In a close game of southwestern college rugby heavyweights, the Highlands Vatos bested the well coached UNM Lobos 20-10 in Perkins Stadium last Saturday. UNM had beaten NMSU and N.M. Tech earlier this month suggesting, indirectly, that Highlands was the current de facto leader among state universities. The Man of the Match, ex RMAC football standout and graduate student, Andy Endermann, was a force with the ball in hand as he crossed the try line with useless tacklers holding on.
Although UNM and NMSU have 10-20 times the student populations as Highlands, the Vatos certainly field very competitive teams compared to them. N.M. Tech has similar student numbers as Highlands. Rugby and soccer are the only sports available at N.M. Tech, so they have some advantage there. The D2 varsity sports at Highlands help support the rugby club with transitional student athletes. Nevertheless, most Vatos are not varsity athletes at Highlands. By allowing graduate students, alumni, part-time students and community members to play (~20% of club), Highlands is not allowed to compete nationally in the College Division. Thus, Highlands must compete in the generally more difficult men’s division. Obviously, each school has advantages and disadvantages in supporting club rugby.
The Vatos begin conference games this Saturday, as they host El Paso Rugby Club after the Cowboy football game in Perkins Stadium. Kickoff will be at approximately 4 p.m.. Everyone is welcome.