Archmere Claims National Rugby Title

StateChampsState Champion Auks Prevail in Final Over Texas Powerhouse

Many a Delaware high school sports team has had the stuff of greatness, and some recent squads have even achieved lofty national rankings, but rare is the opportunity for a legitimate national championship crown to adorn a First State school head.

That ultimate endorsement of excellence and teamwork is just what Archmere Academy achieved at Chester’s PPL Park this weekend, when they bested a world class field in the High School Rugby Challenge (HSRC), the nation’s premier High School “Sevens” Rugby Tournament.

The Auks capped their tournament run with a 17-5 victory over Rock Rugby of Texas in Sunday’s final.


Co-captain Noah Niumataiwali surges forward.

“Every single player on this team played their hearts out this season,” said Archmere coach Drew Cocco. “Defense was the key for our success. Playing tough defense and a patient, composed offense allowed us to shut down the opposition and capitalize on scoring opportunities.”

Rugby is a relatively new club sport in Delaware schools, which makes Archmere’s national title all the more remarkable. But the game’s fast pace and excitement are generating buzz and a growing popularity across the state. Archmere won this year’s Sevens state championship (teams of seven-a-side, with shorter games than 15-a-side) over Salesianum.

Coach Cocco remarked on the Auks’ glorious, memorable season, and the team’s meteoric rise to a national title: “This has been a crazy ride for us. We started the team 3 years ago just wanting to give these guys a chance to learn rugby in high school. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we’d win a title at the national level. The team set some big goals for this season, and I am proud to say that we’ve accomplished them all– and more. This is a truly special group of young men, and this success is a testament to their talent, hard work, and commitment to each other.”

Co-captain Nick Udovich makes a run.

Co-captain Nick Udovich makes a run.

“Noah Niumataiwalu and Nick Udovich have done a tremendous job leading this team as our captains.”

Click here for video coverage of yesterday’s national final and here for video of the Delaware State Championships.

The complete 2015 Archmere Academy Rugby Lineup:

Alec Giakas ‘16

Dan Bark ‘18

Nick Udovich ’16 (C)

Tanner McIlrath ‘16

Noah Niumataiwalu ’16 (C)

Auk De'Joun Lee on a run.

Auk De’Joun Lee on a run.

De’Joun Lee ‘15

Mark Dombroski ‘17

Colin Freeh ‘16

John Trusello ‘15

Tom Hamilton ‘15

PJ Wicks ‘17

Pat Beck ‘18

Phil Ryan ‘15

Connor Ruggieri ‘18

Henry Moore ‘15

Ian Mengers ‘15

Reid Niermann ‘17

Auk Dan Bark makes a play.

Auk Dan Bark makes a play.

Ryan Ifkovits ‘15

Davis Miller ‘17

Max Bonnes ‘16

Matt Olsen ‘15

Niko Marinis ‘15

JJ Bryson ‘17

Roy Detweiler ‘18

Anthony Truscello ‘17

Kenan Hilyard ‘15

George Frankel ’16 (currently serving as a U.S. Senate Page)


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