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Sunshine appears for Rugby Alumni Weekend

A rare Arizona rainstorm threatened to dampen Thunderbird’s Rugby Alumni Weekend on Feb. 28 and March 1, 2014, but the sun appeared minutes before kickoff for the annual game between the students and “Old Boys.” Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association President Chuck Hamilton ’91 said neither side worried about the weather anyway. “Rain is not an issue,” he said. “It slows everybody down the same.”

The alumni team fared better than in 2013, but the students pulled away at the end for a 33-17 win. “We had a lot of younger legs on our team this year, and that helped,” Hamilton said. Overall, about 60 alumni from class years 1984 to 2013 returned to campus for a welcome reception, speed networking event, rugby match and awards banquet. The most veteran players on the field were Katsuo Takeda ’86 and Bill McColl ’86.

Spectator Robin Stephens ’85, a British importer and exporter based in Japan, traveled the farthest to join the weekend activities. He said Thunderbird’s rugby tradition plays an important role in binding the worldwide community together. “Rugby instills friendship and camaraderie,” he said. “You play as a group to achieve your goals.”

Thunderbird’s Alumni Relations Office contributed $1,500 to help offset the costs of the post-game banquet, designed to raise money for the student club’s annual trip to the MBA Rugby World Cup at Duke University. Award recipients at the banquet included Jeremy Fritzhand ’14 and Tim Riesen ’98, the “Man of the Match” for the students and alumni, respectively.

View high-resolution versions of the following photos (plus 52 more) at Thunderbird’s Flickr channel.