Men’s rugby team advances to final four

    April 07, 2011

    UPDATED APRIL 18 - The UW-Whitewater men's rugby team advances to the final four after dominating play in California over the weekend. The Warhawks defeated Cal State Fullerton 46-7 and Cal Maritime 36-19 during the USA Rugby college playoffs in San Diego.

    Next, the team travels to Pittsburgh April 30 to take on Sierra College for a chance to play in the national championship game.

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    The No. 1-ranked UW-Whitewater men's rugby team heads to California this month to compete in the USA Rugby college playoffs.

    The undefeated Warhawks take on Cal State Fullerton at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the University of California, San Diego. The winner will compete in another match April 17 with a chance to go the final four in Pittsburgh on April 30.

    "It's exciting and rewarding," said captain Will Atkinson, a junior. "We put in the work, maintained a No. 1-ranking through season. We're hoping to continue that momentum."

    UW-Whitewater enters the tournament as the back-to-back Midwest Regional champion, and will send 27 players and three coaches to San Diego for the sweet sixteen.

    "Commitment defines this team," said Atkinson. "Over the winter, we practiced inside the Williams Center, working on condition and ball handling. We finally got a chance to practice outside the last couple weeks. We'll represent UW-Whitewater well in San Diego. We want to make it to the final four."

    Atkinson said the rugby squad is a team on and off the field, with a supportive contingent of fans, friends and family members who helped them raise nearly $15,000 to fund their tournament trip.

    The rugby team, founded in 1989, is a club sport at UW-Whitewater and participates nationally as a Division II collegiate team. Conference play occurs in the fall, and the national tournament is in the spring.

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