By Shawn Russell, Staff Writer

Matt Bigelow running for a Try (photo courtesy of Matt Bigelow)

Matt Bigelow running for a Try (photo courtesy of Matt Bigelow)

The UMF Men’s Rugby Team is looking forward to continuing the success seen during the fall season into Spring 2015.  With the addition of two solid newcomers, and a vast amount of returners, the team hopes to win another Maine Cup Championship for 2015.

During the 2014 fall season, the Beavers went 5-1, with their only loss against the University of Maine at Orono.

“I’m extremely excited to start the spring season,” said Matt Bigelow, a four-year veteran of the program.  “We’ve won two consecutive Maine Cup Championships, and we hope to achieve a third consecutive in 2015.”

Beaver Rugby has won six out of the past eight Maine Cup Championships, which has set a tone for the program.  “We don’t take losing lightly,” said Bigelow.

Starting in April, the Beavers will be playing every Saturday, with their first game of the season on April 20, where the Beavers will take on various teams from New England in the Beast of the East Tournament in Newport, Rhode Island. The first home game will be the following week on April 27 against St. Thomas University from New Brunswick, Canada.

This past fall, the Beavers saw an influx of talent, with newcomers Colin Richards and Matt Scremnin.  Richards played well in the Lock position, while Scremnin scored an abundance of tri’s out of the wing position.

Top returners for the squad include prop Ryan Berthiuame, flanker Matt Bigelow, fly half Mo Schultz, and outside center Frank Makuch.

The team, founded 1991, was one of the first colleges in the state to start the program.  The Beavers are tied with Colby in the state for all-time Maine Cup Championship victories, and hope to be the leader after this season’s championship.

Coach Woody Hanstein has coached the squad since the team’s existence.  The team’s colors are green and gold, instead of UMF’s maroon, and have been since the start.  The only jerseys the team could use in the ’91 season were green and gold, and this has stuck ever since.

Like other programs in the state, UMF rugby is a club sport, not a varsity sport, which is why the team plays schools that are not in the NAC, and is also why the team takes trips to tournaments throughout New England.

“It’s fun to learn a new sport, and if you want to try something new, this is definitely an awesome opportunity,” said Bigelow.  Bigelow would like for more students to participate, for the game uses a variety of athletes with differing size and skills.  The sport is also spread throughout two seasons, the spring and the fall, making it easy for students to find time to play.  He went on to say, “Anyone can play rugby, which is something that you can’t find in other sports.” Bigelow encourages students who wish to play to contact him at matthew.bigelow@maine.edu.