Category Archives: Blog

The Club’s 30th Anniversary

901825_10152004142890826_3679627231760874053_o It was a warm and sunny spring morning, May the 3rd, 2014.  Awaking from their slumber after a night of debauchery at the annual Hall of Fame Night, the Alumni of UMBC Rugby made their annual pilgrimage to the rugby mecca that is Walker Field.  For the first time in what must have felt like a lifetime, they dusted off their boots and donned their alumni jerseys for the 18th Annual UMBC Rugby Alumni Game.  Expectations were high, with plenty of smack-talking, promises off ass-kicking, and guarantees of points scored by both sides before the game.  The game was shaping up not only to be an epic battle for pride, but also a great game of rugby, with some of the best athletes that have ever taken the pitch for UMBC coming out to play for the alumni against a current team that has consistently played dominant, hard-hitting games in the spring semester.

After watching a great game where the UMBC Old Girls took on the current Women's Rugby Club, the field soon became filled with that familiar pregame chant that is such an integral part of  UMBC Rugby.  Both sides told epic tales of when their players have woken up in the land of the No-Necks, and followed it up with the chant that prepares their minds and spirits for their competition.  As both sides jumped up and down, jersey pulled up on top of their head, screaming at the top of their lungs, the stage was set, and the game did not disappoint.

Directly from the kickoff there were huge hits and strong rucking and running, in true UMBC style.  The powerhouse and bruising forwards of the alumni clearly did not forget how to lay the wood, as the current team took forward punches into a stout defense.  But the athletic and versatile forwards of the current team took advantage of speed and conditioning, flooding every ruck and consistently getting out in support of their backline.

The even matchup in the forwards meant that the scoring would have to come from the backs, which also had some great matchups.  The respective scrum halves exemplified their team's style of rugby.  For the alumni, "Uncle Larry" Grassi was not shy with his boot getting the ball out of rucks, and played very physically, often making hits that you would see a flanker make.  And for the current team, Matt "Ziggy" Zvitkovitz kept play quick and decisive to keep the defense on their back feet, and kept the wings and fullback honest with his kicks.  And, of course, the game had the epic rematch between in-centers Cordell "Turtle" Drummond and Matt "Fat Parks", a Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker style matchup between jedi master and padawan.

First blood was drawn by the current team, when a short chip kick from a ruck at the alumni's 22 by Scrum Half Ziggy bounced to a gap on the sideline at the 5-meter line, where wing Matt "Tinkerbell" Phillips snagged the ball on the bounce and dotted it down for the opening try.  The alumni, down on the scoreboard early, responded with a try from forwards Man-of-the-Match Usman "Big Uzi" Timi as he carried 3 players into the try zone for a score.

In the second period, the alumni subbed in almost an entire fresh side.  With the momentum after kickoff, the alumni retained the ball on offense nearly the whole 20 minutes, and put in two tries, leaving the score at 17-5 Alumni.

By the third period, the current team's fitness and physicality pulled them back into the game against an alumni team that was running out of subs.  After using the forwards to suck in the defense, the ball was swung to the wing John "Generic" McLeod, who shook the alumni's wing and fullback and outran pursuing backs for a 60 meter try.  The alumni, now only ahead 17-10, capitalized on a penalty near the current team's goal line for a dangerous tackle by Jackson "Sparrow" Drury. Lock Tracy Williams punched the ball in for an alumni try.  Down 22-10, the current team burst back and responded with a long try from scrumhalf Ziggy, who centered the ball to allow the conversion to bring the game within a try, 22-17.

As the whistle blew to end the 3rd period, the current team prepared for a comeback in the fourth period, knowing that their fitness would keep their momentum going against a wavering alumni defense.  But, the alumni decided to call the game after 3 20-minute periods, much to the current team's disappointment.   Words were exchanged briefly at midfield as  challenges were made to play a full 80 minutes, but the alumni backed down and took their win 22-17, and declared that a B-side match that had no effect on the outcome of the game could be played.  Though unsatisfied with the result, the current team was still proud of how they played against one of the largest and most skilled alumni sides to take the field in recent history.

Of course, afterwards, there were were festivities.  Great food and drink provided by the alumni was a great way to end a solid day of rugby.  In alumni game tradition, there was the annual "Best Damn Awards Show in All of Rugby," for the respective team's men-of-the-match.  The alumni named Usman "Big Uzi" Timi the Forward MotM and LJ Pijnenburg the Back MotM.  The current team named Chris Ogolla their Forward MotM and Matt "Fat" Parks Back MotM.  The alumni took time to recognize the current team members who passed on to the dark side and will be playing for them next year.  They also named the recipient of the Haud Collumi Scholarship, current team President Tyler Tippett, who received the honor for 3 years committed to the team and a 3.73 cumulative GPA.

After the official honors, awards, and acknowledgements, the current team and alumni ate, drank, and celebrated the third decade of the club's existence.  A great time was had by all, as the current team met and learned from the men who have come before them, and the alumni got to know the club's current members who are building toward a better future for the club.  As the festivities eventually died down and people began to head home to ice their numerous aches and pains, it was a common feeling felt by all that UMBC Rugby is at a great spot as an organization, and will only be growing larger and stronger for years to come.  No matter the smack-talk and rivalries that surround the alumni game, it is an annual reminder that when all who have been united by the patch, Alumni and Current team, come together, great things can happen.  Here's to another 30 great years.


Winter is Coming Food Drive – Results!

BbuB2gmIEAAW5w-.jpg-large Every great tradition has to start somewhere.  In its first ever food drive, UMBC ruggers came together and gathered canned food donations for the Maryland Food Bank.  After a week collecting donations from the UMBC community, their families, and their friends, the team donated 120lbs of non-perishable items to the MD Food Bank!  This contribution will directly help those in need throughout Maryland this winter.

The top contributor, Senior Flyhalf Karl Shuey (pictured) donated over 20lbs of food.  His efforts were recognized with one of our brand new rugby balls, complete with the UMBC patch and our sponsor SAP NS2's logo.

This first food drive has set the baseline for future club charity efforts.  Next year, the team will have a goal to reach - topping the 120lb mark!

From everyone at UMBC Rugby, we wish you Happy Holidays!

Winter is Coming Food Drive

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Winter is Coming... it's not yet time for season 4 of Game of Thrones.  Winter is coming and there are 457,000 local Maryland residents who will be living at or under the federal poverty level.  These people are most vulnerable to hunger during the cold winter months.  UMBC Men's Rugby will be giving back to the community by collecting non-perishable food items to donate to the Maryland Food Bank.  Any donation, small or large, will make a difference in the lives of those in need this winter!


Most Needed Items

  • Canned Meat (tuna, chicken, etc.)

  • Peanut Butter

  • Pasta

  • Fruits (canned or dried)

  • Canned Soup

  • Canned Vegetables

  • Sauces / Salad dressing

  • Evaporated & Powdered Milk

  • Infant Formula

  • Oatmeal

  • Rice

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Beans (canned or dried)

How to Donate

If you are a UMBC student or faculty and wish to bring donations to campus, there is a clearly marked donation box in the Commons by the CIC (the front desk where you get things printed and buy tickets to events).

If you are making a larger donation or can't otherwise reach the UMBC campus, please contact club President Tyler Tippett at to organize a pick-up of donations.

We need donations in by December 11th, 2013!

Thank you for your generosity this holiday season!

Fall 2013 – Season Review

0436366246017 This fall was anything but ordinary.

The men of UMBC Rugby came together as a team and faced problems presented by injuries, loss of players, and scheduling issues.  But the team stuck to its value of "no excuses," coming out to every game and leaving it all on the field.  New players stepped up and the team rose to every challenge, including playing the last 3 games of the season within one week.  Every one of the members of UMBC Rugby stepped up and showed heart and dedication to the team, regardless of the outcome of the games.

Let's not beat around the bush.  UMBC finished (1-5) for the season - if you had asked anyone on the team before the season began, they would have told you they had high hopes for this year to be a year to make a run for a championship.  That's not how the season turned out, it had one of the worst records the team has had in recent years.  How does that make the team feel?  Disappointed?  Heartbroken?  Defeated?

None of the above, the team couldn't be more optimistic for the future.

To start, UMBC's developmental side [B-side] finished the season (3-2), with several dominating victories, including a 76-0 win over Johns Hopkins.  The players who represented UMBC showed an immense amount of teamwork, athleticism, and dedication to the team.  No matter how the A-side fared, the developmental side came out with high intensity and a work-rate that earned many of them A-side starts as the season progressed.  They played fundamentally sound games, with good tackling and offloading, that will be a foundation to build skills off of for future seasons.

The A-side players know that they have a lot of work to do to step up to the high level of competition in the conference.  They also know they have a lot of work to do if they want to keep their spot from the emerging athletes coming from the developmental side.  This off-season will not be several months of rest for the spring season.  Quite the opposite - all of the players are hungry to improve physically and mentally by working out, staying in shape, and studying the game of rugby.  The team plans on hitting the ground running come this February when practices resume after winter break.

The team, along with head coach Hanibal Gnahoui, set goals for themselves for next fall's season.  Among these goals are building brotherhood within the team, finishing with a winning season, and earning a spot in the 2014 playoffs.  The team knows exactly what needs to be done to achieve those goals, and there is no shortage of motivation to get to work on them.  The young UMBC team will only be losing 2 of its starters to graduation, so there will be plenty of time in the Spring to continue to build team chemistry in tournaments and scrimmages.  By next Fall, the team will be more mature, experienced, and prepared to tackle whatever challenges the opposition presents.

Let's not forget that the Fall 2013 season had several highlights that the team is very proud of.  The team scored at least twice in every match, proving that the offense could score on any defense.  Their 38-22 win over George Mason was featured in RugbyMag, and was a great game of rugby by both sides.  Several new members of the team scored their first tries and the team started to 'click' after that win.  There was a 2-week break of no rugby, thanks to a bye week and a weather-delay canceling their homecoming game vs. Towson.  When given a choice to forfeit the game and lose an opportunity at playoffs or play 3 games in one week, the team unanimously agreed to step up to the challenge and play back-to-back-to-back games.  It was not easy physically or mentally, but the team played their best rugby of the season against some of the best competition in the conference.  The team certainly proved their "never-back-down" attitude during those games.

There are many people who made this season a success.  The team would like to thank their sponsor, SAP NS2, for their continued support of the team.  The seniors on the team played hard and acted as role models for the new players, and leave their work ethic behind to a UMBC team with a bright future.  The team captains and officers worked tirelessly to tackle and overcome challenges that the team had never been faced with before, and made every game this season possible.  And finally, Head Coach Hanibal Gnahoui was dedicated and came to every practice and game, and has taught the team more in one season than many players have learned in their whole rugby career.

UMBC Rugby is moving forward and building to a better future.  The UMBC Rugby Alumni Association is continually growing and helping the team in on-the-field and off-the-field successes.  The alumni continue to show that when you become a member of UMBC Rugby, you are a member for life.  Many thanks to the fans, supporters, and team parents who come out to the games to cheer for the team on Saturdays.  Your support is invaluable to helping the organization grow, and we hope to see you all out in the Spring, as the team looks to return to its winning habits and repeat its tournament championships at Frostbite and Rocky Gorge.


By: Tyler Tippett
President, UMBC Men's Rugby 

Join UMBC Rugby!









It's simple - UMBC Men's Rugby is a successful program on and off the field.    The team has played great on the field, gives back to the community, and brings energy and excitement to the campus. UMBC Rugby is a great way to get in shape, stay in shape, and find new friends.

Follow in the footsteps of hundreds before you.  When you are a member of UMBC Rugby, you are a member for life.  Our alumni regularly support the team and offer a scholarship to committed players who maintain good grades and involvement around campus.

Grow as a person, meet new people, stay fit, and have fun.  Why not give it a try?

No need to sign up, just come out to practice.  4p-7p on Walker Field every Tuesday and Thursday!

Most of your questions can be answered on our FAQ's page, or by checking out our Facebook and Twitter.  Any further questions can be directed to

See you out on the pitch!

Stud Cup 2013 – A Huge Success!

Renegades Saturday, August 3rd, was a huge milestone for UMBC Rugby - the team hosted its first tournament for local U19 7's teams.  6 teams participated, including the Carroll County Renegades, Howard County Hurricanes, North Bay's U19 team, a combined team from Baltimore PolyTech and the Vypers and 2 teams from Calvert Hall.   It was a great day of Rugby, held at the UMBC Stadium on campus.  Specially modified for the tournament, the turf surface was a great playing area as the constant drizzle of rain all day did not interfere with the games.

All teams showcased some impressive talent.  Plenty of big hits and blistering speed kept all 14 of the games exciting.   In a battle for the plate, the Hurricanes topped North Bay to win the first plate award in Stud Cup history.  The final game of the day was the cup match, pitting Calvert Hall's 1st side against the Renegades.  In the end, the Renegades came out on top, and secured their place as the first ever UMBC Stud Cup Champions!!

In addition to the awesome rugby games, the day was filled with other entertainment.  During the intermission, valiant gladiators from each team were invited to race down the field for a box of donuts.  Concessions were served all day by the UMBC alumni, and custom T-shirts marking the inaugural Stud Cup tournament sold out.

For the first time running this tournament, everything went very smoothly throughout the day, thanks in no small part to the referees who kept the games starting on-schedule.  Plans have already begun for next year's Stud Cup, which will be bigger and better than before.

UMBC is pleased to have had the honor of hosting these teams, their families and their friends, and thanks everyone for their sportsmanship throughout the day.

We hope everyone involved had a great time at the tournament and we look forward to inviting all of you back next year!


stud7's Welcome, all studly men looking to prove themselves on the pitch!

For the first time ever, UMBC will be hosting a U-19's 7's tournament called UMBuC U-19's Stud Cup.  On August 3rd, 2013, starting at 9:00 am teams will compete for the great and noble honor of being the studliest U-19 team in the world, nay, the universe!  Cost of entry is $125 per team and will be held at UMBC's home pitch, Walker Field at UMBC.  We also have a backup field set in place in case of poor field conditions.

Our lovely alumni will be grilling up burgers and hotdogs all day, and there will be plenty of gatorade and water at the stand. Teams are encouraged to bring their own refillable water bottles as there is a spigot on the side of the clubhouse.  T-shirts will also be available for purchase.

Don't miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

If you have any additional questions, email James Park ( and you'll get a response within 24 hours.


Pay Entry Fee

Cost: Per Team $125.00

Once you pay, please add your Name, Team Name and Contact Info (email + cell number)





Almuni Weekend

472776_254823154664415_1252473668_o Coming off a win against York College of PA to end their season (13-4-1), the studs of UMBuC rugby had to take care of one final test before they could conclude their Spring 2013 season - to meet the illustrious old men of the UMBC Rugby Alumni Association on the pitch for their yearly reminder of how old they are and how good they used to be.

After their Night of Debauchery, the old men dusted off their old boots and kitted up at their old field.  There were plenty of reunions and surprise visits before the game, with a turnout of over 100 current players and alum, as well as their family and friends.

The game went exactly as you can imagine a "friendly" between the alumni and currently players would go - plenty of big hits all around.  That's what happens when you pit 2 UMBuC teams against each other on the field!  There were some questionable calls by the alumni referees, and at several times there were upwards of 18 players on the alumni side of the field.  But all is fair in love and war, and the alumni beat the current team 17-12 when the final whistle blew.

Afterwards, there was plenty of eating and drinking with the alumni as everyone caught up and reminisced over a very successful year.  There is a lot to be happy about from the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 season.  In the fall, UMBuC made it to the semifinals in the playoffs, losing only to the national champion runner-ups.  In the spring, UMBuC repeated their championship wins at the Frostbite and Rocky Gorge Cup tournaments.  In addition to our on-the-field success, 2013 was the first year that UMBC rugby and the alumni went on a day of service, giving back to the local community.  We hope to continue and expand that tradition next year.

Matt Parks was awarded the Haud Callumi scholarship for 2013, continuing the tradition started last year with the first scholarship awarded to a current team member and student athlete by the Alumni Association.  An official plaque engraved with the names of the scholarship recipients was graciously donated by the alumni for the clubhouse.

UMBC RFC and the Alumni Association have big plans for next year's season.  We are sad to see our graduating seniors leave, but happy to see them join and improve the already awesome Alumni Association.

Many thanks to our sponsors, SAP NS2.  This was our first year with an official sponsor so there were a few bumps in the road getting things going, but you stuck with us the whole way and we are proud to call you our sponsor.

Check out the full albums from the alumni weekend on the UMBC Rugby Alumni Association Facebook page, and give it a like to keep up with the old boys.  Like UMBC Rugby on Facebook while your at it, and follow us on Twitter, @UMBCMensRugby.

Keep checking back on the website for information about our U19 Sevens tournament this summer, the first annual UMBuC "Stud 7's" Tournament.


Gorge Cup Champs (Again!)

GorgeCup2013 4/20 was a day of many records for UMBC.  What has never happened before and will likely never happen again, UMBC was the first team to the pitch in the morning - even Rocky Gorge's tournament reps weren't there yet.  UMBC set up camp and warmed up as teams began to arrive.  As defending champions of Gorge Cup, it was their duty to top last year's performance.  And 2013's Gorge Cup will certainly go down as one to remember.

Game 1 - At 9:10am, UMBC was ready to go, but Montgomery CC was a no-show.  A disappointing start to the day; although UMBC was given a free win, there would be a wait of almost two more hours before the first hits of the day could be made.

Game 2 - Finally at 10:50am, UMBC took the field against Towson's B-side.  UMBC started strong with quick breaks in the backline and powerful runs by the forwards.  Scoring early and often, UMBC retained possession of the ball for a majority of the game with good support and set-piece play.  When the final whistle blew, UMBC came out on top 38-5, earning their first real win of the day.

Game 3 - The last of the guaranteed games of the day, UMBC was up against George Mason.  Both teams were 2-0 at the time, so the winner would take first overall in the bracket and secure a spot to compete for the trophy.  Again, UMBC scored early and often, keeping GMU on their back foot.  Powerful scrums gained UMBC excellent field position to attack the retreating GMU defense.  UMBC's defense never wavered this game, as the final score was a shutout, 27-0.

Game 4 - Finishing (3-0) with the best point differential, UMBC earned the 1st seed in the playoffs.  The semi-final matchup would be against the 4th seed, Mary Washington.  A brutal and physical game ensued, as both teams fought for their spot in the championship game.  UMBC struck early with runs that broke through the MW defense, followed up with good support.  Again, powerful scrums from the UMBC forwards led to several tries.  Despite a try and a penalty kick for MW, UMBC kept up the attack the whole game, leaving the field victorious; 22-10.

Game 5 - The championship.  Winner takes all.  Beat up and sore, with several players out from injury, UMBC remained focused on one thing - redemption.  The matchup was UMBC vs Towson's A-side, the same side which handed UMBC a painful loss earlier in the spring season.  But UMBC was focused and would stop at nothing for a win.  Right from the kickoff, which went out of bounds, UMBC forwards proved that this game would be different.  The scrum center was driven deep into Towson territory, and after several ensuing phases, UMBC scored first.  From there, they would not lose the lead the rest of the game.  Incenter Matt Parks scored twice on impressive runs through the Towson defense.  Graduating senior hooker James Park scored on what would be his last game against Towson playing for UMBC.  Captain Erik Anderson also scored a try, as well as Flanker Ricky Johnson.  Two conversions from Flyhalf Richie Campbell gave UMBC 29 points.  Towson was held to 7 points until they scored on the last play of the game, with the final whistle blowing to give UMBC the championship 29-12.

UMBC celebrated with respect as they were awarded the 2013 Gorge Cup Championship trophy.  Speaking from personal experience, the feeling was unreal.  The trophy meant more to the club and to the players than another tournament win, it symbolized the team's hard work and dedication paying off in an unforgettable victory.  Coach Hanibal Gnahoui was also given an MVP plaque to award, which he gave to the forwards for their consistently dominating performance the whole day.  The tournament wins put UMBC at (12-4-1) for the spring season.

UMBC would like to thank its fans and alumni who came out and supported us, Rocky Gorge for hosting the tournament, our sponsor SAP NS2, and our coach, Hanibal Gnahoui.  UMBC is one step closer to their goal of building a team to dominate in the Fall season of 2013.

First Annual UMBC Rugby Day of Service

SandtownHabitat It was a bright and beautiful Saturday, and a perfect day for rugby.  But the ruggers of UMBC weren't cleating up on April 13th.  Instead, they were putting on hardhats and work gloves to donate their time and skills to the local Habitat for Humanity charities.  A force of 27 men's and women's ruggers, with coordination and help from both alumni organizations, combined for over 200 hours of community service for one day.

Two groups of volunteers set out Saturday morning, one to the Sandtown Habitat for Humanity and the other to the Chesapeake Habitat for Humanity.  Working in conjunction with volunteers from other colleges and organizations, along with the wonderful staff, UMBC Rugby helped put in the needed man-(and woman-) power to build affordable homes that will help a family in need and bring together the local community.  Groups tackled different tasks, ranging from demolition to cement laying to building a brand new deck.

It wasn't all work and no play though.  Current players enjoyed the opportunity to meet and work with alumni, who shared war stories about the glory days of old.  The alumni also enjoyed seeing that the team they left behind still has some sense of pride in their organization and school, and were genuinely surprised when college students would willingly get out of bed that early to do anything that wasn't playing rugby.

UMBC hopes to make this day of service an annual tradition.  With proper planning, ruggers could donate their time to other charities who may need some brawny guys to boss around.  Those alumni and players who unfortunately couldn't  make it to this day of service, don't worry, you will just have to work twice as hard next year.

Check out all the photos from both sites on our Facebook page.  Check out Habitat for Humanity if you are interested in donating your time to a local charity and like to get your hands dirty.