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Western Washington's captain Louis Henson charging ahead

Western Washington opened its Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference campaign with a comprehensive 56-0 defeat of Western Oregon Saturday in Bellingham, Wash.

The game was the Vikings’ first on a brand new Robert S. Harrington Field – a multipurpose turf field used for Western’s soccer teams, as well as rugby and lacrosse. It’s full-sized for rugby and has a scoreboard and permanent seating.  

“The new facility is terrific,” said Western coach Paul Horne. “The team was very excited to play their first match on this new field and came up with a good performance in front of a crowd estimated to be about 600 fans. We had a number of young players visiting the campus and it was a great opportunity for us to promote the school and our program.”

The Vikings managed to score nine tries while shutting out a determined opposition. Leading the way was Wiatt Vasay (Lynden HS)  with two tries. Gio Trujilo (Hazen HS), Sam Carroll (Tacoma Tsunami), Anthony Fleck (Chuckanut Bay), Noah Hanks, Nick Bonovich ( Dixon HS, CA), Milo Holston (Winthrop, WA) and Ryan Glendenning (Budd Bay) also score solo tries.

The Vikings are now 1-0 in conference play, and coupled with a big offseason win, confident about a resurgent season. They had a great campaign in 2012/2013, making a run to the DI-AA final four, but last year struggled with a lot of turnover.

“Last season was a result of graduating key skill players at numbers 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 12 and 15. Factor that in with our Canada U20 number 10 transferring to UBC, add on a couple of injuries, and we struggled,” said Horne.

“Other than the CWU match, we were in all the games. The experience young players got from playing time will be key in our season going forward. Combine this with our 47-6 win over Oregon State in late November, it is fair to say that we are excited about our chances and looking forward to the Northwest Collegiate Conference schedule.”

Up next is a tussle with Oregon in Eugene Saturday.