’s a privilege for this team,” said LaFrankie, “to have, not only the top end talent that we have, but also knowing that the final guys in our rotation can compete with anyone is a relief for us starters because it gives us less pressure.”

Alec Wood ‘25 has a similar sentiment to LaFrankie.

“Last year’s team was the best team that I had ever been on,” Wood said. “But there is something about this team that seems special. The atmosphere, culture, and respect that the players have for and with each other.”

The feeling of leadership and culture is not only felt by Wood. Many other players and coaches see and feel that same thing.

“I think that we don’t just play rugby,” Coach Baggetta said. “We also like to think of ourselves as a leadership academy, and that is very present with this team.”

The team this year faces one of its hardest schedules in recent memory with playing some of the nation’s top end teams off Buchanan Field, but with the way the team is this year, many think they are more than up to the challenge.

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