Kiski Valley rugby team picks program to emulate
TribLIVE Sports Videos
As Kiski Valley Rugby enters its inaugural season, one thing is certain: The club will have formidable competition from its neighboring program.
Kiski Valley can learn a thing or two from 2010 state champion Burrell, which boasts a 53-9 record in its eight-year existence.
Kiski Valley coach Seth Erwin has seen, what Burrell has done to become successful; he was an assistant with the Buckheads from 2009-12.
“What I learned there was to teach new players efficiently and quick enough to where they are ready to start a season,” Erwin said. “Just watching how (Burrell coach Ron Zanella) approached it with rookies was a huge learning experience.”
Erwin has set a simple yet lofty goal for his team.
“The first season, I want to be competitive,” Erwin said. “I don't want to be a normal first-year program that comes in and gets beat by every team they play. We want to feel the competitive side. It's shooting high, but I'd like to make (the state tournament).
“Even being in the tournament would be a huge success with ultimately rookies.”
Kiski Valley plays in RugbyPA's Under-19 league which allows it to pull players from different schools such as Kiski Area, Leechburg, Kittanning and Apollo-Ridge. The team is led by junior eight man Kris Smith, Kiski Area junior and fly-half player Andrew Carson and senior scrum-half player Brandon Fairman.
Kiski Valley's style of play will mirror Burrell's, according to Erwin.
“We are going to come straight at you, and you have to stop us,” Erwin said. “It's more of a smash-mouth type of rugby.”
The thought of starting a team began when Erwin was approached by a few students who showed interest in the sport. Seventeen committed players later — and with the backing of the Kiski Valley Lancers youth football board — Kiski Valley Rugby was born.
Kiski Valley and Burrell met once in a friendly, with Burrell prevailing, 5-0. The two teams will square off again April 12 during the regular season.
“It's a friendly rivalry,” Zanella said. “It's a kind of rivalry where you can joke around before the game, then play, then joke around after.”
Leading the way for the Buckheads will be senior eight man Matt Hess, senior hooker Corey Klems and junior fly-half Nick Kastelik.
Burrell is missing six starters because of basketball and wrestling, and according to Zanella is in a state of transition. The team has only two returning starters.
The biggest challenge, Zanella said, is getting the missing players into rugby form when they return.
Kiski Valley will open league play March 22 against South Hills. Burrell begins league competition April 5 against Woodland Hills.
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tomlin: Penalties only one factor in Steelers’ loss
- Steelers film session: Harrison on the field often
- Women sues over injuries she blames on Pittsburgh EMS
- District college roundup: No. 22 Slippery Rock eases past Seton Hill
- No one way to fix Western Pennsylvania’s heroin problem, report says
- Steelers are vowing to fix the costly penalties, lack of self-discipline
- Neil Diamond bringing tour to Consol Energy Center
- Prosecutors float possibility of jail time for former Justice Melvin
- Paper or paper? California bans single-use plastic bags
- Mental health facility won’t take Franklin Regional stabbing suspect as patient
- Authorities accuse South Fayette commissioner of insurance fraud