Rugby recruits for longer haul

Trevor Leard, Contributing Writer

The Pitt-Johnstown Rugby Club has started off as they did last season-with not enough members to play.

“We lost a lot of people due to graduation and transfers this year,” said club president Robbie Cernetich.

The team had to cancel the season’s first match last week due to too few players.

Recruiting has been the club’s No. 1 priority this year.

“Last year we didn’t really recruit at all; this year we’ve already done a lot of it,” said Cernetich.

But just getting the people to show up might be a challenge, because rugby is not a traditional interscholastic sport in the Greater Johnstown area. It is traditionally played in Europe.

“We try and recruit people by just throwing the ball around outside and try to get the kids walking by looking at us and tell them about our sport,” said Cernetich.

Team members also have been trying to recruit by hanging fliers in the sports and wellness center and delivering fliers under all the freshman doors.

Cernetich said the recruiting efforts have worked.

“We got four new recruits this week alone, so we should be all right,” he said.

Having enough players might not be the team’s only problem. The team has to deal with a challenge that school-sponsored teams do not have: They don’t have a paid head coach.

“A coach could not only motivate the team, but improve our performance on the field,” said Cernetich.

Cernetich acts as head coach, being the club’s president.

Club treasurer Adam Frerotte said the added burden wouldn’t hurt the club.

“Being college athletes, we hold ourselves responsible enough to handle not having a coach and truly work together as a team to further the club,” he said.