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KANSAS CITY BLUES RUGBY - NEWS AND EVENTS




Kansas City Blues Spring 2014 News and Events

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05.10.14 - Blues score go-ahead try to defeat Queensland Outback Barbarians 20-14
05.17.14 - Kansas City Blues Book of the Month Club. The Dirty Book Murder: A Rare Book Mystery
05.03.14 - Blues lose to Champion Metropolis RFC 24-10, complete conference season with impressive 10-4 record
04.19.14 - Rivalry Week! Kansas City Blues vs Kansas City RFC
04.12.14 - Blues turn back undermanned Columbus RFC 69-3 to move to 9-3
04.05.14 - Blues overcome Milwaukee 36-13, and secure 2nd place standing
03.29.14 - Blues pound Palmer 54-11, to win D1 spring home opener

03.22.14 - Blues win pre-season match at Wichita, look to Spring season opener against Palmer on March 29th

03.20.14 - The 2014 Kansas City Blues Yearbook is now available!
03.15.14 - Blues win Topeka St. Paddy’s Day Tournament

03.08.14 - Jr. Blues Win Jesuit Cup in Dallas, St Thomas Aquinas Undefeated and Ranked #9 Nationally
03.06.14 - Kansas City Blues raise over $32,000 for River of Refuge
02.25.14 - Blues Well Represented On Pathway To International Playing Honors

02.18.14 - Blues Brodie Orth Off To Eagle Camp

02.08.14 - Kansas City Blues Annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction recap

02.08.14 - Blues Announce 2014 Hall of Fame Induction


05.10.14 - Blues score go-ahead try in the 74th minute, hold on to defeat Queensland Outback Barbarians 20-14 in front of capacity crowd

Swope Park Soccer Village was buzzing on Saturday night, as the KC Blues defeated the visiting Queensland Outback Barbarians 20-14 in a thrilling match in front of over 1,000 fans inside the park’s new championship stadium. It was the largest crowd to ever come see a rugby match in Kansas City, and the first rugby match held at the 1,500-seat venue that played host to the women’s 2013 Big 12 Soccer Championship last November. Lead by two USA National Team trialists, flyhalf Ed Mills and lock Brodie Orth, the Blues starting lineup featured a potent mixture of home-grown local talent – including 9 players who first began playing rugby at KC area high schools - and stand-out athletes who played at local Universities or have come to KC from abroad, the Blues were up for the challenge the Australians were sure to bring.

Kansas City Blues vs. Queensland Outback Barbarians Highlights

Blues wing Marty Cummings opened the scoring for the Blues midway through the first half, with fullback Kelly Mercer converting, and adding a penalty kick before halftime to give the home side a 10-0 lead going into the break. The Barbarians utilized their deep bench, running out fresh legs in the second half and putting the Blues under continuous pressure. The tourists scored a well-earned try 10 minutes into the second half, hitting the conversion to bring the score to 10-7. Mercer converted another penalty kick opportunity to extend the Blues lead to 13-7, before the Barbarians struck back with another converted try in the 65th minute to take the lead 14-13, over the Blues. In the waning moments, Number 8 Kevin Schwartze, took matters into his own hands on a 30 meter break through heavy traffic in the 74th minute. Blues center Chris Julius (Newcastle RFC, NSW Australia) welcomed his fellow countrymen to Kansas City by finishing off the drive with a shifty run into the try zone for the go-ahead score. Mercer converted, putting the Blues ahead 20-14 with just 6 minutes to play. The Barbarians responded with a spirited drive deep into Blues territory, however the home side was able to hold on behind some stingy defense at the breakdowns, securing the 20-14 victory over the Australian tourists. For the Blues, Mills, winger Jack Vogt , and Captain and center Conner Smith lead a potent backline attack while forwards Orth, Schwartze, flanker Lloyd Saunders, and hooker Matt Hoover, were a force against the Australian attack.

The win over the Barbarians was the Blues first over an International Touring Side in over 20 years. From Queensland, Australia, the Barbarians are a side comprised of Australian players mainly from the regional areas away from Brisbane and South East Queensland, who may miss representative opportunities due to their location but aspire to play elite level rugby. They brought a 3-1 record on their current Tour into KC, with wins over Atlanta Old White, Charlotte RFC, and Nashville RFC. They will go on to play a series of games in Denver, and Salt Lake City, over the coming weeks before they wrap up their 2014 US Tour on the West Coast.

Prior to kick-off, fans were treated to a thrilling exhibition by Heartland Youth Rugby, as teams from the Colts Division (5th & 6th grades), and Hawks Division (7th & 8th grade) will played a series of matches beginning at 6:30pm. The Colts teams played Flag Rugby, while the Hawks teams played Tackle Rugby. At halftime, the Club celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 1993 & 1994 Blues Final Four teams in both 15s and 7s. Over the period of 19 months, from September 1992 – May 1994, the men on those Blues teams compiled a combined record of 65 wins and 16 losses, for a winning percentage of .800 en route to a 3rd place (1993) and 4th place (1994) finish at the 15s National Championships, book-ending a 2nd place finish at the 1993 Club 7s National Championship. Players from those great 7s and 15s sides assembled at midfield to be honored by the large crowd for their accomplishments in setting a new standard for the Blues 20 years ago.

The match against the Barbarians closed out the Blues 2013-2014 season, its first under Head Coach Aseri Batiratu. Batiratu and his staff of coaches including Mike Schlatter, Keith Engle, Peter Kruger, and trainer Rachel King, helped lead the Blues to an overall 17-4 record, including a runner-up finish in the Midwest’s Thunderbird Conference in USA Rugby’s Division 1. The Club now looks ahead to making the transition into the summer 7s season under Blues 7s Coach Scott Kram, and will launch the Sporting Club 7s Rugby Academy for high school and college players as part of the Blues’ expanding Rugby 7s program.


05.17.14 - Kansas City Blues Book of the Month Club. The Dirty Book Murder: A Rare Book Mystery

  Blues-Columbus Man of the Match Kevin Schwartze
 

Blues Alumni Tom Shawver has a mystery coming out with Random House (the first in a three-part series) that features a former rugby player who owns a used book story in the Brookside area of Kansas City. It is being published as an ebook on May and is available for $2.99.

Order from Amazon
Order from Barnes and Noble

Saturday, May 17th - Tom Shawver, owner and operator of the former Bloomsday Books, becomes a published author on May 13, when Random House releases his new e-book “The Dirty Book Murder.” It’s the first of a three-volume series, featuring murder and mayhem set in a Brookside used book store.

Tom will be at Aixois Bistro, 301 E. 55th Street, from 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, May 17. He’ll do a brief reading from the novel at 3:30 p.m. and will take your questions after the reading.


05.03.14 - Blues lose to Champion Metropolis RFC 24-10, complete conference season with impressive 10-4 record and 2nd place finish

The Blues completed their 2013-2014 D1 Thunderbird Conference season with a loss to league Champions Metropolis RFC, 24-10. Played at a neutral site in Iowa Falls, IA, the match dropped the Blues to 10-4 in Conference play, wrapping up the Club’s first D1 season playing in the tradition Midwest. Metropolis advances to the quarterfinal round of the USA Rugby D1 National Championships, where they’ll play Schuylkill River RFC, from Pennsylvania. The winner of that match will fave the winner of Life vs. NYAC, in the National Final Four.

Head Coach Aseri Batiratu’s Blues will take a 16-4 overall record into their May 10th showdown with the visiting Queensland Outback Barbarians, on tour from New South Wales, Australia. The Barbarians are currently 3-1 on tour, having lost their opener to New Orleans but defeating Atlanta Old White, Charleston RFC, and Charlotte Selects. They’ll play the Nashville RFC in a midweek game before the May 10th tilt with the Blues in Kansas City.

Kansas City Blues vs Metropolis Highlights


04.19.14 - Rivalry Week! Kansas City Blues vs Kansas City RFC

The Blues took on longtime local rival KC RFC in a set of non-conference matches on April 19th at the Shawnee Mission North High School stadium, and re-confirmed their place as Kansas City’s top Club by extending their current unbeaten streak over City to 8 years. The Blues D1 side defeated KC RFC’s A-side 41-6 despite the absence of a number of notable starters, and Blues 'A' beat the KC Rogues 67-7. Captain Conner Smith scored two first-half tries for the D1 side, and was handful for the City defense all day.

With a combined score of 108-12 over the united KC RFC/Rogues Club, the Blues preserved an undefeated spring season as the D1 moves out to a 16-3 overall record in 2013-2014.

The Blues are 9-3 in conference play, and sit in 2nd place as they look ahead to two remaining Thunderbird Conference games, 4/26 @ Palmer Dragons, and 5/3 against 1st place Metropolis in a game that could decide who wins the Conference Championship, and gets to advance to the D1 National Championships Quarterfinal round in Pittsburgh, PA on May 17th.

Following the Blues match, the future stars of the Blues came out as the Jr. Blues squared off against St. Thomas Aquinas in an exciting area high school match. Coming into the match as the #2 ranked Club side in the country, the Jr. Blues had been on a roll this spring having previously defeated Aquinas – the 9th-ranked high school team in the country – by a score of 24-0. The rematch was much more competitive, with Aquinas battling their way to a 18-17 lead with 7 minutes remaining, before a potent Jr. Blues attack regained the advantage with a go-ahead score in the final moments and held on for the victory.

Kansas City Blues vs KCRFC Highlights


04.12.14 - Blues turn back undermanned Columbus RFC 69-3 to move to 9-3

  Blues-Columbus Man of the Match Kevin Schwartze
 
Blues-Columbus Man of the Match
Kevin Schwartze
Photos Courtesy of Phil Peterson

The Blues enacted revenge for one of their 3 conference losses from the fall, thrashing an undermanned Columbus RFC side 69-3 at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park on April 12th. Sparked by lock Kevin Schwartze’s theft of the opening kick-off to Columbus and his ensuing 50 meter sprint into the try zone, the Blues never took their foot off the gas. Mathematically eliminated from Playoff contention, the 3rd place Ohio team struggled to field a full-force side for the 10-hour trip to KC. With a D1 conference record of 9 wins, and 3 losses, the Blues now control 2nd place, behind Metropolis RFC (Minneapolis, MN). The Blues D1 side is now 15-3 overall in 2013-2014.

In the Reserve match, Blues ‘A’ put in a very strong performance against the visiting Manhattan RFC, winning handily.

With two D1 conference matches to play, both the Blues and Metropolis are on a collision course for their rematch on May 3rd at a neutral site in Iowa Falls, that could decide the conference Championship. Only the conference Champion moves on to the USA Rugby D1 National Playoffs..


04.05.14 - Down at halftime, Blues rely on fitness and toughness to overcome Milwaukee 36-13, and secure 2nd place standing

The Blues traveled to Milwaukee, WI for D1 Thunderbird Conference play on April 5th, and met a stern challenge from their hosts as the Barbarians controlled the opening 40 minutes of the match, running out to a 10-5 halftime lead over the Blues. Trusting their superior fitness, finishing ability, and winning mentality, Head Coach Aseri Batiratu's boys rebounded with a scoring barrage in the final 25 minutes of the match to secure their 8th conference victory. With a D1 conference record of 8 wins, and 3 losses, the Blues now sit alone in 2nd place, behind Metropolis RFC (Minneapolis, MN). The Blues D1 side is now 14-3 overall in 2013-2014.

With 3 conference matches to play, both the Blues and Metropolis are on a collision course for their rematch on May 3rd at a neutral site in Iowa Falls, that could decide the conference Championship. Only the conference Champion moves on to the USA Rugby D1 National Playoffs. Click here for the full D1 Thunderbird Conference Standings.

The Blues ‘A’ side traveled to Wayne, NE this weekend to the renowned Battle on the Nebraska Prairie Tournament, featuring over 90 teams at Wayne State University. The Blues showed well on the Prairie, dropping an early match to Des Moines RFC, but bouncing back with a solid weekend.

Kansas City Blues vs Milwaukee Barbarians Highlights


03.29.14 - Blues pound Palmer 54-11, to win D1 spring home opener

The Blues resumed D1 Thunderbird Conference Play with a dominant performance against the Palmer Griffins on March 29th, recording their 7th conference victory in the 54-11 defeat in front of over 200 fans at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park. With a D1 conference record of 7 wins, and 3 losses, the Blues now sit on 2nd place behind Metropolis RFC (Minneapolis, MN), with 4 matches to play – including a rematch with Metropolis on May 3rd at a neutral site in Iowa that could decide the conference Championship.

Only the conference Champion moves on to the USA Rugby D1 National Playoffs. The D1 match headlined a full day of rugby at Swope. Opening the day, the area’s top high school teams the Jr. Blues and the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints squared off, with the Jr. Blues getting the better of their rivals en route to a 24-0 victory. Aquinas had previously beaten the Jr. Blues in February. The Jr. Blues, ranked 4th nationally amongst boys Club teams, will meet the 9th ranked single-school Saints again on April 19th in the rubber match of this rivalry series.

A college match between Kansas University and University of Central Missouri followed the high school game, with the UCM Mules defeating the Jayhawks. In the men’s Reserve grade match, the Blues ‘A’ defeated the KU Men’s club side.
UMKC vs. Benedictine closed out the day’s matches at 8:00pm, with UMKC getting the victory.

Kansas City Blues vs Palmer Chiropractic Highlights

KC Blues vs Palmer


03.22.14 - Blues win pre-season match at Wichita, look to Spring season opener against Palmer.

The Blues closed their undefeated pre-season with a victory against the Wichita Barbarians on Saturday, at Wichita. The Club’s First XV controlled their match against one of the region’s top D3 Clubs, winning 72-3. Perhaps even more impressive, the Blues ‘A’ held the Barbarians scoreless in the reserve match winning 25-0.

Next Up For The Blues: The Blues will resume D1 Thunderbird Conference Play against the Palmer Griffins on March 29th at 6:30pm, at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park.

Opening the day, the area’s top high school teams the Jr. Blues and the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints will square off at 11:30am at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park. Following the high school games, will be a college match between Kansas University and University of Central Missouri at 2:30pm, followed by a Blues ‘A’ game against KU Jayhawks club side. Headlining the evening will be the Thunderbird Conference D1 match between the Blues and Palmer College Griffins at 6:30pm, with UMKC vs. Benedictine closing out the day’s matches at 8:00pm.


03.20.14 - The 2014 Kansas City Blues Yearbook is now available!

  2014 Kansas City Blues Yearbook
 

Thank you to our supporters who've helped make the 2014 Blues Yearbook a success! This year's program is a 56-page, full-color production, featuring stories, photos, and advertisements and endorsements of the many businesses that support the Blues. It will be distributed at all of the Blues matches, events, and fundraisers throughout 2014, and includes advertisements for supporters of our local high school program affiliations: Jr. Blues, St. Thomas Aquinas Saints, Blue Valley RFC, and Shawnee Mission East Lancers.

Please visit our 'Sponsors' page on the Club's website, and support those who support the Blues!

We invite any businesses interested in supporting the Club, or any individuals who would like to join our 'Blues Brothers' supporters program, to visit our 'Sponsorship Opportunities' page and learn more about how you can help!



03.15.14 - Blues win Topeka St. Paddy’s Day Tournament, look ahead to final pre-season tune-up in Wichita before 3.29 home opener

The Blues opened up their pre-season with a Tournament Championship on March 15th, winning the Topeka St. Paddy’s Day Tournament. The Club used a mix of D1 and Reserves throughout the day, leveraging some strong depth en route to victories over KU, University of Nebraska, and the Omaha GOATS, on the way to the Championship game. In the Championship, the Blues defeated the KC Islanders 26-5.

In the opening match vs. KU, the First XV ran in a number of unanswered scores in the first 20 minutes, building a lead that the Reserves came in and extended to secure the victory.

In the second match, the Blues faced a very inexperienced side from Nebraska, and produced a similar result to the previous match with a lop-sided victory.

In the semifinals, the Blues faced a strong Omaha GOATS side and were tested in early on. Taking a 10-5 lead into the half, the Blues opened the second stanza with 2 quick tries. With a comfortable lead, the Blues worked in their Reserves and were able to score an additional try before full time, winning 29-10.

The Championship match against the KC Islanders was very physical – as expected – and the Blues were able to take a 12-5 lead going into halftime. In the second half, the Blues took control of the game and came away with the 26-5 victory.

It was a great full team effort by both the First XV and the Reserves. Ed Mills was a catalyst all day, setting up a number of breaks with his playmaking. Gannon Moore was a beast in attack, and the Blues had an outstanding debut at wing by Josh Spangler, who recently moved to KC from Atlanta where he played for the Atlanta Renegades.

Next Up For The Blues: The Blues will head to Wichita on March 22nd, for their final pre-season tune-up against the Barbarians, before resuming D1 Thunderbird Conference Play against Palmer on march 29th at Swope Park.

On March 29th, the Blues will host a full day of rugby. Opening the day, the area’s top high school teams will square off at 11:30am at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park. Following the Saints vs. Jr. Blues, will be a college match between Kansas University and University of Central Missouri, followed by a Blues ‘A’ game against KU Jayhawks club side.

Headlining the evening will be the Thunderbird Conference D1 match between the Blues and Palmer College Griffins at 6:30pm, with UMKC vs. Benedictine closing out the day’s matches at 8:00pm.

Kansas City Blues at the Topeka St. Pats Tournament


03.08.14 - Jr. Blues Win Jesuit Cup in Dallas, St Thomas Aquinas Undefeated and Ranked #9 Nationally

The local High School rugby programs with very close ties to the Kansas City Blues have continued their winning ways this spring. The SM East Lancers, coached by current Blues player Panama Hoover, scored a landmark victory for the program last week, defeating the Park Hill South Panthers 26-19 on March 8. Despite working through a rebuilding year, Park Hill is a very strong program with a great tradition – including an appearance at the National Invitational Tournament last season.

St. Thomas Aquinas, coached by former Blues players Tim Kluempers and Pete Kowalski, have continued their winning ways after taking the Championship at the Oklahoma Rugby Showdown in late February. The Saints are undefeated this season, having gone 3-0 in Oklahoma, and 3-0 against local competition since then. The Saints depart for a tour of Ireland this weekend, where they’ll play a series of matches against Irish Club sides over the course of 10 days.

St. James, coached by former Blue Craig Smith, have had depth issues and as a result have joined up with the Saints for the remainder of the season, ensuring their young players get an opportunity to play. The Olathe Gentlemen, coached by former Blues Jay Allen and Jerry Rutherford, have had similar issues fielding a full side but have been able to play, most recently teaming up with Blue Valley, coached by fellow Blues Paul Tripp, Mike Schlatter, and Matt Tanner.

The Jr. Blues, coached by former Blues Eddie Cummings, Chris Lawler, Chuck McKeon, and Joe Fridkin, and managed by Scott Tripp, traveled to Dallas this past weekend compete in the Dallas Jesuit Classic and came away winners, beating Katy 21-12 in the final. The Jr. Blues, the #9 ranked U19 team heading into the weekend, beat Union out of Oklahoma, and knocked off #6 ranked Colorado Springs, on their way to the final. Jr. Blues flyhalf Sam Chapman was named man of the match in the championship game.

The Saints and the Jr. Blues are on a collision course to their March 29th meeting at Swope Park. The area’s top high school teams will square off at 11:30am to kick-off a full day of rugby hosted by the KC Blues RFC at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park. Following the Saints vs. Jr. Blues, will be a college match between Kansas University and University of Central Missouri, followed by a Blues ‘A’ game against KU Jayhawks club side. Headlining the evening will be the Thunderbird Conference D1 match between the Blues, and Palmer College Griffins. Don’t miss any of it!


03.06.14 - Kansas City Blues Blues raise over $32,000 for River of Refuge

Rooftop Blues - Kansas City Blues and River of Refuge

In February 2014, the Blues announced a unique partnership with River of Refuge. Local community leader John Wiley founded River of Refuge in 2009 after he witnessed a group of children loading a school bus from the parking lot of an old, run-down motel near his home in Raytown, Mo. River of Refuge was created to specifically address thousands of working families who have become trapped in pay-by-the-week motels throughout Greater Kansas City and into the suburbs.

An estimated 400 working families are now living in motels with their children on any given night throughout the metro. Blues Hall of Famer Kirk Miles connected the Blues with John, and in March the Blues partnered in the inaugural Rooftop Blues, an attention-getting fundraiser to help open the city's first-of-its-kind comprehensive transitional housing dedicated solely to assisting families trapped in pay-by-the-week motels. On Thursday, March 6, players ascended the rooftop of River of Refuge at the former Park Lane Hospital building at 5155 Raytown Road, intending to stay up there and 'camp-out for cash' for as long as it took to raise $25,000. The funds would benefit River of Refuge, a soon-to-open 11-unit apartment complex designed to offer resources and transitional refuge to homeless working parents and their children.

Over the course of 48 hours, 31 players and coaches spent time on the roof - with each staying at least one overnight - raising money for River of Refuge. Local Television stations KMBC 9, Fox 4, KCTV 5, and KSHB KC Live all provided daily coverage, and the Blues social media push via Facebook and Twitter did the rest. As of 6:30pm on March 8th, the Blues had eclipsed their goal of $25,000 by raising $29,498.35 for River of Refuge! As of March 15th, donations reached $32,000 for River of Refuge! We couldn’t feel more fortunate to be a part of such an incredible event, and truly appreciate all of the support.

Special thanks to John Wiley and Kirk Miles for letting the Blues get involved in such an important project, to all of the people who helped organize the event, and to the players for putting in their time on the roof. And thanks especially to the countless donors who made this happen! Kansas City is a better place because of this kind of generosity and partnership.

Donate Now

More information on the Rooftop Blues Event can be found at www.rooftopblues.com.
More information on River of Refuge can be found at http://www.riverofrefuge.com.


02.25.14 - Blues Well Represented On Pathway To International Playing Honors

  Kansas City Blues Gannon Moore
 
Gannon Moore
Photo Courtesy of Phil Peterson

In the past few months the Kansas City Blues have made a large splash in International rugby waters, as 8 players within the Blues organization have established themselves on the pathway to representing their country at the highest levels.

Over the summer Ed Mills was selected to attend his first US National Team assembly, and was later chosen to play for the USA Selects in the America’s Rugby Championships in October against development sides from Canada, and Argentina. Ed was closen as the Blues 2013 Backline Player of the Year.

In December, Kenny Scott and Walt Elder were picked to play 7s for the storied Atlantis side in Trinidad & Tobago. The two were also chosen to play for Atlantis at the Las Vegas Invitational, and helped lead the team to a quarterfinal finish. Elder, who played for the KC7A side this summer and is a senior at K-State, Captained Atlantis in Vegas, while Scott – a former 2-time Blues 7s Player of the Year - scored 2 tries against the Chilean National Team. Gannon Moore was also invited to play in Las Vegas for The Selects, and despite being selected to their premier side through a trials process that week, was concussed in a scrimmage against the Canadian National Team Reserves and was not able to play in the actual tournament.

Lock Ben Nelson, who played for the Blues in 2011 & 2012 before heading overseas to further develop his game in Australia , and then France, is now playing in the Christchurch Rugby competition in New Zealand. After helping his club team to the Premier Championship, the 6’9 Ben was selected to play representative rugby for the Canterbury metro team (ITM Canterbury reserve side team). Early this February Ben was invited to play for the Crusader Knights in a preseason game against the Crusaders Super Rugby side. Two weeks later Ben has been invited to the Knights camp to play a trial game along with 60 other prospects, including players such as Zac Guilford and many other All Blacks hopefuls. Ben has also been invited to the Knights Academy to participate in position specific training and hopes to catch on with an ITM side in the future, likely earning him a future invitation to the US National Team assemblies ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

  Kansas City Blues John Knutsen
 
John Knutsen
Photo Courtesy of Phil Peterson

This past week, Blues 2013 Forward of the Year winner Brodie Orth, attended the US Eagles camp on February 19th – 23rd , at Life College in Atlanta, GA. The 6’6 lock and back-rower played for the Blues in 2011, and rejoined the Club in August 2013. He lead a formidable forward pack that became a force in the Midwest this past fall, and will be the Club’s 2nd representative at a USA National Team assembly in the past 12 months. The Atlanta camp served as a trial for domestic-based players, as the Eagles look to finalize selections for the side that will compete against Uruguay in 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifying matches on March 22nd and March 29th.

In the coming week, former St. Thomas Aquinas & K-State standout and current Blue John Knutsen will be joining Blues 2013 Reserve Player of the Year and Most Improved Player Eirik Hartley at the Norwegian National Team assembly. The assembly begins in a few days, and upon completion of the camp, Eirik will be headed to New Zealand to play for the next year and John will be staying in Norway to play a season in the homeland of his grandparents. John Knutsen was a member of the inaugural rugby class at St. Thomas Aquinas back in 2007. He went on to play scrumhalf and flyhalf from 2008-2012 at K-State. Upon graduation John returned to Kansas City and played 7's for the inaugural season of the Kansas City 7s Academy and then continued on with the Blues into the Fall 15's season.

Congratulations to each of these players on their outstanding individual accomplishments, as they seek out higher honors as athletes and rugby players. We’re confident each of them will continue to represent the Blues well as they continue on the pathway to International rugby.


02.18.14 - Blues Brodie Orth Off To Eagle Camp

  Kansas City Blues Brodie Orth
 
Brodie Orth
Photo Courtesy of Phil Peterson

The Blues are excited to announce that 2013 Forward of the Year winner, Brodie Orth, has been selected to attend the US Eagles camp on February 19th – 23rd , at Life College in Atlanta, GA. The 6’6 lock and back-rower played for the Blues in 2011, and rejoined the Club in August 2013. He lead a formidable forward pack that became a force in the Midwest this past fall, and will be the Club’s 2nd representative at a USA National Team assembly in the past 12 months. The Atlanta camp will serve as a trial for domestic-based players, as the Eagles look to finalize selections for the side that will compete against Uruguay in 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifying matches on March 22nd and March 29th.

Brodie began playing at Park Hill High School, has played for Tawa RFC in Wellington NZ, and was a stand-out on the Pearl City RFC teams that made it to back-to-back D1 Final Fours in 2009 and 2010 before returning to Kansas City and playing with Northland RFC.

The Blues are very proud of Brodie’s selection, and wish him luck in Atlanta!


02.08.14 - Kansas City Blues Annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction recap

The Kansas City Blues celebrated the completion of our 48th season (1966-2013) on February 8, 2014 at Grand Street Café on the Country Club Plaza, during the annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction.

The banquet room at Grand Street was filled to capacity, as over 130 current and former players, supporters, friends, and family came together to celebrate the Blues organization, award members for outstanding play and service, and witness the induction of the Blues HOF Class of 2013.

The attendees were treated to the Club’s new promotional footage, as well as a highlight film from the fall 2013 season. Kirk Miles and John Wiley spoke on behalf of the Blues newest philanthropy partner, River of Refuge, and Jay Allen recalled the incredible run the 1993 & 1994 15s and 7s teams made. The players from those teams in attendance were recognized for setting a new standard of excellence for the Club in en route to 3 successive Final Four appearances over the period of 19 months, with a combined record of 65 wins and only 16 losses, for a winning percentage of 80%.

During the awards ceremony, Club trainer Rachel King was recognized for her outstanding service to Club, and was given the Jim Lyons award for outstanding service by a non-player. Current player Kevin Schwartze was recognized as well, winning the Pat O’Neal award for outstanding service to the Club by a player. Kevin was also given the Robert Willson Courage Award, in recognition of the inspirational and selfless leadership he has given the Club in the face of personal adversity.

The Player Awards were nominated and voted on by the current players and active Club membership. Kevin Schwartze was chosen as 7s Player of the Year for the second straight year, and James Poli was chosen as the 7s Academy Player of the Year, a new honor in 2013. Backline player Eirik Hartley was honored with the Most Improved Player Award, as well as the Reserve Player of the Year. Two of the Blues’ National Team Trialists were honored, as lock Brodie Orth, who rejoined the Club in the fall of 2013, was selected as the Forward of the Year, and fullback/center Ed Mills was chosen as the Back of the Year.

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Scott Kram
 

The Hall of Fame induction followed the awards ceremony, with 2 Blues legends taking their place in the honored group of former players, a distinction that was created in 1996.

Scott Kram, a center and former Kansas State University player, was the first member inducted on Saturday evening. Introduced by former teammate Dr. Dow Richards, Scott Kram joined the Blues in 1994 following a 4-year collegiate career that began in 1989 at KSU. Playing flyhalf and center for the Blues, Scott was a mainstay on some of the Blues’ most successful teams during his 10-year career from ’94-‘04. A member of the 1994 Final Four team, a number of Western Championship teams, and the starting flyhalf on the 2001 & 2002 Super League Semifinalist teams, Scottie was selected to the West Mustangs Representative side 3 times, Blues Backline MVP once and played 7s for the Blues teams that made multiple trips to the National Championships including their 2nd place finish in 2000, and played for the Classic Eagles at the 2002 World Rugby Classic in Bermuda. After retiring from competitive play, Scottie began coaching for the Blues in 2008. He took over as Head Coach of the 15s team for 1 season in 2012 after serving as an assistant since 2010, and has been a driving force behind the Blues resurgent 7s program, coaching the 7s team to a 98-37-1 record since 2008, with a winning percentage of .721. Under Scott Kram, the Blues qualified for the Las Vegas Invitational in 2010, and the 7s National Championships in 2012. Along with coaching the Blues 7’s Squad, Scott is also the Coaching Director of the 7s Rugby Academy, promoting sevens rugby to regional high school and collegiate athletes.

  Kansas City Blues Hall of Fame Steve Robke
 

Following Scott Kram into the HOF was former back-row and 7s stand-out Steve Robke. Introduced by former teammate Michael Skahan, Steve Robke joined the Blues in 1997, in the middle of a decorated career that began in 1988 at Kansas State University. A 2-time Collegiate All-American at KSU in ’91 and ’92, Steve played for the Palmer Griffins from ‘93-‘96, helping lead the team to the D1 Final Four in 1995 and earning selection as Palmer’s ‘Forward of the Decade’ for the ‘90s. As a Kansas City Blue from 1997-2003, Steve was a stand-out in both 7s and 15s, and was a member of the 7s National Championships 2nd place team in 2000, and the 2001 & 2002 Super League Semifinalist teams. Steve represented the West Mustangs multiple times in 7s, helping lead them to the 7s ITT Championship in 2001. First selected to the United States Eagles in 1995, Steve was an uncapped member of the 15s side but represented the 7s side 4 times between ’95-’96. In 1999 Steve returned to the Eagles 7s team, where he earned more than 20 more caps on the IRB Series through 2001. During his 7 years with the Blues, Steve was chosen as Forward of the Year 3 times.

The night was capped off with the traditional 'Bronc & Teddy Awards', with Kenny Scott being honored as this past year’s Bronc, and Beth Larson winning the prestigious Teddy Award.

The Kansas City Blues would like to thank Derek & Paige Mannell for organizing the Banquet, as it could not have gone off without their support. Additionally, the Blues would like to thank Steve Wubbenhorst, Pete Kowalski, Eirik Hartley, and Matt Hoover for their contributions to the evening's presentation.


02.08.14 - Blues Announce 2014 Hall of Fame Induction

  Kansas City Blues James Clark
 
Scott Kram
Kansas City Blues 2014 Hall of Fame
The Blues are proud to announce the selection of legends Scott Kram and Steve Robke for induction as the newest members into the Blues Hall of Fame, with the ceremony to be held at the Club’s Annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction on February 8th, 2014 at Grand Street Café, on the Country Club Plaza.

Scott Kram joined the Blues in 1994 following a 4-year collegiate career that began in 1989 at Kansas State University. Playing flyhalf and center for the Blues, Scott was a mainstay on some of the Blues’ most successful teams during his 10-year career from ’94-‘04. A member of the 1994 Final Four team, a number of Western Championship teams, and the starting flyhalf on the 2002 Super League Semifinalist team, Scottie was selected to the West Mustangs Representative side 3 times, played 7s for the Blues teams that made multiple trips to the National Championships including their 3rd place finish in 2000, and played for the Classic Eagles at the 2002 World Rugby Classic in Bermuda. After retiring from competitive play, Scottie began coaching for the Blues in 2008. He took over as Head Coach of the 15s team for 1 season in 2012 after serving as an assistant since 2010, and has been a driving force behind the Blues resurgent 7s program, coaching the 7s team to a 98-37-1 record since 2008, with a winning percentage of .721. Under Scott Kram, the Blues qualified for the Las Vegas Invitational in 2010, and the 7s National Championships in 2012.

  Kansas City Blues James Clark
 

Steve Robke
Kansas City Blues 2014 Hall of Fame

Steve Robke joined the Blues in 1997, in the middle of a decorated career that began in 1988 at Kansas State University. A 2-time Collegiate All-American at KSU in ’91 and ’92, Steve played for the Palmer Griffins from ‘93-‘96, helping lead the team to the Final Four in 1995 and earning selection as Palmer’s ‘Forward of the Decade’ for the ‘90s. As a Kansas City Blue from 1997-2003, Steve was a stand-out in both 7s and 15s, and was a member of the National Championships 3rd place team in 2000, and the 2002 Super League Semifinalist team. Steve represented the West Mustangs multiple times in 7s, helping lead them to the 7s ITT Championship in 2001. First selected to the United States Eagles in 1995, Steve was an uncapped member of the 15s side but represented the 7s side 4 times between ’95-’96. In 1999 Steve returned to the Eagles 7s team, where he earned more than 20 more caps on the IRB Series through 2001. During his 7 years with the Blues, Steve was chosen as Forward of the Year 3 times, and was a rare 2-time winner of the Bronc Award.

Please join us on February 8th as we honor the careers of two great Blues players and Club members!

The evening will also include Player & Club Member Awards.

A catered buffet, open bar for beer & wine, cash bar for cocktails, music, and elegant setting will ensure that all attendees have a wonderful time celebrating a successful 2013 for the Kansas City Blues Rugby Football Club in which we again reached the first round of the D1 National Playoffs in May, launched the KC 7s Academy Program in June, won a Western Qualifier Event and came within 1 win of a repeat trip to the 7s National Championship Tournament in August, and joined the Midwest’s D1 Thunderbird Conference with an impressive 6-3 start in the fall.

Kansas City Blues Rugby Club
www.kcblues.org