In their second tournament of the summer, the University of Michigan Rugby Football Club took second place at the Meijer State Games. In addition to battling the heat, Michigan took on some tough competition in Gun-Ru, Grand Valley State University, Flint, and Lake Shore. Michigan Rugby took second place last summer after giving up the game-winning try to Gun-Ru in the final seconds of the championship match. This year, an all too familiar series of events occurred for the improving Wolverines.
Meijer State Games Roster:
Sequoyah Burke Combs
Cole Van Harn
Game 1: Michigan-5 vs. Gun-Ru-22
In their first match of the day, Michigan came out flat against a fast and experienced Gun-Ru side. Offensively, Michigan couldn’t seem to capitalize on any of their breaks through the defense. Gun-Ru would score four unanswered tries as Michigan failed to contain their quick wing. In the final seconds of the match, Michigan’s Grady Bridges shifted his way through some defenders for the only score.
Game 2: Michigan-38 vs. Flint-0
Following their defeat against Gun-Ru, Michigan corrected their weaknesses and found much success on both sides of the ball during their second match. Great tackling and defensive efforts by Jesse Fenno, Jared Bosma, and Cole Van Harn led to several turnovers. Van Harn also got the scoring started for Michigan after stiff arming his way through the defense. Not a minute later, Christian Mentzer added the first of his two tries after crashing hard through the line. Captain Aiken Andutan scored in the second half off a pass from Bridges. Zach Burns had a nice pick at the end of the game to top off a great defensive effort.
Game 3: Michigan-45 vs. Lake Shore-5
Michigan’s offensive success continued in the third game. Sequoyah Burke-Combs would score on the team’s first possession after burning the defense on the wing. Cole Van Harn and Christian Mentzer each scored a try after pouncing on dropped balls by Lake Shore. In the second half, Zack Burns picked off another pass while on defense for his second try of the day. In the final minutes of the game, Bridges and Fenno each added a try for Michigan.
Championship match: Michigan-15 vs. Gun-Ru-19
In a repeat of last year’s championship, Michigan found themselves the second seed to Gun-Ru. Gun-Ru scored immediately after Michigan got outnumbered on the wing. Michigan held their composure well and contained Gun-Ru for the rest of the half. The UMRFC did a good job of keeping possession of the ball and advancing downfield until Bridges capped off a long series. Michigan would take the lead at the end of the first half after Burke Combs muscled his way through defenders on the sidelines. At the start of the second half, Michigan seemed to have unstoppable momentum as Burke Combs found space on the sides lines to make it 15-7. With only two minutes left, the fatigued defense collapsed and allowed Gun-Ru to take the lead just as time expired.