Rugby team plans for trip

Monica Frost and Monica Frost

The men’s rugby team will spend the next four weeks acting as landscapers and professional cleaners in hopes to raise funds for their upcoming trip to California, where the team will compete at nationals.

The top 45 players of the team’s 110 members will be traveling to Stanford University to compete in the “Sweet 16,” where the top 16 rugby teams compete and eventually get cut down to the “final four.”

Like many club sports, however, the rugby team is provided with limited funding from the University. All other expenses are covered by club dues, donations and fundraisers.

Men’s rugby coach Roger Mazzarella estimated the trip will cost approximately $12,000.

He described one encounter with luck that saved the team some money: “I made the flight reservation, and the next day the flight went up $75,” Mazzarella said.

Mazzarella also explained how the harsh winter has affected outdoor cleaning-related fundraising activities.

“We normally do this in the fall, but winter descended immediately,” Mazarella said. “We were kind of ‘frozen-out’ of doing anything in the fall.”

President of the rugby team, senior Chad Cunnigan, admits weather has been a problem but is enthusiastic about the team’s efforts in the upcoming weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of response from faculty members and a lot of interest from the community,” Cunnigan said. “We’re just waiting for things to clear up so we can do things.”

Bobby Brandenstein, a junior and co-social chair of the club, estimates that 30 to 40 percent of the club has some experience in landscaping. “So it will be done well and quickly,” Brandenstein said of the team’s work.

The team is willing to do any indoor or outdoor work as well as any odd jobs in exchange for donations, Cunnigan said. “Anything we can do to raise money for the club we will do.”

In addition to fundraising, the team is also sponsored by and works closely with local businesses. Mister Spot’s, DiBenedetto’s and McDonald’s are just a few examples of local businesses that provide the team with discounts and donations in exchange for the team’s patronage.

The team also hopes to continue fundraising during the Falcon Cup, which hosts college and high school rugby teams at the University April 5 and 6. Amidst competing, players will be selling snacks, team paraphernalia and raffle tickets for various prizes.

The team is persistent about their fundraising efforts because if they win their first two games in California they will be returning two weeks later, increasing the team’s budget.

“We have a real good team this year. We’ve played some real good teams this year,” Brandenstein said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t win those first two games.”

Thought the team is capable, the first step in winning the competition is getting there.

“We have the players to do it, we just need to come up with the money,” Brandenstein said.

To contact the men’s rugby team for any indoor/outdoor work, call or e-mail Bobby Brandenstein at (419) 354-0307 or [email protected]