By Alfonso De Falco
Whether it was from a recruitment trip or seeing an event on campus, Luis Carpio, Brian Roth and Patrick Hogan each had an interest in SBU Rugby. These guys have looked back on their years while dressing for the brown and white.
“My first experience with the team was actually on my recruitment trip during my senior year of high school. As soon as I got here, everyone welcomed me, including professors from my major. The Bonaventure system was very welcoming to me,” Carpio recalled.
Despite not playing in high school, Hogan wanted to play sports in college and was open to try something new. However, Hogan admitted that he was nervous at first.
“One, I did not know rugby. Two, I did not know anybody on the team or at the school. I was just beyond nervous as an 18-year-old kid walking into a two-day camp with kids that I have never met before,” Hogan said.
Once the practice started, Hogan started to feel comfortable in the environment.
“Guys were talking to me and introducing themselves. Before you know it, they were all helping me out with learning the game,” Hogan said.
Roth played high school rugby in Syracuse and wanted to continue playing in college.
“When I visited ‘Spring into Bona’s,’ I contacted the head coach, Clarence Picard, and mentioned I was interested in playing rugby. I was able to meet Clarence, as well as a couple of other guys on the team at the time,” Roth said. “From that event and talking with the players, I knew I wanted to come here.”
Hogan recalled the end of his freshman season when the team traveled to Pittsburgh to play Dartmouth in the Elite 8. He said it’s one of his favorite memories. Hogan remembered looking at the crowd during the game and feeling the positive energy.
“All of a sudden, I look over and more than 80 percent of the people in the crowd were Bonaventure fans, friends and family. The place was erupting and it was one of the coolest moments I remember,” said Hogan.
Carpio also recalled his freshman year as one of the best memories. He said his first career college game will always be a special memory for him.
“My first college game was against Wheeling Jesuit. It was just an overwhelming experience and something I will always remember,” Carpio said.
After five years with the club, Hogan looks back on how he has changed during his time here.
“Coming in, I wanted to learn from the older guys, listen to what they had to say and be the best I can be to support them,” Hogan said. “I think it happens to everyone, not necessarily on how to be a better rugby player, but how to be a Bonnie and look out for teammates.”
Moving on from the playing side, the guys are excited to see the future of this team. Roth knows there are a good number of recruits coming in, and with the way the freshman and sophomore class have performed, the team will improve sooner rather than later.
“It is going to be a young team. In two years, when the sophomores are seniors, the freshmen are juniors and each incoming class getting better and better, St. Bonaventure Rugby will possibly be able to compete against the likes of Kutztown, Penn State and Army,” Roth said.
Carpio said the coaching staff and the younger players on the roster will take the leadership role once the seniors leave and contribute to further success of the club.
“Tui Osborne is also doing a great job bringing these guys in. Not only that, but the culture that he brings to the team, he makes the guys really want to work hard for that Bona B on their chest,” Carpio said.
Being a member of both the 15s and 7s team at St. Bonaventure, Hogan has seen first-hand how the younger players will be a special group of young men for this team down the road.
“I see their willingness to get better, hard work ethics and the fact that they are just a family. I see them passing that along to the future, overall building the program piece-by-piece to the point where five years down the line I would not be surprised if they are national contenders in 15s and 7s,” Hogan said.