The Cal Poly Humboldt men’s rugby team will play for a national title early next month after sweeping both of their matches at the West Regional Championships over the weekend.
Competing in Salt Lake City, the Jacks defeated Colorado School of Mines 32-7 in their opening game on Saturday and followed that with a 51-17 win over Western Oregon in the championship game on Sunday.
They will now travel to Houston to compete in the NCR Small Schools Final Four on Dec. 9, opening against Endicott.
This year’s success suggests they have the talent and momentum to do so, and they continued to dominate their opponents over the weekend while remaining undefeated on the season.
“They’re getting better each game,” said assistant coach Vincent Celotto, who added “I think we’re really complementing each other, the forwards and backs, and we’re doing good on set pieces.
“I like the way we’re headed.”
The trip to the small schools Final Four is a first for the program since it joined NCR five years ago.
The club, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next season, also competed for a Division-II national championship in 2005, narrowly falling to Northern Colorado in a thrilling championship showdown at Stanford.
Jason Uipi has played a pivotal role for the team this season and continued to impress at the Regional tournament in what was a balanced team performance over the two games.
“Everybody’s doing good stuff,” Celotto said. “There’s a lot of hard work being done and that’s the key to being successful in rugby.”
This year’s team features one local player, senior team captain Justin Celotto.
The McKinleyville High graduate has played a key role for the team, stepping in at scrum half after coming back from a serious knee injury last season.