Still one of the fastest growing sports in the country because its high-speed contact situations challenge all aspects of athletic ability; rugby continues to gain a strong foothold in the Kansas City area.
Beginning with the Jr. Blues program, founded in 1992, high school rugby in the area has grown into a regional and national power over the past 20 years.
Attractive to countless athletes and a growing number of schools in Kansas City, rugby forces players to utilize a number of skills to pass, run, kick, tackle and score. As a result, players are required to think on their feet and demonstrate decision-making skills under pressure… something players in Kansas City have done exceptionally well in the two decades the sport has gained momentum in the Metro.
A team sport like no other that develops camaraderie among teammates and respect for the opposition at parent sponsored post game socials; rugby is a participation sport that has kept enthusiasts involved for years. In Kansas City, those same enthusiasts are credited with the founding and management of a number of high school programs in the area. In 2013, the Jr. Blues are joined in competition under the State Based Rugby Organization Rugby Kansas, by Metro boys teams from Blue Valley, Liberty, Olathe, Park Hill, Park Hill South, Shawnee Mission East, Shawnee Mission Northwest, and St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Additionally, the Kansas City Dragons have been competitive on a national level in the girls’ high school game for a number of years.
While these high school clubs have been supported by rugby players and parents from all affiliated clubs in the Metro, the Kansas City Blues have both contributed to and benefited most from the ongoing development of high school rugby in the area. Four different boys high school teams in Kansas City feature current or former Blues players on their Coaching staff, and Rugby Kansas is managed by former Blue Tim Kluempers.
The 2013 Blues men’s team features 28 players who got their start in rugby with one of the area’s high school teams, including 3 recipients of 2012 Player Awards: Casey Cummings (D1 MVP), Kevin Schwartze (7s MVP), and Nathan Foster (Most Improved).