Rugby & Hockey Teams Plan Ahead After Clinching State Championships


Members f the state championship rugby team (l) and ice hockey team (l) celebrate their victories.

History was made last year when two of PMHS’ varsity sports teams became the 2016-17 New York State champions. The Pelham Varsity Hockey and Rugby teams each brought home a championship. Before this year’s season jumps into full swing, many eager fans are waiting to see if the teams can do it again.

Having lost a heartbreaking twelve seniors from last year’s varsity line-up, some wonder if the newest generation of Pelican icemen can live up to the challenge.

“The skill is there, the speed isn’t,” sophomore Matt Reynolds says. “There are good hockey players skill-wise, but the team does not have as many fast skaters as last year.”

Pelham’s head coach Ed Witz has a more positive outlook for the season. Coach Witz believes that there will be some challenges, such as defense, but expects the returning players to provide motivation and drive the new players to bring another state championship home.
As for rugby, last season’s 31-26 defeat over the Play Rugby Academy secured the top spot at the D1 Tier 2 Championship last spring, making them the number one high school team in New York. With a record of 10-2, they competed against premiere teams for the title of State Champions at SUNY Binghamton in June of last season.

Although he sees a lot of talent, Coach Matt Persanis says, “We are going to have a tougher time this season.”

Despite immense pressure, the rugby team certainly has the motivation and talent to continue their legacy, and defend their title.

Both the Pelham Varsity Hockey and Rugby teams are gaining new players after many seniors graduated. Certain players will have to step up and try to lead the teams to another state victory. Both the coaches and players will have to devote themselves to their teams and work extra hard to live up to well-earned reputations as champions.