Just one year removed of the Cavaliers losing to Stony Point in the state championship, Lake Travis brought out the lumber on the Kingwood Mustangs 40-5 on Sunday for their first rugby state championship. We wondered if Lake Travis could come back after losing some hard-hitting key seniors like Stephen Wilkes and Kody Brabson and make another run at State, however, I don’t think we were really prepared for what LT rugby had in store for us. Not only did they win the state championship, they went 10-0, finished number 1 in the state of Texas, number 18 in the nation, and outscored opponents 401-24.
Led by head coach Rick Medina, the Cavaliers shocked perennial powerhouses’ Westlake, 6-5 and St.Thomas, 19-14. The chemistry that shaped this team has was a huge plus. Senior studs such as Weston Mollo, Nic Medina, Ben Savrick, Cole David, and Andrew Bennett built a chemistry that was like no other. I mean lets be honest, beating Westlake and St. Thomas in the same season was something that never crossed anybody’s mind. Lake Travis became the perennial powerhouse this season by not only beating Westlake and St. Thomas, but by bringing out the freight train against inferior opponents.
Lake Travis had great overall attributes this year. From speed to the kicking game, you cannot really point out a flaw that this team had as a whole. Zach Joiner defined speed and agility beyond logic. Once Zach was in the open field, his Lamborghini wheels would take over and fire could be seen out of his shoes as he ran. One second you would see him with a group of players surrounding him ready to tackle him, the next you would see him breaking away and leaving everybody in the dust!
In terms of strength, everybody had it, but the one person that really stuck out to me was Weston Mollo. Mollo wasn’t afraid to back down from a challenge and threw fear in opponent’s eyes with his true strength by bulldozing and tackling people with aggressive force. His creativity was always on display, but it really came out in the championship game when he caught an impossible behind the back catch, which in rugby can be very dangerous because your entire body is essentially exposed. A brave and courageous move that shows me he is strong and willing to take a hit at any point, no matter the price.
Kevin Marcotte was an accuracy king when it came to the kicking game. Marcotte, who was an All-State kicker in football, was barely ousted in the running to make Team USA football. He was an incredible factor when it came down to adding points when LT needed them most. He was also a very effective player when he was in the open field; that’s when he would break out with his speed! So far, he’s the greatest LT Rugby kicker to live.
Nic Medina showed a leadership role while practicing, and while in a game. He made sure everybody was clicking. He was also a motor to help motivate this team. Nic was the most experienced among all players. He had the ability to pass the ball at great lengths and was a very unselfish, yet, he had a winning attitude. Also another attribute that stuck out, was the use of his long stride as it was an advantage to gain distance from opposing players.
You could not be a team without defensive plays being made. Stefan Vidovic, Ryan Gilbert, and Blaze Stewart created great defensive plays when needed. I can tell you, right now, these guys were really good in lineout situations just from watching games. These 3 used their incredibly long arms to swat opposing team’s throw ins and managed to use those arms on the offensive of the lineout as well. Their lengthy arms were also an advantage when it came to making hustle plays. Stefan was an immediate factor in all pegs of the game, despite joining the team a little later in the season. Blaze and Ryan were swat artists and tried to make sure the opposing team didn’t win any lineouts.
Lake Travis will now have to rebuild and try to replace a team that was herded with seniors. It will be now up to returning players like Chris Robison, Justin Brauer, and Patrick Medina to go out and recruit potential prospects to join. It’s going to be interesting to see how Lake Travis blends next year when new faces show up. Even though the Cavs still have a lot of talent and experience going into next year, they are going to have to reteach a whole new team and it might take some time to blend that chemistry back together. Not to say that it can’t be done in a year because it can be done, especially when you have coaches that have played rugby at the international and national levels.
Everybody had their traits and personalities that made this team perfect. Again, you can never single anybody out for the efforts they showed during this season. With excellent chemistry, this team achieved something most teams can only dream of. 2013 TEXAS STATE RUGBY STATE CHAMPIONS!!! Nobody could ever replace it!!! Now the fight begins for number 2…
Nick Van Buren
Head coach: Rick Medina
Assistant Head Coaches: Stephen Ryan., Kevin Cotton, Ron Nicks, Tane Jericevich