With chemistry and talent, a sports team has a chance to win a championship. Many teams from previous title victories have displayed such qualities. As for men’s rugby, they believe those qualities apply to their special group.

Experience is one attribute the freshman class brings. Joseph Kamara, a freshman at CMU, was a high school All-American who brings seven years of rugby experience and believes the group has the potential to achieve their goals.

“The chemistry does seem like it’s coming together like a regular team would. I mean, it’s just going to take a lot of time for us to bring that together to work efficiently,” Kamara said. “Right now, everything is great. I enjoy the environment and how we’re all working together to achieve our own goals.”

Although the team finished with a 2-5 record during fall of 2016, they know the improved chemistry and experience will help them this season.

Michael Tombre plays outside center, a position that requires good hands and power. Tombre, a sophomore, believes this team is ready to make the push for the playoffs.

“Last year, we had a lot of new guys. We didn’t have very much experience. This year, we have new guys with experience, so that should help us a lot. We’re hoping to push for playoffs,” Tombre said.

The youth also excites Tombre, who has been playing for five years, since he knows how pivotal team chemistry can be.

“We have a lot of youth on our team so that chemistry will be there for the next three or four years,” Tombre said.

Head coach Mackenzie Lewis has been coaching the men’s team for a year and a half, while also coaching the women’s team for nine years. A former player herself, she knows what it takes to become a great team.

“I think what it comes down to is learning every single practice, every single game and getting better. And as long as we win or learn I’m gonna be happy with that,” Lewis said.

Lewis also knows that there is more to rugby than just wins and losses. The goal is to win, but there are other qualities players can attain by competing with other individuals with good character.

The Mavericks played their first match at CMU Rugby Field on Saturday against Western State Colorado University, losing by a final score of 64-5.

The Mountaineers were dominant in the first half, scoring six tries and nailing two conversions on their way to a 34-0 lead.

The Mavericks would eventually respond with a try of their own with 11:42 remaining on the clock to make the score 59-5. The inexperience of playing on a team was one of the factors for such a blowout loss, but with time comes progress.

Lewis knows the team has much to learn but believes they will build momentum.

“It’s only gonna get better from here. They are willing to learn, wanting to learn, and that’s a really hard thing to come by,” Lewis said. “They can see the stuff that we can work on, and they’re only gonna build from that”  

The Mavs will look to rebound in Greeley on Sept. 10 as they face off against University of Northern Colorado at 3 p.m.

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Josue Perez is a junior mass communication student. He is from Montrose, Colorado. He began writing on staff for The Criterion in the fall of 2017 and will be assistant sports editor in the spring. He has a passion for sports and wishes to pursue a career in sports journalism.

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