May 6, 2022 | LIFE | By Rhetta Power | Photo by Gracie Roe

On Saturday, April 30, CC’s oldest club sport held a tournament that paralleled no other. The event, The Yampacolypse, was put on by the Colorado College Rugby Club, and held, fittingly, on Yampa (Donald Autrey) field. The sun was warm and the breeze was flowing, while spectators on the sidelines enjoyed mingling smells of barbeque and spring flowers blooming.

Regardless of what the name might suggest, The Yampacolypse was not an apocalypse-themed event. Rather, it was a round-robin style 7s rugby tournament, CC’s first in recent history. Games were played in the “7s” format, where seven people are on each team, playing seven-minute halves. This differs from a typical rugby game where teams have 15 players and halves are 40 minutes.

The Yampacolypse was birthed from the mind of Nicolas Santucci ’22, the social chair of the men’s rugby team and an individual described as “the beating heart of rugby culture at CC this year.” Fellow organizers include Avery Dichter ’22, Helen Lenski ’22, JP Salazar ’23, Doré Young ’23, and Ethan Gould ’24.

Yampacolypse players included CC’s Cutthroat team and Men’s team, as well as teams from University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Pike’s Peak Community College. CC had the largest roster out of all competing teams, and as a result of this, some CC players joined UCCS and PPCC in order to level the playing field. Lenski, a Cutthroat captain, shared that this made things a “little tough” as it’s “harder to tackle your friends than strangers.” However, she also noted that “as a team, we really stood out as a whole” and that “everyone did really well.” Lenski also mentioned how fun the tournament was, and this sentiment was echoed by every player that I spoke to.

Salazar, a member of the men’s team, shared that it was “an amazing day of rugby,” and that he “couldn’t have asked for better.” Luca Espinosa ’23, also a member of the men’s team, shared that CC rugby is hoping to make Yampacolypse an annual event because of how well it went.

Casey Ferrigno ’23, a member of Cutthroat and the “Mate of the Match” (Cutthroat’s version of MVP), had a great time and added that she thought the rest of her team did as well. Ferrigno also shared that the “group of people on cutties is an amazing group of people” and that “everyone is so supportive and kind to one another.”

The sense of community and support that people gain from rugby at CC appears to be a common theme.

Salazar called rugby the “greatest club team” because it’s “so inclusive.” He described his team as a “random group of people who get along because they like tackling and getting tackled.” Lenski said that she loves rugby and what it’s given her: “an awesome community of people that are so supportive on and off the field.” This sense of camaraderie and community in CC rugby was abundantly clear on Saturday. Teammates constantly clapped each other on the back, hugged, and cheered for one another. Supportive calls came from players on the sidelines during all games.

Having the tournament at CC meant that students were able to come and see their friends and peers play, something that has been difficult in the past, as tournaments usually take place at other schools in the area. Ferrigno shared that her friends being able to see her play was one of her favorite parts of Yampacolypse. Spectator (and Ferrigno’s roommate) Olivia Bouthot ’23 enjoyed watching the event and seeing her friend be a star.

Amanda Lake ’24 shared that she thinks rugby is a “pretty cool sport because they lift each other up like cheerleaders.” This is true – the gymnastic ability on the field was astounding. Bodies and rugby balls seemingly flew through the air, the matching yellow-black color schemes for all the teams creating the illusion of a human-bumblebee-hybrid swarm on the field.

Although from a distance (to a rugby-knowledgeless-eye) the players appear to be a homogenous blob of bees, when I spoke to people afterward, there were some standout plays and players from Yampacolypse. Salazar’s favorite play was one that included his roommates, Espinosa and Alex Neumann-Loreck ’23. In this play, Neumann-Loreck passed to Espinosa, and Espinosa passed to Salazar, resulting in Salazar scoring a try (touchdown) for their team. Neumann-Loreck cited a move by Gould as his favorite play. Gould ran for around 20 yards, broke through a defensive line from the other team, somersaulted, then made a try.

Lenski shared that fellow Cutthroat captain, Dichter, played well, scoring three tries for their team. Ferrigno mentioned that she enjoyed the fast plays and that her favorite plays were when her team was able to pass the ball all the way down the line. Salazar and Espinosa also shared that Caroline Livaditis ’22, from Cutthroat, had a cool move where she “exploded out while staying within bounds.”

These are only a few examples of stellar moves on the field. In recognition of their players’ hustle, both CC rugby teams gave out awards after the game. From Cutthroat, the “Mate of the Match” was Ferrigno, and “Most Improved” was awarded to Tesha Ferrell ’25. For the men’s team the “MVP” was Kyle Zinkula ’22, and “Most Improved” was awarded to Juanye’ Hairston ’23.

All in all, Yampacolypse was seemingly a fun-pocalypse for players and spectators alike. If you missed it this year, fear not, as it appears that there are moves to make this an annual CC event.

If you have an interest in joining rugby at CC, contact team captains. The men’s team captains are Hank Bedingfield ’22 and Zack Klinger ’22, for the Cutthroats it’s Helen Lenski and Avery Dichter.

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