Gonzaga rugby celebrates national championship

WASHINGTON (WUSA 9) -- Rugby is like life, full of challenges. Once you make a mistake, you just want to get out of the scrum and move on. For Gonzaga College High School that meant a continuing quest for a national championship. The Eagles made six straight semifinal appearances and were in the finals the last two years. In mid-May, they finally won it all.

"For me personally it's one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me," said senior captain Ben Cima. "[I'm] just so honored to be a part of that."

The win was important to Ben's family, too; his older brother was on one of Gonzaga's semifinal teams.

Junior Rashan Jones can't explain how this team did what no other has.

"It's something no one knows. It's been so many teams, so many great teams come through this program and for us to win it is just ... is just special," said Rashan.

Every year head coach Peter Baggetta institutes a theme or metaphor for the season. This year's: conquering the summit. Sir Edmund Hillary climbed to the top of Mt. Everest in 1953, the first time that had ever been done. The Eagles used that journey as inspiration for their season.

Their national championship is the first ever in the school's 27-year rugby history.

"All we are in rugby is an extension of what happens in those four walls," said coach Bagetta. "We take the values that are in the school and we put them on the playing field."

Much like Sir Hillary making that last push to the summit, the Eagles pushed through, got on with it and won a National Championship.

The team received congratulations from fas far away as Guam and New Zealand, and here at home, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe also called in his good wishes.


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