National Small College Rugby Organization LLC: Latest News: Benedctine College and NSCRO

Thursday, April 11
Benedctine College and NSCRO

Benedictine College of Atchison, Kansas is what NSCRO is all about. With about 750 male undergraduate students, it has been a player-coached team for all of its existence. The past 4 years, it has been led by Jack White. Jack is pure-blood rugger being the son of Denver rugby stalwart Dave White and brother of Greg White, coach of Western State College of Colorado. Last Fall Benedictine won the Heart of America RFU Small College league by beating Creighton University to qualify for the NSCRO Playoffs. In their playoff qualifier, they faced nemesis Wayne State College of Nebraska. When the final whistle sounded, the Black Monks (as Benedictine is known) emerged victorious 19-17. This set the stage for their participation the PacWest Region Championship the following Spring. The Black Monks would be entering into uncharted waters never having advanced this far in a playoff system in the history of the club.

At last weekend's PacWest Regional, the Black Monks faced undefeated Occidental College. Two weeks earlier, Oxy beat California Maritime Academy in the NSCRO Pacific Coast Cup Qualifier after winning the Pacific Mountain West (SoCal) Small College league. Oxy was rightfully a strong favorite to win this match. You can read the full match report elsewhere...but Oxy quickly took a 17-0 lead and it looked to be a long day for the lads from Atchison. Then just before halftime they scored a fine try. In the second half they scored another and were down only 17-12. They kept attacking and came close to scoring a number of times. Late in the match, Oxy scored to finish the match 24-12. On Sunday, Jack and player-coach Nick McKenzie decided to 'empty the bench' and let everyone who traveled with the team play and thus a number of starters became reserves. They played hard against a well-disciplined Cal Maritime team and lost.

NSCRO Board member, Mike Scott recently wrote to me....
"The whistle signals neither the beginning or the end.
The scoreboard not the victor or the vanquished
The true measure of success is found in our journeys beyond the touchlines......"

The Black Monks surely epitomize these sentiments.

After the weekend, I wrote a letter to Benedictine College administrators telling them that the club performed admirably on the field in both matches. Though they did not win either match, they played hard, played fair and never let down. Off the field I dealt mostly with Jack and Nick who are excellent young leaders.  I encouraged the College to support the rugby club in an increasing way as this will only benefit the club's continued development. I received replies back from both the Dean of Students and the Director of Student Activities, both echoing my feeling about these fine young student-athletes. However, it was the response from Jack White that truly touched my heart. 

He wrote "First of all, thank you for the compliment. It means a lot to myself and to the entire team that you would report so positively. Thank you and I hope that Benedictine rugby is able to grow in the future and this opportunity is a stepping stone to further success.

Thank you Steve for this past weekend. I have spent approximately twelve years with a rugby ball in my hands and as it is a growing sport, there have been a lot of frustrations in the challenges that rugby as a whole faces. Four years with Benedictine rugby was an amazing opportunity to build a team that was player-coached, but it also was difficult overcoming the administrative and coaching struggles as a player. All that our team had worked for in the past four years built up to last weekend. I cannot thank you enough for putting it all together and allowing Benedictine to truly compete. To have the "rewards" of competing in a national playoff weekend makes me look back at my four years at Benedictine (and all the challenges that came with it) and feel grateful for what we have accomplished.

So thank you Steve for your contribution to legitimizing rugby and leaving myself and the rest of the Black Monks with the joy of playing more than just a recreational club sport during college."

So when people ask me why I spent countless hours of my time and energy on doing what I do...I just tell them it is for young adults like those called the Black Monks of Benedictine. I know many of you like me, burn the candle at both ends for the betterment of collegiate rugby, I just hope you likewise know the feeling I've just shared with you.