Rugby Team Victorious at States


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lapponese

The rugby team celebrates after making Rye toast, and claiming another state championship.

Stephan Akichy, Senior, Sports Editor

Pelham rugby found itself returning to a spot they last visited in 2017 — the winner’s circle of the New York State Championship. The Pelham varsity rugby team won the state final once again after defeating Rye in Binghamton. This year, the team was led by seniors Nick Lapponese, an eight-man, Jeremy Camiguel, prop, and Alex Walker, fullback.

“We worked really hard to come to this point and it is a huge accomplishment for us due to the fact that we had little support,” Lapponese said.

The rugby team was added as a varsity sport at Pelham Memorial High School in 2015 and has enjoyed huge success since, racking up three state titles.

The team went undefeated this year and dominated their competition every game. This included a 67-7 victory over The Harvey School to advance to the state semifinals after a forfeit by Section XI based in Long Island. In addition, the team secured a 58-4 victory over the Syracuse Club rugby team to advance to the state finals.

The team continued their hot streak in the state finals with a 23-10 win over Rye that secured a third state championship.

“It was great to see the team grow the way it did. We had a very young team this year that really stepped up and provided great play, but the heart of the team was the leadership from our seniors. They did a fantastic job leading and setting an example,” Coach Matt Persanis said. “The team showed everyone what hard work, dedication, and teamwork can do. Congrats to the team on its third state championship in five years.”