Into the Ruck


Larissa McGhee

Members of the Boys’ Rugby Team pose for a photo. Left to right : Shawn Wertz, Billy Bisyu, Sal alhabib, Teshi Moeng, Cody harpster, Mikey Ondik, Ben Rudnik

Jamie Claar, Staff Writer


As the big red ball in the sky starts to burn brighter, signaling the beginning of spring, State High begins to offer the spring additions to many opportunities for its more athletically inclined students. Some got their racquets and some got their bats, but others chose a different route: pull on the black jersey and charge the scrum. Their Leader is Shawn Wertz, a senior at State High.


In his sophomore year, Wertz learned of the boy’s rugby team from a friend who was currently part of the girls’ team. Soon after, he climbed the ranks becoming the team captain. As captain, he is in charge of recruiting, sending out information on practices and helping the coaches teach the fresh meat how to play ball.  Wertz plays the position of fly-half: coordinating the attack and defense of the team. Wertz came over to Lion’s Digest to discuss why he plays and why others should play as well.


Why do you play rugby?

I’ve always loved contact sports and I really like the finesse side of rugby. It’s kind of elegant and violent at the same time. Before I played football and lacrosse but I ended up choosing rugby over both.


What’s your favorite memory?

Just the team from last year. One bus ride to a game where our bus broke down on the way so we ended up getting stuck at this uni-mart for a while until we could figure out how to get the bus started. We ended up pushing the bus until the guy got it started again.


Why should people join the club?

It’s a great bonding experience, we’re pretty much a family. Rugby is also one of the few sports where it’s hard for one person to stand out, it’s a lot more about the team and being able to play well together.


How is Rugby different from other Stat High sports?

We are a no-cut sport so it’s a lot easier for people to get playing time. We play both an A side and a B side to make sure everybody plays. We’ll have practices focusing on the most basic things compared to if you go to a football practice halfway in the season you’re way behind. For rugby you can come in at any time and catch up.


Be sure to join in on the action at their next game, whether it be in the audience or in the ruck! For more information on future games or how to join, contact Shawn Wertz at [email protected].



  • Scrum
    • a method of restarting play in rugby that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball
  • Ruck
    • formed when at least one player from each side bind onto each other with the ball on the ground between them
  • Fly-Half
    • The player that orders the back line during a match