The Oswego men's rugby club team came through with a win to secure the title of New York state champions for Division III in the final game of the semester.
The battle against the Clarkson Golden Knights led to a match that saw the Lakers scoring the winning points in the sudden death round.
There was no obvious winner throughout the game. Two tries were scored early on by Oswego but uncompleted conversions came back to haunt them, co-coach Kevin Gilman '74 said. A try is the rugby equivalent to a touchdown in football. In order to score a try a player must actually touch the ball in the try zone.
"It was a competitive game and we scored early and dominated for most of the first half but couldn't punch enough through," Gilman said.
The momentum shifted in favor of the Knights and they were able to score tying up the game at 20-20 and forcing it into double overtime and finally sudden-death. There, Oswego was able to score in the waning minutes to claim the championship.
The Oswego men's rugby team has always been a club team at the college division. The state rugby organization has taken on the responsibility of establishing different divisions and schedules for inter-league play. There are three different divisions and every major university has at least one team, usually two.
The championship game, played at home Nov. 1, had an unusually large crowd on edge for the remaining minutes in sudden death when Jay McGuckin '09 pulled off the win for the Lakers.
"It was very emotional," McGuckin said. "A couple of years ago some rugby players and I said we would win the states when we were seniors. I was electrified that we pulled it off and happy for the team that we came this far."
The team will be promoted to the second division, which Gilman says was the goal. The second division will provide the team with more competition and more teams.
"We had a lot of new people come out to play," said Gilman. "That added to the quality and amount of talent we had out there."
The Lakers remained undefeated throughout the league play with eight victories.
"We still have a lot to learn, the kicking game needs to come along," said Gilman. "These guys are starting to see their potential."
-- Ashley White '10
The rugby team poses after their victory over Clarkson in the state championship game Nov. 1.
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