Golder Complete Undefeated Season with Win Over Muchin for Championship


Speer Field, Chicago, IL - Golder Rugby separated themselves from the rest of the NAC this season in Boys Rugby. Muchin presented the stiffest test during the regular season double round robin schedule with a 19-14 result on April 6th.  These top two seeds met again for the championship at Speer Academy.

Muchin opened the scoring with a penalty by Sr. Jon Santoyo halfway through the first half.  Golder answered with three consecutive tries by So. Alex Reyes, Sr. Daniel Rodriguez and Sr. Kyle Walczak.  Sr. Salvador Velarde converted one of the three and Golder took a 17-3 lead into halftime.

Muchin tightened up the defense in the second half and narrowed Golder’s lead to 17-8 with Sr. Lonnie Buchanon’s try with 8 minutes remaining in the match.  Muchin pressed until the final whistle to trim the lead even further, but Golder’s defense held and they captured their first NAC Boys Rugby championship.

Golder’s coach John Luhrsen credited their senior leadership, “We had great contributions from our first ever four-year varsity players (Dimitri DeAngelo, Roberto Castaneda, and Ricky Diaz) as well as seniors who came out for the first time this year.  Some had never played a sport at Golder, and some were 2-3 sport all-stars, but they all set a great example for the younger guys by working hard and showing consistent commitment.”

This was Golder’s third match in the last six days having played Springfield to close out the Rugby Illinois regular season schedule the Saturday prior and the Chicago Blaze in the Division III Rugby Illinois 3rd place match.  Luhrsen added in regards to the state level preparation, “This allowed more guys to get more minutes on the field.  Between the Rugby Illinois schedule, playoffs, and B-side friendlies, we were able to play 15 games in addition to the 7 NAC games.  Every one of the 40+ kids in the program got meaningful playing time against quality opponents.”

Golder seem to have positioned themselves alongside past champions, Pritzker and Rowe-Clark, to compete year in, year out for the NAC top spot.  When asked how they’ve progressed to this point, Luhrsen said it was simply a passion for the sport.  “We have guys that love rugby and sought out playing opportunities wherever they could.  Several of our players joined men's clubs over the summer and brought that experience back to the team.  Others went to practices and clinics with local youth clubs.  We even had guys that organized scrimmages and practices on our days off.”

So how will Golder stack up next year in defense of their title, “We will have 18 kids coming back next year that earned playing time on the varsity.  Corey Goins, Alex Reyes, Adrian Ramierez, Miguel Salgado, and Apolonio Retana will lead a strong group of players into the 2017 season.”