Simply the best…again: Greenwich rugby takes States for seventh time

The Greenwich High School rugby team scores the 34-5 victory over Fairfield in the state championship. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Greenwich High School rugby team scores the 34-5 victory over Fairfield in the state championship. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Connecticut high school rugby championship trophy has been around for the past six seasons and the only name that appears on the name plate is Greenwich High School.

The Greenwich High rugby team won the state championship with a 34-5 victory over Fairfield. — John Ferris Robben photo

The Greenwich High rugby team won the state championship with a 34-5 victory over Fairfield. — John Ferris Robben photo

Earlier today, the Cardinals added its name to the championship trophy once again, as Greenwich hosted the Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe combined team at Cardinal Stadium and came away with the convincing 34-5 victory.

“This feels great,” GHS senior Gardy Lebon. “I’m so excited. It’s my senior year and it’s really great to go out with a bang. Keeping the tradition going in winning the state championship was very important to me. Ever since the first day of the season, our goal was to win this championship.”

With the victory, Greenwich capped off yet another stellar season with its seventh consecutive state championship.

“It was great,” Greenwich High head coach Joe Kelly said. “Another state championship and the boys were very excited about the game. They were steady and secured the victory. It was a great finish to a great season. It’s one of the most enjoyable seasons that I have had. It’s a team effort. There is a dedication here where the school supports the program. The school knows that this is a great program and the kids come out.”

Leading the way for Greenwich was senior Mateo Gowland, who finished with one try and three conversions.

“This is very exciting,” Gowland said. “We’ve been going for this since the beginning of the season. This is one of the more important games that we’ve played this year. I am very glad that we came out on top. They came at us very hard and we had to make sure that we tackled them down. We needed to get the ball wide. Once they start spreading out, they cut it back inside. We had to change our strategy a little bit on offense. On defense we had to make sure we tackled them low. That’s exactly what we did.”

In addition to Gowland’s performance, Lebon paced the Cardinals with two trys. His second try happened with only seconds remaining in the championship game.

“I’m very happy for the try at the end,” Lebon said. “It was a team try there. It was the end of the game and I couldn’t be happier that my teammates rely on me to score. Every time I score, I rely on them to help me.”

Yok Nakayama finished with one try, as did Jack Freheit.

“It means the world to me to win this championship,” Freheit said. “We came out here as a team and played together. I am really proud with how we all came out and played our best. We had a great season leading up to this and getting the state championship is a great way to cap off a great season.”

To read much more on the game and a recap on the season, check out Thursday’s Greenwich Post.

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