Junior Gents win opener of ’14 youth rugby season
The Aspen Times
The Junior Gents, the Roaring Fork Valley’s high school rugby team, opened the season with a bruising first league victory Saturday over the Titans in Denver area.
Despite returning ust four players from last year’s state championship team and a few late withdrawals, the Junior Gents rallied for a big 26-19 victory on a cold and blustery day in Parker.
Team captain Matt Williams, a returning All-American for the Junior Gents, opened the game with a 90-yard run for a try under the posts.
Kicker Robert Hiles of Glenwood Springs converted for an early 7-0 Junior Gents lead.
Rookie Javier Diaz then scored after 15 minutes following a powerful break by Felipe Martinez.
Hiles just missed the difficult conversion.
Newcomers Christian Martinez (Glenwood Springs) and hooker Olmer Marquez (Basalt) are standout wrestlers who made their rugby debuts. Marquez had a dazzling 50-yard run in the second half for the Junior Gents.
The team had to play a man down in the second half after a penalty.
“Matt Wampler was an integral component in keeping the Titans at bay,” said Junior Gents coach Gary Williams.
Still, the home side scored two breakaway tries to take a 19-12 halftime lead.
The Junior Gents tied the score on a converted Williams try in the second half.
“With the score now tied at 19-19, it was left to the irrepressible Felipe Martinez — the third Martinez brother to excel for the Gents in three years — to score the match-winner and, the talented Hiles converted to make the score 26-19 to the Junior Gents,” said Williams, the coach who led the Gentlemen of Aspen senior side to its first national championships in the mid-1990s.
The Junior Gents return to action immediately with a home game Saturday on their new field at Willits Park in the Basalt/El Jebel area on East Valley Road.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday against the Castle Rock Pirates.
Spectators are invited to the Saturday game, which features high school-age players from Basalt, Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. The Junior Gents, part of the Gentlemen of Aspen rugby club, practice at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at Willits.
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The camp not only let the players shake the rust off, but it opened a window into the soul of Michael Goerne. A Minnesota native, Goerne moved to Carbondale soon after graduating from Marist College in New York and is largely credited for the massive growth of lacrosse in the valley.