Rookie WSC Rugby Player Selected for All-Star Team: Nate Acrey will represent WSC in Dallas
Oct. 29, 2009 -- First-season Western State College of Colorado (WSC) rugby player Nate Acrey was selected to represent the Eastern Rockies (ERRFU) and Rio Grande (RGRFU) Rugby Football Unions at the Local Area Union Tournament in Dallas on Nov. 7.
Acrey will represent WSC and is one of 23 players selected to represent the unions, which is comprised of the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming, at the Local Area Union Tournament against select-side teams from across America.
“Being chosen for the select-side is a great honor, especially considering that Colorado is one of the major rugby states in America -- the select-side is something like that of an all-star team. Nate’s selection means that he is the best player at his position out of all of the players in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming,” said Greg White, WSC rugby coach. “The team is composed of the best players possible.”
Acrey’s selection also means that he is eligible to be selected for the west select-side, a team composed of the best players of the Eastern Rockies, Rio Grande, Heart of America, Great Plains, Ozark, Missouri, and Texas local area unions. If selected, Acrey will then be eligible for the Collegiate All-American team and possibly the national team, the USA Eagles.
A senior business administration major, Acrey, of East Highland, Calif., began his collegiate sports career at WSC as a running back for the football team. After the 2008 season, Acrey’s football eligibility expired. He was then persuaded by a rugby player to come to the rugby field, where he instantly transferred his talent and athleticism from football to rugby.
He played his first match as a substitute in the annual WSC alumni versus student match held on Homecoming Weekend in September. Acrey’s experience as a running back made him tough to tackle and his elusive running skills were vivid in his first touch of the ball. He broke through the tackles of experienced alumni and sprinted 60 meters for his first “try,” rugby’s version of a touchdown. Acrey’s try helped the student team obtain a victory over the alumni, one of only three wins in the 25-year history of the annual competition.
Acrey kept that momentum going throughout the season, scoring in almost every match WSC played. His try count at the end of league play totaled seven.
“This was an impressive feat, considering some rugby players will score that many in a decade of playing,” White said.
White added that Acrey’s offensive presence is equaled by his defensive determination and physicality.
“When Nate first came out for rugby, I thought that since he was a running back in football, his tackling would be poor and he would feign defensive contact, but he put away those fears in his first contact drill at practice,” White explained.
White nominated Acrey for the honor, but the nomination alone does not guarantee a spot on the side; select-side coach Rich Cortez ultimately makes the decision. Cortez’s selection came over the phone to an enthused Acrey, who is looking at the selection to develop his abilities and push himself against tough competition.
“I am excited to represent my teammates at Western and also my union,” Acrey said. “I can’t wait to do my part for the select-side; it really is good to know that hard work pays off.”