Out to defy the odds | PostIndependent.com

Out to defy the odds

Jon Mitchell
Glenwood Defiance player Ryan Roberts, right, laterals the ball to teammate Sean McDermott during practice at Glenwood Park earlier this week. Defiance opens its season at 1 p.m. today against Vail at Glenwood Park.
Jon Mitchell / jmitchell@postindependent.com |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — There’s plenty of inexperience to go with the wealth of experience that’s associated with the Glenwood Defiance Rugby Club this season.

There are players on this year’s squad who have been on the rugby field for close to a decade, and the average playing experience of the team headed into the season is 11 years. The squad, however, was still scraping together enough players to field a team earlier in the week, leaving openings for players who have never seen a rugby field before.

Does that bother this year’s Glenwood squad? Not at all.

“We work more on technique when we’re in practice,” said Eric Olson, a long-time player for Defiance who is serving in a player/coach role this season. “A lot of the guys know what to do in the field so it will help with the new guys who come in. We want to lead by example.”

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The new guys Defiance has picked up this week will have a trial by fire at 1 p.m. today, as Glenwood opens its 2014 season against Vail at Glenwood Park. And those players who are returning are anxious to get on the field not only to start the season, but to make improvements on a 2013 campaign that they deem forgettable at best.

“Last year was a tough year for us,” said Olson, who played on a team that went winless last season. “We had a lot of injuries, and that took a lot of players out right at the start of the season. It kind of steamrolled from there, but we don’t want that to happen again.”

Defiance took a step toward that during a 7-on-7 tournament in Aspen this past weekend that included experienced squads in the Gentlemen of Aspen and the Denver Barbarians. Olson’s goal, knowing the skill level of the teams Glenwood was facing, was for Defiance to score one try in both of their games.

“And we had two,” he said. “The great thing was that they came at the end of the games, so our guys never quit.”

The injuries that Defiance suffered last season also helped pave the way to some lopsided scores in favor of their opponents, but those results weren’t as one-sided by the end of the season.

“We finished out the year strong,” said Sean McDermott, a sixth-year player for Defiance. “There was obviously a horrible stretch there through the middle but, by the end, we got a few people back. It made a big difference.”

Olson, Mike Myrick, Scott Archuleta and Raul Passerin are among the players on Glenwood’s roster who have more than a decade of experience.

Alex Bond is a player who, though only in his second season, Olson considers one of the more dependable players on the roster.

Others on the roster include Erick Zuniga, McDermott, Jamie Rico, Orion Montain, Alonzo Deadwiler, Jose Sanchez, Blaine Krumpe, Billy Balera, Conor Guidarelli and Ryan Roberts.

Following today’s season opener, Defiance will have a week off before playing at Aspen on June 28.

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