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Wando Rugby Heads to Nationals in Kansas City

Bryan Lin, Staff Writer

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As May approaches, so does the national championship for rugby, held in Kansas City from May 17 to 19. Wando has been recognized as one of the best teams in the nation and given a chance to participate in the nationals.

The team has been recruiting and training since November in preparation for the big game.

“When we start practice in November, we don’t cut anybody. We have three teams based on skill level: an A team, a B team and a C team,” Head Coach Tod Shepherd said. “It’s a great brotherhood and the guys typically enjoy playing because they have such a good time and we don’t force them to attend practice.”

Nationals is a invitational tournament consisting of three divisions with eight teams each. One division is for the single school teams, one division is for the multi-school teams and the final division is a combined bracket consisting of the top four teams from both division that are not already participating in the nationals. Wando is currently on track to be in the single schools division in the nationals.

Thirty players are selected to represent Wando in the national competition for the first time. However, Shepherd believes the Wando team had have the potential for nationals ever since 2014.

“In 2014, we were ranked ninth in the country. And we’ve been in the top 20 ever since. But this year we’ve been able to raise $50,000 to send 30 players to Kansas City, whereas in previous years we didn’t have that fund raising behind us,” Shepherd said. ”I think this team might be the best team we ever had. We have more depth than we had in previous years, so if we lose a guy to injury we’ve got a very capable player to take his spot. Since 2014, all of the teams have been very good.”

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Wando Rugby Heads to Nationals in Kansas City