Wheeling, W. Va. – On Wednesday, the Goff Report released its annual fall awards honoring the Top 150 Forwards across Division I College Rugby. The Wheeling University Rugby team had two players on the freshman list Karimazondo Street and Larry Oud making the list. They are the first two Wheeling Rugby players to earn this honor since the 2019 season, and both players helped their team to the National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) Rhino Rugby Bowl victory.
The Wheeling Rugby team finished their 15-year season with a 7-2-1 record, qualifying for the first-ever NCR Rhino Rugby Bowl in Houston, Texas. They took on the defending DIAA champions Iowa Central Community College and came away with a hard-fought 29-24 win. Karimazondo and Old both played a big part in playing the ball around and making sure to find the open man on scoring opportunities.
“This is a great honor for these guys to be on the list, especially after their first semester in collegiate rugby,” said Wheeling Head Rugby Coach Mike Geibel. “As they grow and develop alongside the rest of the team over the next few years, we will have a very strong line-up.”
Karimazondo has contributed greatly on both sides of the ball this season and was part of one of the biggest games of the year for the team. With four minutes left against Davenport, Karimazondo scored the try to make it 27-22. Davenport would eventually tie the game as time went on, but Wheeling pushed a top Division I program to the limit thanks to Karimazondo’s big play.
“Rua is a dominant presence in the attackers for us,” Geibel said. “Whether he’s playing Lock or those forwards, we know we can count on him to bring intensity to every game. He’s a huge threat to our opponents in the lineout and doesn’t miss many tackles.”
Larry Oud came on the scene as a strong hooker for the Cardinals this season, controlling the perimeter of the field. He didn’t score on a try this season, but was an integral part of passing the ball around the field and managing scrums. Old is one of those role players who takes his part to heart and Geibel was impressed with how he played and what he brought to the table.
“Larry is another very talented player for us,” said Geibel. “He has really good instincts and is always ready to do the job on the pitch. He puts himself in a good position to steal the ball in rucks and has a huge enthusiasm for playing rugby.”
The Wheeling University Rugby team is now preparing for the spring season where they will compete in 7’s action. Wheeling qualified for the NCR Nationals event last season and aims to return to Texas again next spring. They will be playing against some of the top opponents, including the Pittsburgh Harlequins and the Pitt 7’s.
The Wheeling University Rugby team kicks off their spring season on Saturday, February 19, when they travel to the Pitt 7’s Tournament.