Men’s Rugby Club: National Champions and No. 1 in the Rankings

Posted on 8/25/22 11:16 AM

The rankings are out, and IUP is at the top of the list. According to the Goff Rugby Report —an online platform that concentrates on high school, college, and USA national teams—the IUP Men’s Rugby Club is number one in preseason Division II college rankings for the fall semester. This comes after a national championship season last year. This is the first time in IUP history that the Men’s Rugby Club has been the number one seed in both 15s and 7s rugby.

2021-22 Men's Club Rugby Team

Seth Erwin, the team’s head coach, said, “The way we rebounded post-COVID has been remarkable and a testament to this team’s leadership. From graduated captain Dalton Cain to our current captains and seniors, it’s been exciting to see how we’ve rebounded from the pandemic. This year, we have the largest recruiting class in my time at IUP. All of these freshmen are coming in with rugby experience. So, players will have to adapt to working together on a college team that has reached a new level of success. There will be a lot of learning about the pace of the college game, on the fly. Witnessing the program’s recognition from winning the national championship and being named the number one ranked 7s team in the nation to our new status as the number one D2 seed, preseason? That is something incredibly special.”

The Men’s Rugby Club is one of many student-run athletic clubs at IUP. 

Thomas Segar, vice president for Student Affairs, said, “We are all very proud of the Men’s Rugby Club and all it has accomplished over the past year. I’m looking forward to cheering on the team this year. Though rugby doesn’t have the same following in the United States as some other sports, I am excited to learn more about the sport, in general, to support our Crimson Hawks as they forge ahead after their recent championship season.”

Rugby Basics

All students are encouraged to attend Men’s Rugby Club matches. The players hope to see lots of attendance this year to keep the momentum of their success moving forward. Here are some basics if you are new to the sport.

  • Either team can carry, pass, or kick the ball to the other team’s goal line. This results in a score. The team with the most points in the given time of play wins.

  • A rugby “pitch” is another name for “field.” It is 77 yards wide and 132 yards long. Goal lines are called “try lines” and are stationed 110 yards apart. The “touch line” is what surrounds the field/pitch, where the players execute matches. The Men’s Rugby Club plays its home matches at the South Campus pitch located at 140 University Drive.

  • What do 7s and 15s mean? In the United States at the college level, rugby teams have two separate seasons. In the fall, the team will compete in 15s, which refers to the number of players on each team who are on the field at the same time. In spring, teams play 7s, again, referring to the number of players on each team.

  • Fifteens is made up of an 80-minute match divided into two, 40-minute halves.

  • The national championship for 15s will take place in December.

  • Sevens is a tournament-style approach to gameplay. In the spring, the team will play three to four matches a day, with each match lasting 14 minutes (seven minutes a half). Seven players from each team participate per match.

  • The national championship for 7s takes place in May.

  • You don’t pass the ball forward, though the goal is to move forward to score. That means rugby focuses more on the team than on individual players.

  • A “scrum” is like a huddle. This is how matches start and resume. Players are locked tightly together with the ball thrown in the center. Then, the scrum “half” has to fight for possession.

  • The Men’s Rugby Club cheer is “Don’t blink!” This reminds the team to focus on the moment. Of course, “Talons up!” is also used regularly by spectators to show their support during a match.

Check out the IUP Men’s Rugby Club schedule. Don’t blink, and we’ll see you on the pitch!

The Team

  • Seth Erwin, Head Coach
  • Larry Bowman, Assistant Head Coach
  • Tyler Horwatt, Forward Coach
  • Sean Zimmerman, Development Coach
  • Captain: RJ Beach, Junior
  • Vice-Captain: Trent Stalling, Junior
  • Vice-Captain: Dominic Holmes, Junior
  • Coton Moyer, Graduate
  • Michael Rudolph, Graduate
  • Barry Ashway, Senior
  • Brian Arnold, Senior
  • Sam Wise, Senior
  • Jordan Smith, Senior
  • Mike Mehalic, Senior
  • Logan Raymond, Senior
  • Tyler Johnson, Senior 
  • Dan Miller, Senior 
  • Erik Beswick, Junior
  • Dalton Peluso, Sophomore
  • Caron Davis, Sophomore
  • Isaac Griffith, Sophomore
  • Mason Herrholtz, Sophomore
  • Ethan Kish, Freshman
  • Joey Cosnek, Freshman
  • Layne Walls, Freshman
  • Jayce Brooks, Freshman
  • Vincenzo Scott, Freshman
  • Dylan McAnulty, Freshman
  • Santino Fischio, Freshman
  • Alex Frazier, Freshman