Club Sport Spotlight: John Carroll rugby soars past Baldwin Wallace to clinch top seed for the Allegheny Rugby Union championships


JCU Recreation Department

The Club Rugby Team in front of the clocktower after competing in one of their games.

Leah Harrigan, Staff Reporter

One aspect of John Carroll University that attracts potential students, passionate athletic supporters and University Heights natives is the campus camaraderie.

Yes, it’s that enticing. The small undergraduate population paves for a quaint, but traditional atmosphere that truly feels like home. Better yet, pair the close-knit campus community with a radiant fall afternoon, the sun highlighting the pristine fall foliage among the Hamlin quad. 

This may sound like a quiet and serene afternoon setting, but on Sat., Oct. 22, the Hamlin Quad was far from tranquil.

This past Saturday, the John Carroll Rugby team, which holds the designation of a club sport, hosted the Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets in a crucial matchup that resulted in a commanding 80-12 victory for Carroll. With the win, JCU earned the top seed spot for the Allegheny Rugby Union championships.

“The team showed out again against an undefeated rival,” reflected Zach Szafarski ‘23. “Everyone did their jobs and we took care of business.”

At the end of the match, a plethora of John Carroll players tallied in the try column. Jack Arnold, Austin Bilski, Kevin Paul, Emmett Allen, Cole Morell, Cal Radisek and Luke Jeffrey all earned points that increased the margin of victory against the Yellow Jackets.

Baldwin Wallace struggled to counter the John Carroll offensive surge, evidenced by their point total of 12 as the final whistle blew to end the match.

The rugby team competing this season. (JCU Recreation Department)

However, it’s clear that Carroll’s defensive presence also hindered any efforts by Yellow Jackets as JCU played a relentless, foot-on-the-gas style of play that would certainly intimidate any form of opposition.

As the match came to a close, the significant lead would stand and John Carroll would transcend to triumph. The at-home win, paired with a passionate crowd of fans highlighted the unmatched camaraderie within John Carroll University. Morale was high and genuine smiles painted the faces of both players and spectators.

Next, John Carroll hosts Franciscan University on Sat., Oct. 29 on the Hamlin Quad. The match is set to begin at 11:00 am. 

A win on this upcoming Saturday would send John Carroll to Pittsburgh for the Allegheny Rugby Union championship.

“We have a young group of guys with a bunch of talent,” commented Szafarski. “We’re excited to see what the future holds for this group.”