Kansas City Blues Spring 2012 News and Events
05.13.12 - Blues Become Second Club in USA Rugby History to Advance Two Sides to Divisional Elite Eight
Blues D1 Side Defeats EPA Bulldogs 22-13, D3 Defeats Budd Bay Barbarians 40-24 in the USA Rugby National Championship Series Round of Sixteen in their respective Divisions at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, but both fall in Quarterfinals on Sunday.
Chula Vista, CA - The KC Blues capped off an incredible season on May 13th, as both the First XV and the Reserves won their Sweet 16 matches Saturday but bowed out of the National Championship Series after tough losses in the Quarterfinals Sunday in Chula Vista.
Division 1: Coming off a spirited 22-13 victory Saturday over NorCal Conference Champs and previously undefeated EPA Bulldogs (East Palo Alto, CA) in which the Blues controlled the majority of possession and territory and Jordan Neville tallied all 22 points himself behind 1 try, 1 conversion, and 4 well-taken penalty kicks, the Blues drew National Finals perennial and SoCal Conference Champions Belmont Shore in the Quarterfinal on Sunday. Belmont, unbeaten in SoCal Conference play in 2012, had defated the Dallas Reds 49-5 on Saturday and presented a tremendous challenge for the young Blues.
"The SoCal champs took the opening lead when Ed McKenna crossed for an unconverted try, and the Blues pulled to within two when Jordan Neville slotted a penalty kick shortly thereafter. In the 14th minute Peter Sio dotted down for Belmont, extending their lead to 12-3, and the Blues responded with an intercept try from Kevin Schwartze to pull back within one score at 12-8. Belmont’s pack then went to work, and lock and captain Ian Carpenter scored a try, converted by Kameron Moeller, to extend the Belmont lead to 17-8, which is how the half would end.
In the 55th minute wing Kenny Scott scored the second Blues try, reeling Belmont closer at 17-13. Belmont and the Kansas City slugged it out in the forwards for the next 15 minutes, trading possession, hard runs and one-up tackles, until Belmont inside center Ed Pitts broke through for a try, converted by Moeller, to put them up 22-13 with about seven minutes to play.
The Blues showed superior fitness and pulled back within two with a second Schwartze try, converted by Neville, in the 78th minute."
Belmont advances to the Final Four, while the Blues D1 side leaves Chula Vista disappointed they came up short of their goal of advancing to the National Semi-Finals, but very much encouraged by the fact that the other 3 teams in the 2012 Final Four are all Clubs the Blues have proven they can not only play with, but potentially beat on any given day. Glendale (Blues tied 21-21 on 3/10), Metropolis (Blues lost 21-29 on 3/24), and Palmer (Blues lost 19-20 on 4/21) round out the 2012 Final Four.
With a roster carrying an average age of 25, the Blues First Side made a major National statement over the weekend and now look ahead to next season and even higher expectations for a well-accomplished team.
Division 3: The Blues Second Side put in a convincing performance on Saturday to earn their D3 Nationals Quarterfinal bid, handling the Pacific Region Champs Budd Bay Barbarians (Olympia, WA) in a 42-26 victory behind a balanced team effort that saw 6 different Blues cross the try-line. Up 25-0 at one point, the Blues lost defensive focus near the 3rd quarter of the match, but regained control and pushed through with a win in what was a very physical game to setup an Elite Eight encounter with the Tucson Magpies (Tucson, AZ). Tucson had put in an impressive 10-point victory over Heart of America Conference and West Region Champs Wichita Barbarians, and on Sunday proved to also be too much for a banged-up Blues side. Missing a couple of starters from Saturday and nursing injuries from the tough physical challenge Budd Bay presented, the Blues were never able to get into a rhythm and fell to the Magpies 50-12, ending what had been a resurgent season for a young Reserve side with a number of promising players on the rise.
Congratulations to the entire active playing roster of the 2011-2012 KC Blues, and thanks to the Coaching Staff of Scott Adamson, Scott Kram, Mike Schlatter, and Pete Winklebauer for an excellent season.
KC Blues National Championship Series Round of Sixteen & Quarterfinal Round Rosters:
Division 1: Colin McFarland, Alain Miriallakis, Dan Knapp, Eric Munninghoff, Ben Nelson, Adam Orr, Matt Potchad, Bubba George, Afele Taula, Matt Hoover, Jim Eftink, Jay Allen, Kiel Mans, Casey Cummings, Austin Clarke, Kelly Mercer, Tim Curtis, Connor McDonough, Conner Smith (Captain), Jordan Neville, Kenny Scott, Kevin Schwartze, Drew Haig.
Division 3: Steve Jackman, Chuck Henson, John O'Laughlin, Zach Kerr, Nathan Foster, Matt Wirken, Brian Klinzing, Jordan Winemiller, Brendan Murphy, Gustavo Bell, Grant Russell, Chris Fischer, Chaz Clough, Pete Kowalski (Captain), Caleb George, Paul Deutsch, Mike Scoma, Mick Green, Joe Bouchey, Terreil Dixon, Joe D'Agostino, Cameron Blades, Tywanne Aldridge, Steve Tardy, Pablo Carrera
05.13.12 - Belmont Survives Blues En Route to Semis - Pat Clifton, Rugby Magazine
Belmont Shore held on during a late comeback surge to beat the Kansas City Blues 22-20 in Chula Vista, Calif. Saturday. With the victory, Belmont advances to the semifinals in Glendale, Colo. June 2, where they’ll face Metropolis, 30-5 winners over Mystic River in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Belmont led the entire game, but the Blues were never out of it. The SoCal champs took the opening lead when Ed McKenna crossed for an unconverted try, and the Bwlues pulled to within two when Jordan Neville slotted a penalty kick shortly thereafter.
In the 14th minute Peter Sio dotted down for Belmont, extending their lead to 12-3, and the Blues responded with an intercept try from Kevin Schwartze to pull back within one score at 12-8.
Full Article at Rugby Mag »
05.12.12 - Blues, Shore Through to QFs - Alex Goff, Rugby Magazine
Belmont Shore and the Kansas City Blues both notched wins to get into the National DI Club Quarterfinals.
The Blues needed everything they had and some excellent goalkicking to get by the East Palo Alto Bulldogs, while Belmont Shore put Dallas to the sword.
The Bulldogs got on the board early against Kansas City, with Jack Halalilo slotting the first penalty goal. Five minutes later, Kansas City’s Jordan Neville replied. Consistent pressure from KC forced the Bulldogs to commit a series of penalties. Neville was good on three more kicks in the first half to put his side up 12-3.
EPA inched closer with a try from flanker Rick Moala, and the teams changed ended with Kansas City up 12-8.
One more Neville penalty put KC up 15-8, and then at 50 minutes the Blues claimed their only try to lead 22-8.
EPA scored with about 18 to go through No. 8 Viliami Tai. But Kansas City held on from there.
Kansas City Blues 22
Pens: Neville 4
(Note: the game report from USA Rugby appears to have the wrong scorers, and we are assuming from our knowledge of KC this is correct, but we may be wrong, also)
East Palo Alto Bulldogs 13
Tries: Moala, Tai
Full Article at Rugby Mag »
04.29.12 - KC Blues Qualify Both Sides for National Championships
The Blues have become the only Club in the country to send both the D1 & D3 sides to the 2012 USA Rugby National Championship Series Round of Sixteen at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA on May 12th & 13th.
The Blues D1 side won their opening round match in the 2012 USA Rugby National Championship Series on Saturday night, defeating the visiting Austin Huns (Austin, TX) by a score of 23-18 in front of over 500 spectators at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park. Fullback Jordan Neville lead all scorers with 1 try, 2 conversions, and 3 penalty kicks while prop Alain Miriallakis extended his consecutive-match scoring streak to 5 in a row with a second-half try.
With the win the Blues advance to the National Round of 16 for the second time in 3 years, and will face Northern California champions EPA Bulldogs (East Palo Alto, CA) in their opening match at 1:30pm PST.
The Blues D3 side went 2-1 at the Western Regional Championships in Omaha NE, earning the West's #3 seed at the Division 3 National Round of 16. In their opening round match they defeated Texas Conference Champions Oklahoma City Crusaders 15-14, before falling to Great Plains Champions Northern State (Aberdeen, SD) in a one-sided 50-14 semifinal loss. The Blues had everything to play for in the 3rd place match on Sunday, and were able to bounce-back with a 25-17 win over the Missouri Conference Champs St. Louis Hornets. Lock Matt Wirken and flanker Chris Fischer lead a dynamic forward pack that dominated possession and set-piece in both victories, with center Mike Scoma coming alive to lead the backs in the critical 3rd place match.
The Reserve side will play Pacific Coast Regional Champions Budd Bay RFC (WA) in their opening match at 3:15pm PST.
The Blues qualification marks the first time a Blues reserve side has advanced to the National Championships since the Club sent 2 teams to the 7s National Championships in 2000. The Blues become only the 4th team in 5 years to send 2 sides to the Round of 16 in any Division.
Congratulations go out to the Blues Coaching Staff, lead by Head Coach Scott Adamson, Scott Kram, Mike Schlatter, and Pete Winklebauer.
Special thanks to the many, many fans and supporters who attended the D1 game on Saturday night to support the Blues and cheer them on to victory.
Blues Playoff Rosters April 28th & 29th:
Division 1: Forwards - Alain Miriallakis, Colin McFarland, Eric Munninghoff, Dan Knapp, Ben Nelson, Adam Orr, Matt Potchad, Kiel Mans, Matt Hoover, Jim Eftink, Jay Allen, Afele Taula, Bubba George. Backs - Casey Cummings, Austin Clarke, Kelly Mercer, Tim Curtis, Conner Smith (c), Connor McDonough, Kevin Schwartze, Kenny Scott, Drew Haig, Jordan Neville
Divison 3: Forwards - Steve Jackman, Chuck Henson, Zach Kerr, John O'Laughlin, Nathan Foster, Matt Wirken, Brian Klinzing, Jordan Winemiller, Brendan Murphy, Chaz Clough, Grant Russell, Gustavo Bell, Chris Fischer. Backs - Pete Kowalski (c), Caleb George, Keith Engle, Mike Scoma, Paul Deutsch, Joe Bouchey, Steve Tardy, Tywanne Aldridge, Cameron Blades, Terriel Dixon, Pablo Carrera
Kansas City Blues Division 3
Western Regional Championships, Omaha NE
04.28.12 - Blues Hold Off Huns - Pat Clifton, Rugby Magazine
Kansas City Blues Jay Allen
Photo Courtesy of Phil Peterson
Kansas City, Mo. - The Kansas city Blues beat the Austin Huns 23-18 Saturday at Swope Park to advance to the National Round of 16 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
The Blues fell behind 7-0 when the Huns scored a converted try in the opening minutes. The Blues went back on attack shortly after the kickoff, and fullback Jordan Neville slotted a penalty kick to put them on the board.
The Austin forwards controlled the tackle area early with strong rucking, and the Blues were called for diving over, allowing the Huns to extend their lead back to 10-3.
Neville made the first big break for the Blues, streaking up the sideline deep into Austin territory. As he was being caught, he kicked the ball to keep it alive, and the Austin defender tackled Neville late, drawing a penalty.
The Blues wound up with a scrum about 15 yards from the try line, and Neville took a clever line tight off of flyhalf Kelly Mercer for the Blues' first touch down, tying the game at 10-10 after Neville's conversion kick. the Huns and Blues swapped penalty kicks before halftime and were knotted at 13-13 at intermission.
Full Article at Rugby Mag »
04.21.12 - KC Blues Drop Nail-biter at Palmer College
D1 side loses 20-19 to 2012 Midwest Champion & 2010 National Final Four team Palmer in Davenport, IA
Inside Center Tim Curtis scored twice in the first half as the Blues jumped out to 14-5 lead over Palmer at the break, and a back-and-forth second half saw the Blues nearly win it in the 78th minute as foward Adam Orr went in for a try to bring the visitors within 1 point of the Midwest powerhouse. The Blues conversion missed however, and the hosts hung on for the 20-19 victory.
The Blues D1 side now looks ahead to the opening round of the National Playoffs. Having gone 4-1-1 in the West Northern Conference, the Club can also rely on experiences gained with a very formidable non-conference season schedule as they look forward to a stong playoff run.
04.14.12 - KC Blues Division 1 Side Wins at Boulder, Finishes Conference Season With 4-1-1 Record; D1 & D3 Sides Look Ahead to Playoffs
D1 defeats Boulder Rugby Athletic Club 49-29 in Boulder, CO
D3 lose friendly to Kansas State University at home
The Blues D1 side completed the 2011-2012 West Northern Conference season on Saturday with a 49-29 road victory over the Boulder RFC, finishing in 2nd place with a conference record of 4-1-1. The Blues now face one final tune-up against Palmer College on April 21st in Davenport, IA, before hosting a home match in the opening Round of 32 in the National Playoffs on April 28th. The Blues found the try zone 6 times in the Boulder match to score a bonus point victory, as center Tim Curtis and prop Alain Miriallakis both scored twice, with wings Kevin Schwartze and Kenny Scott each adding a score.
Scheduled for 7:00pm on April 28th at the Sporting Kansas City Training Complex at Swope Park,the cross-over game with the Texas Conference's 3rd place team will be Blues first home playoff game after re-joining USA Division 1 in 2007. Currently, the Austin Huns and the Houston Athletic Rugby Club sit at 3rd and 4th in the Texas league with 2 games left to play.
The Blues D3 side lost a friendly to Kansas State University on Saturday, but look ahead to the D3 West Regional Playoffs in 2 weeks. The Blues Reserves finished 4-2 in the Heart of America Conference in 2011-2012, and will travel to Omaha, NE on April 28th & 29th for their 2nd consecutive trip to D3 Westerns. They will face the Texas D3 Champions (TBD) in the opening round on Saturday April 28th at 11:00am.
03.31.12 - KC Blues Division 1 Side Wins at Denver, Clinch Home Playoff Game in National Round of 32
The Blues D1 side clinched 2nd place in the West Northern Conference on Saturday night, with a 33-16 road victory over the Denver Highlanders to move their record to 3-1-1. With one conference game left to play at Boulder on April 14th, the Blues can do no worse than runner-up in the league and as a result have confirmed a home match in the opening Round of 32 in the National Playoffs on April 28th. The Blues found the try zone 5 times in the match to score a bonus point victory, holding the home side to just 1 try. Lock Ben Nelson scored twice, and prop Alain Miriallakis, wing Kevin Schwartze, and hooker Dan Knapp each added a score.
03.31.12 - Reserves Lose Friendly to Islanders; Confirm Spot in Division 3 Regional Playoffs
The Blues D3 side lost a friendly to the KC Islanders at The Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park on Saturday night March 31st in a hard-fought, physical match in front of over 150 fans, but were still able to officially lay claim to runner-up finish in the Heart of America Conference as other league contenders completed their season elsewhere. The Blues Reserves finished 4-2 in the conference, and will travel to Omaha, NE on April 28th & 29th for their 2nd consecutive trip to D3 Westerns. They will face the Texas D3 Champions (TBD) in the opening round on Saturday April 28th at 11:00am.
03.24.12 - KC Blues Reserves Secure Spot at Division 3 Playoffs, First Side Loses Close Match to Metropolis
D3 beats KC Carnivores via Forfeit
D1 loses to Metropolis 22-30
The KC Blues Reserve side needed a resounding victory over the KC Carnivores this past weekend to put their Division 3 Heart of America Conference record at 5-2 and lock-up a post-season berth at the Western Regional Championships April 28th & 29th in Omaha, NE - what they got was a forfeit victory that should have an identical result on the standings. The Carnivores showed up with a very thin side of 8 players on Saturday, resulting in a forfeit victory to the Blues. Anticipating and needing a match, the Blues were able to fill out the Carnivores side with their 7 reserves, and went on to play what was essentially an intrasquad scrimmage of three 20-minute periods, mixing up different combinations in the Blues jersey to ensure an equal contest and to give each reserve a shot at impressing in the trial environment.
Thanks go out to the numerous supporters who came out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to watch the rugby.
Meanwhile the First XV travelled to Des Moines, IA for a non-conference match against Metropolis from the Twin Cities. Metropolis has already qualified for the National Playoffs, finishing in 2nd place in the Midwest West Conference with a 5-2 league record and proved to be a very tough test for the Blues even at a neutral location, defeating the Kansas City side 30-22.
Next up for the Blues on March 31st:
D1 side travels to Denver, CO to play the back side of the home & away series with Western Conference rivals Denver Highlanders. A victory in the match would secure the Blues home-field advantage in the opening round of the Division 1 National Playoffs. The Blues defeated Denver in Kansas City by a score of 67-7 on October 29th, however the Highlanders are always a very strong team at home. Kick-off is set for 6:00pm local time on outside pitch at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO.
The Reserve side will play at home on Saturday night under the lights, hosting the upstart Kansas City Islanders in a friendly. Boasting a side filled with former Blues players, the Islanders play an exciting brand of rugby and it will be a very entertaining match.
Kick-off is set for 7:30pm at the Sporting Kansas City Training Facility at Swope Park.
03.17.12 - Blues Reserves go 1-1 in Topeka
The Blues took a reserve side to Topeka last weekend for a D2/D3 Tournament. The Blues drew an early game against the Souix Falls Crows, and both got off to sloppy starts and the game was scoreless through the 1st half.
Austin Clarke broke the tie with a Penalty kick in the 30th minute to go up 3-0. But minutes later the Crows notched a penalty kick of their own and the game was back to a 3-3 tie.
In the 40th and finally minute of the tournament game Souix Falls got good backline play and sliced through the Blues defense and touched down a try as time expired.
In the 2nd game the Blues faced Wayne State University. The Blues got off to a much better start with a try in the 10th minute by Drew Haig to go up 5-0. A short 10 minutes later Dan Knapp had a rumbling try from 5 meters out and the Blues went up 10-0 at half.
The Blues again came out of the gates on fire and Paul Deutsch touched a try down in the 22nd minute with the conversion good the Blues were up 17-0. With 10 minutes left in the game Dan Knapp touched his 2nd try down and the Blues were in full control up 22-0. A late flurry by Wayne State produced a try but in the end it was a too little too late and the Blues took the match 22-7.
Although the Blues played tough in their second game they were unable to advance to the Semi-finals.
The next game for the D3 side is against the KC Carnivores at Swope Park on March 24th, 2012 at 4:30pm. The D1 team also resumes play this weekend in Des Moines where they will play a friendly against Metropolis from Minneapolis, MN.
03.10.12 - KC Blues Tie National Champions Glendale Raptors, Reserves Defeat Northland
The Reserves defeated Northland RFC in a D3 conference game by a score of 37-8, behind 2 tries from hooker Dan Knapp, and 2 tries from fullback Drew Haig. The win moves the Blues Reserves to 4-2 in the Conference, and into 2nd place behind the Wichita Barbarians with one game remaining. The top two teams in the Conference will advance to the Western Regional Tournament in Omaha, NE April 28th.
The D1 side turned in a fearless effort to hold off arguably the best team in the Country - at any level - coming away with a 21-21 tie against the Glendale Raptors. Despite carrying 5 capped Eagles in their lineup and coming into the game with consecutive wins over 2 Super League Clubs, Glendale was unable to overcome an emotional performance from the Blues. Dynamic play from the young Blues backline, exceptional ball retention from the forwards, outstanding defense, and Kevin Schwartze's foot kept the home side in the game with the score 11-9 in favor of Glendale through the first 45 minutes. a try by Glendale in the 53rd minute extended their lead, before the Blues struck back with a series of tries from young halfback combination of Kelly Mercer and Casey Cummings to take a 21-18 lead with 15 minutes to play. A spirited defensive effort and some near-misses on offense for the Blues saw them hold the lead until the 77th minute, when Glendale slotted a penalty to tie the match at 21-21. The Blues held off the visitors final goal line drive to end the game deadlocked.
It's worth noting that the Blues backline contained 3 legacy Blues, all sons of Hall of Fame members. Casey Cummings (21), Kelly Mercer (22), and Conner Smith (27) represented the strong family tradition and Brotherhood of the Club well, and were joined by Tim Curtis (23), Jordan Neville (24), Kenny Scott (22), and Kevin Schwartze (24) in a very young and talented Blues backline.
The tie game keeps the Blues locked with Glendale at the top of the D1 West Northern Conference, with 2 matches still to play this spring at the Denver Highlanders and at Boulder. A victory in either of those matches will secure the Blues a home playoff game in the Round of 32 on April 28th.
Next up for the D1 side is a non-conference game against Midwest perennial Metropolis RFC from Minneapolis, MN.
02.18.12 - Blues Celebrate 2011 at the Club's Annual Awards Banquet
2012 HOF Inductee Craig Smith
hilpe Circa 1988
The Blues celebrated the completion of their 45th season in style on Saturday, February 18th 2012, at the Annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction in the Penthouse Ballroom at Club 1000 in downtown Kansas City.
The Ballroom was full, as over 130 current & former players and supporters and their guests gathered to celebrate the Blues organization, award members for outstanding play and service, and witness the induction of the Blues HOF Class of 2012.
The event included a cocktail hour, buffet dinner, awards ceremony and HOF induction, and dancing.
Blues HOF Member Steve Wubbenhorst MC'd the event, as Executive Board members took the attendee's through a brief annual review and 2012 preview, acknowledging the support of the Exec Board & Coaching Staff. Time was also taken to recognize all of the Blues sponsor organizations and urging members to support those local businesses who support us, as well as acknowledging the contributions the Club has benefitted from as a member of the Sporting Club Network.
During the awards ceremony, Blues players and Club members were recognized for both performance and commitment in 2011. 24 year-old wing Kevin Schwartze was named the Club's Most Improved Player. 22 year-old Kenny Scott was a repeat winner of the Club's 7s Player of the Year. 28 year-old center Mike Scoma was awarded the Club's Reserve Side Player of the Year Award. 28 year-old flanker Afele Taula, entering just his 3rd season playing in the back-row, was named the Club's Division 1 Player of the Year.
Given annually to the current player who makes outstanding contributions to the Club off the field, the Patrick O'Neal Award was given to Pete Kowalski. Similarly, the Jim Lyons Award is given annually to the non-player who makes outstanding contributions to the Blues, and the 2012 recipient was Scott Kram. In a very moving presentation, the Robert C. Willson 'Big Bob' Award was presented to Blues Old Boy Terry Martin. Originated in 2011 to honor the life of the late 'Big Bob' Willson, the Award is given to deserving Club members and Supporters who exemplify the go-forward attitude of ‘Big Bob’, and the commitment to causes greater than oneself through leadership, selflessness, and Brotherhood. Terry is the 3rd recipient of the Award, and his life is an inspiration to the entire Club as he leads by example in overcoming daily the adversities of paralysis, while living a full life and remaining one of the Club's strongest and most active supporters on the sidelines and at events.
The Hall of Fame induction followed the awards ceremony, with Blues legend Craig T. Smith taking his place in the honored group of 36 former players, a distinction that was created in 1999. 'Smitty' was a stand-out flanker for the Blues from 1983 - 1999, twice being named the Club's Forward MVP in '86 & '89, and playing a key role in the team's '93 & '94 Final Four appearances. Upon his retirement from playing in 1999, Smitty took a coaching position with the Junior Blues U19 program and helped lead that Club to the national semi-finals on three different occasions. Smitty's eldest son Conner is the current Captain of the Blues 7s and 15s sides, and his youngest son Kyle plays 7s for the Blues and 15s at the University of Arkansas.
Special thanks to Paige and Derek Mannell for organizing the Banquet, to Club 1000 for accommodating the evening, to Bubba George for assembling the slideshow and highlight film, and to Austin Clarke for managing merchandise sales at the event.
01.01.12 - Blues Team Up With CrossFit on 18th For Off-Season Training
The Blues have teamed up with Club sponsor CrossFit on 18th, downtown Kansas City’s biggest and most exciting CrossFit Affiliate, for off-season training this winter. At CrossFit on 18th the Blues will get individual coaching in a team setting, training together at scheduled sessions twice a week for 8 weeks in preparation for the Spring 2012 rugby season. CrossFit is simply defined as Constant Varied Functional Movements performed at High Intensity. CrossFit offers a fitness that prepares you for occurrences in everyday life, and for Elite Athletic competition.
Any Blues Club members interested in participating can contact Brian English for details.
For more on Crossfit on 18th, visit www.crossfiton18th.com