High school rugby? There’s an app league for that.
As noted in this Chicago Sun-Times feature on the Fenwick Rugby Club, that school and four other Catholic school programs have joined forces to found the Chicago Catholic Rugby Conference. The league is among the only prep rugby associations in the country, though the sport’s rapid expansion may see it become a forebear of other urban and state-organized prep rugby conferences in the years to come.
None of the five teams in the conference – Fenwick, St. Ignatius, St. Rita, Mount Carmel and Brother Rice – have cracked the Rugby Mag Top 25 prep rugby rankings, but that isn’t necessarily an indication that they won’t be there soon. With five schools hosting rugby clubs in a dense urban area, it may be only a matter of time before others join the ranks and add depth to an area with the population of schools and students to make a major splash in the rugby world.
That’s the good news. The better news is that the sport clearly resonates with prep athletes everywhere, Chicago in particular. With rugby sevens debuting as an Olympic sport in 2016, there is further impetus on growth coming, which is precisely what everyone associated with the Fenwick program wants most keenly.
“You didn’t even need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Fenwick rugby club co-founder Bill Mahon, whose son Sean starred on the initial squad, told the Sun-Times. “It still doesn’t matter. We’ll take anyone who wants to play.
“I just want to see the sport continue to grow.”