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Triton rugby program makes the most of tumultuous offseason

Photo by Paul DeCoursey Fort Dodge Senior High graduates Jacob Laird (left) and Dalton Summers are on the Iowa Central rugby roster.

In the span of just a few short seasons, the Iowa Central rugby program has built itself into a national title contender on a yearly basis.

For Brent Nelson, that has always been the goal.

Nelson, a native of Humboldt who played basketball for Iowa Central, embarks on his fifth season in control of Triton rugby. And while he admits the final result of another title remains in question due to the ongoing pandemic, that isn’t stopping him from moving forward.

“It’s been difficult for everybody,” Nelson said. “As a young person, I think that having something to strive for is important. This pandemic is making this very fluid for all involved but I just really commend our guys for involving themselves in the process. That has been really big because they have come together in the weight room and in practices, working to improve their skills and rugby IQ.

“I know it has been hard for them, but they have done a great job improving in such a weird semester with testing and all the unknowns that come with that right now.”

Iowa Central has multiple national titles already on the resume, along with sending players on to four-year schools. The roster continues to remain strong adding in Fort Dodge Senior High graduates Dalton Summers and Jacob Laird this season.

“We tell the kids that if they maintain good grades, work hard, behave and listen, you will get the opportunity to play,” Nelson said. “I believe in giving kids an opportunity.

“Both Dalton and Jacob have put in a lot of time on their own working with strength coach Miguel Secor and they have really come a long way. You couldn’t ask for two nicer young people to represent Fort Dodge on our rugby team.”

The Tritons also return U20 All-America selection Lane Pruisner, a native of Ankeny, Dakota Southworth from Cedar Falls and captain Hugo Minnaar.

Iowa Central opens its season on Saturday at Davenport University in Michigan.

2021 IOWA CENTRAL RUGBY

Schedule

March 6 — at Davenport; 13 — at Kansas; 27 — Lindenwood.

April 10 — vs. Queens at Marian; at Marian; 17 — at Indiana; 24 — Illinois.

Roster

Iowa Players

Javarious Burris, Waterloo; Dylan Heiselman, Waterloo; Jacob Laird, Fort Dodge; Michael McDonald, Waterloo; Lane Pruisner, Ankeny; Edmon Rabeh, Des Moines; Javier Sanchez, Waukee; Dakota Southworth, Cedar Falls; Dalton Summers, Fort Dodge; Dre’Von Strickland, Des Moines; Tavius Sykora-Matthess, Cedar Rapids; Mamadee Tullay, Des Moines; Nathan Veal-Cox, Mason City; Michael Witt, Ankeny.

Out-Of-State Players

Jeorge Brinda, Minnesota; Collin Buteyn, Wisconsin; Zavier Ellis, Wisconsin; Herbert Evans, Kansas; Aiden Farrell, Wisconsin; Tanner Gliem, Minnesota; Jon Goeppner, Illinois; Daniel Hayes, Arizona; Jake Holmstrom, Nebraska; Terrence James, Florida; Alex Kennach, Indiana; James Kuahiwinui, Washington; Jaden Love, Ohio; Ledonn Mathis, Ohio; Hugo Minnaar, South Africa.

Raymond Niec, Wisconsin; Alex Pasa, New York; Clifton Paterson, Minnesota; Tony Robinson, Florida; Christopher Santos, California; Gus Sokol, Ohio; Christian Stanback, Connecticut; Raykyle Taisague, Washington; Elijah Valle, Florida; Philip Woodhouse, New Zealand; Kobe Yossef, Massaschusetts.

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