Naperville goes Undefeated at 2018 Nash Bash, Send Three Players to Vegas Invite
The Naperville Warriors extended the club’s all-time travel radius in the month of March traveling to Las Vegas and Nashville in successive weekends, and going 3-0 at the 2018 Nash Bash Rugby Festival.
Earlier this month the team loaded up their gear and traveled 500 miles to Nashville, Tennessee. The Nash Bash Rugby Festival is one of the largest preseason tournaments in the country, with over 100 teams annually participating across several divisions. The Warriors played in the top high school tier and faced off against stiff competition which included defending Indiana state champions Carmel, defending Ohio state champions Perrysburg, and Arkansas’ all-star team, the Junior Stormers. Despite only traveling with 19 players, the Warriors swept the competition going 3-0 over the two days.
“Going into the weekend our focus was squarely on individual improvement and playing time,” said Chris Dublinski, coach of the Warriors. “Our staff told the guys we had no expectations regarding record, and that winning wasn’t priority,” he joked, “Apparently they didn’t feel the same way.” Dublinski explained the value he sees in his players facing national competition early in the season. “We believe testing yourself against accomplished opponents is an important part of player development. It allows athletes to evaluate their progress and build self-confidence. For the Warriors staff, these matches help make sure our training is on par with other top programs. Organizing and funding these trips can be challenging, but well worth the benefit it provides in terms of team building and learning the game.”
The week preceding Nash Bash, a trio of Warriors including Michael Amberg, Justin Ludwig, and Jonah Boykin were selected to play with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy (EIRA) rugby sevens teams competing at the Las Vegas Invitational. The LVI tournament is run in parallel with the U.S. leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series and plays host to nearly 300 teams. Ludwig and Boykin, sophomore and freshman respectively, represented the Warriors as part of EIRA Midwest’s U16 squad. Amberg was selected to represent the Warriros as part of EIRA’s top team in the U18 varsity division. The group was hand selected and also managed by Salty Thompson, the current head coach of the U.S. high school All-American team and EIRA’s National Director. Both teams finished in the top ten of their respective divisions and all three players gained valuable national experience.
After their matches in Vegas the boys were treated to an exciting tournament victory by the host USA Eagles who were crowned champions of the main tournament. The Eagles beat reigning Olympic Champions Fiji in the semi-final match and shut out Argentina in the final en route to the title.
The Warriors look forward to their home opener Friday, May 4th at Nike Park in Naperville. See team fixtures & results for more information.