Despite Weather, Gruffs Remain Confident


Junior captain Andrew Follmann kicks the ball in a match last fall. The Gruffs will play host to Ohio Wesleyan University on April 12 in their first match of the season.

Sarah Orbuch & Nate Levinson, Sports Editors

The Oberlin men’s rugby football club struggled through its fall season last semester, but spirits are high heading into this spring season.

“Spring semester, because we have two to three months to prepare before we play a game, there’s more time to teach our new recruits about the important parts of rugby,” said senior President Matt Kendrick. “The teams we play are also more for fun. We know we’ll get a good game and friendly welcome when we go on the road.”

The Gruffs, as the team has been called since 2006, have only three games this semester, but that hasn’t stopped many on the team from setting various goals for the season.

“I really want the younger guys to have more of a presence on the team,” said junior captain Andrew Follmann. “I feel like my generation has developed and become the new leaders on the team, and I really want to see the authority of the team passed down and still be a presence and still be running practices but very much see the team develop and maintain its presence both on the campus and in the league.”

Although the Gruffs did not graduate many seniors last spring, last semester they had a handful of new talent show up at practices.

“The weather is not that great and there’s a lot of snow, but we have had a lot of new guys come in. We have at least six or seven newcomers. Four of those are freshmen,” said sophomore Tim Chung.

“I feel like we have a large group of younger interested players that we have not been able to practice with yet because of the snow and the cold. But I feel that the heart is there and among the older new players, the second-semester freshmen, the sopho­mores that have been coming out, they are already defining aspects of the organization,” Follmann added.

Due to inclement weather and lack of practice space, the Gruffs have spent part of the semester focusing on team development and building an alumni network.

“It’s really great. I am really happy to see the Gruffs grow as an organization and become more institutionalized,” Follmann said. “We are building an alumni network. I am really happy with how the Gruff community is realizing itself.”

Even with the snow, the Gruffs remain confident that this season will be a success and are ready for their games to begin.

“This season, with considerable more time to train our new members, we’re going to have more success,” Kendrick said.

For Follmann, the spring season is exciting because it provides an opportunity for the team to decide its schedule.

“Fortunately in the spring we decide our own schedules, so we try to avoid playing teams that we have poor times playing. No Black Swamp Mercenaries, no Ohio Northern, no bad blood this semester; it’s going to be a fun season, a more relaxed season,” he said.

The Gruffs begin their season at home against the Battling Bishops of Ohio Wesleyan University on April 12.