Alumni Letter


Dear Alumni,
I hope this letter finds you well. We believe it is time for another club update to keep you all in the loop and involved in the greatest rugby club east of the Mississippi River. As you may have seen from the above picture, our new jerseys arrived just in time for the 33rd Annual Shamrock Rugby Tournament. I beg all alumni to read everything from the paragraph that begins “Now to Alumni businsess…” to the end of the letter.
Shamrock RFC begins our 2014 regular season on Saturday, September 13th with a match at Lehigh University. We have beat Lehigh in each of the last two semesters and plan on extending our streak on the 13th. Despite Lehigh’s hiring of a coach, we are confident in our abilities and our newest players.
Following the match against Lehigh, Shamrock RFC’s 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:
9.13 – @ Lehigh
9.20 – vs The College of New Jersey
9.27 – BYE
10.4 – @ York
10.11 – @ California
10.18 – vs East Stroudsburg
10.25 – @ Bloomsburg
11.1 – BYE
Our current board remains mostly the same:
President: Bryce Markwardt, Senior, 724.562.4404,
Vice President: Chris Tumminello, Senior
Match Secretary: Ryan Abel, Senior
Treasurer: Kyle Shuler, Junior
Our new Recruiting Chair, Josh Boyd, has done a great job so far this semester, getting 27 new names at the club and organization fair. We hope many of them will stick around.
Our featured veteran is currently a senior Exercise Science Major with aspirations of graduate school to become a doctor of physical therapy. Chris “Frenchie” Tumminello wears number two on the pitch, starting at Hooker. He is 5’7” and 150 pounds and is starting his fourth year of rugby. Frenchie is also the current Vice President, was Vice President the previous year, and held the selector position last year. He has a no-nonsense aura on the pitch and a slightly less no-nonsense attitude off of the pitch.



Frenchie planting Notre Dame’s Scrumhalf’s head into the turf @ Notre Dame in 2013
Shamrock RFC’s featured young gun is in his second semester on the team. At 5’6”, 146lbs Vudthichai Phothisuk hails from Fox Chapel High School. If you were confused about that last sentence, Vudthichai Phothisuk is the player’s name. Understandably, “Short-Round” goes by several names: “Yao”, “Vudi”, “Short-Round”, “Brown Rice”, and “Lucas” are team favorites. Short-Round grew up watching rugby since sixth grade but did not start playing until junior year of high school because soccer “had his heart”. In his rookie semester of Shamrock Rugby, Short-Round worked his way into the starting fullback slot. He adds, “I remember the doubt that people had in me as a player when I first showed up around the team. When I finally got in the first game of our first tournament, it was overwhelming when we won. The drive to do better has stuck with me. Winning Rookie of the Year is also a great memory of mine, but, even more so, is the teammates I am surrounded by. They helped me transition as a transfer student.”



Short-Round (far right) is as helpful in the huddle as he is at fullback Rare evidence of Short-Round in contact

Now to Alumni business. Firstly, congratulations to the alumni for winning the 41st annual CanAm tournament this year, topping 23 other teams in their division. It is an awesome feat and adds to the legacy that is Shamrock Rugby.



Secondly, the Annual Shamrock Rugby Tournament is a tradition that has been around longer than Wrestlemania. Hundreds of Rock Ruggers have participated and thousands more from other organizations have travelled hours to compete in its glory. It’s a great experience for the club and everyone involved always has a great time. The tournament was created to be a fundraiser for the club. More imortantly, it is a way to let the Shamrock Rugby alumni community to stay involved with the organization. However, for the past couple of years, the club has not benefited monetarily. There are several reasons for this: the owners of the land we host it on raised the price they charge after an incident several years ago (although they verbally expressed appreciation for this year’s conduct), the college realignment has raised league dues for many teams and participation has lowered, etc. In addition, Men’s Playoffs are also during the spring, limiting the number of alumni who return to the tournament and teams that can participate. This year, we were unable to field a SLOBs team. This leaves the club in an undesirable predicament.
Nobody on the team wants to be the team that doesn’t host the tournament for the first time since the 1980s. However, we acknowledge that the team has started to lose money by hosting it. Several alumni have reached out to us with suggestions. I’m presenting the ideas and our own ideas to you all and hope that you email or call me with feedback.
One idea is to cut the spring tournament and replace it with an alumni match at the end of the regular season. It would eliminate the conflict with Men’s playoffs that prevents some alumni from participating in our tournament. This plan would require rapid action and active participation from the alumni. We would need a lot of feedback as soon as possible. What is attractive about this plan is that if there was a large amount of participation from the alumni and everyone decided that a tournament would still be beneficial, it gives the club enough time to plan the tournament and continue the traditon.
Another course of action could be moving the tournament to campus. This eliminates the outrageous land fee we’ve been forced to pay every year. It will raise attendence and awareness for the club. However, it brings in all of the school regulations and laws of Slippery Rock University into play, which then raises obvious risks. It would be placing a large amount of trust into the conduct of everyone in attendence. This idea only works with a social that takes place off-campus after the tournament. This past year, we had a successful and cost-effective social at Rock Falls Campground that would work for this plan. We’ve been told we are welcome back for next year.
The final idea we are considering is changing the tournament to a sevens tournament. The growing popularity of sevens is an attractivness to this option. In addition, small, emerging teams who struggle to field 15s teams might be able attend whereas teams in their position in the past have not been able to.
I’m asking you all for your feedback. The more people who contact us and give us input, the better. Nobody wants to end the tournament, but we need to make adjustments to make it work. As always, thank you for your continued involvment.
Good Cheer. Good Friends. Rock Rugby.
Bryce Markwardt
President, Shamrock Rugby Club
Slippery Rock University

Self-Support: This account can be accessed by us at any time and for any reason. Student Government does not regulate what this is used for, so we can use it for any tournament we want or anything we need at the time. Unfortunately, money cannot be sent directly to the account. To donate to this account, checks can be made out to “SRU Men’s Rugby” and mailed to our treasurer.

Kyle Shuler
304 Campus Side Circle
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference 7s Championship Tournament Team 2014


Fall 2014 Schedule

MARC Schedule

Sept 13 @ Lehigh W 29-5
Sept 20  vs College of New Jersey
Sept 27 vs BYE
Oct 4 v@ York
Oct 11 @ Cal U
Oct 18 vs East Stroudsburg
Oct 25 @ Bloomsburg
Nov 1 BYE

Times TBA

March Alumni Post

Dear Alumni,
Once again, I hope this letter and club update finds you well.
Our spring season has started and Rock Rugby is off to a good start, winning our first tri-tournament in West Chester, PA on March 15th. Slippery Rock beat West Chester immediately after a 5 hour drive. After a 15 minute breather, we handed Lehigh a defeat. Slippery Rock went down early in the first game following a yellow card. The Rock came back from a 0-19 halftime deficit to win 21-19 against West Chester, our first game of the season. A 12-7 victory against Lehigh earned us a quick second win. Alumni Zach “Party-Boy” Matulevich and his lovely wife “Blue” showed up to show their support. Party-Boy had a cameo in the Lehigh game as the biggest fullback east of the Mississippi. Following Slippery Rock’s spring break, the WVU Chicken tournament that was to be held on March 22nd was postponed to April 12th. We still plan to attend.
On March 29th, Rock Rugby played IUP in our stadium in the rain. The A side portion of the game was sloppy, but defensively solid. IUP came away with it, 12-0.
Our upcoming schedule is as follows:
April 4-6: Cherry Blossom Tournament at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD
Our group includes Norwich University, George Washington University, and the College of William&Mary.
April 12: WVU Tournament in Morgantown, WV
April 19: MARC 7s Championship Tournament in Lancaster County, PA
April 26: 33RD ANNUAL SHAMROCK RUGBY TOURNAMENT at Lawrence County Fairgrounds in New Castle, PA.
We are hoping that all of our alumni and friends can make it out to our home tournament this year for a day of rugby and camaraderie. Any other tournament or match that you wish to attend is fine as well. We had a couple alumni attend our IUP match.
Once again, our board has picked two more featured ruggers, one veteran and one young gun.
Our featured veteran is a member of the Rugby House for the past 10 months. A 6’2” and 250lbs senior, Brian Deakin plays prop and second row. He hails from Ambridge, having attended Ambridge High School. Here at Slippery Rock, he majors in Criminal Justice with a specialty in community corrections. He’s played Rugby for 2.5 years, starting here at SRU. When he graduates, he plans to go to be State Police officer and attend grad school. He adds, “some of the best experiences of my life have come from being a part of this team, and living in this house.” Deakin also has a pretty solid beard that usually is dripping bacon grease.

Our featured young gun is a freshman in his second semester on Rock Rugby, but has played rugby for 2 years. Derek “Baby D” Jones is a 5’11”, 170lb wing from Upper Dublin High School from Fort Washington PA. The Exercise Science major plans to enter the Navy to earn his doctorate in medicine. Derek adds, “This club is a band of brothers that supports each other no matter what the odds are; we could be out right winning or be getting blown out of the water. I have never played with a team that has so much heart and passion for the sport; without Rock Rugby I would not automatically have 30 guys who I can call my friends. To the alumni, thank you for paving the path for us and for supporting the club.” Baby D’s beard is much less impressive.

Brian Deakin
Derek “Baby D” Jones

Our organization would like to thank the alumni for their continued support. Several alumni responded positively to our last letter and we are grateful. Anyone who would like to start supporting Rock Rugby or make a one-time donation can follow the instructions on the following page.
Once again, we invite all alumni, families, and friends to our 33rd Annual Shamrock Rugby Tournament on April 26th at Lawrence County Fairgrounds in New Castle, PA.
Thank you all for continuing your involvement in our beloved program.

Good Cheer. Good Friends. Rock Rugby

Bryce Markwardt
President, Shamrock Rugby Club

Self-Support: This account can be accessed by us at any time and for any reason. Student Government does not regulate what this is used for, so we can use it for any tournament we want or anything we need at the time. Unfortunately, money cannot be sent directly to the account. To donate to this account, checks can be made out to “SRU Men’s Rugby” and mailed to our treasurer.
Kyle Shuler
304 Campus Side Circle
Slippery Rock, PA 16057
Alumni Fund: Go to Under the heading Donation Information, change the Designation scroll box to Other. Then in the box, type Men’s Rugby. If you don’t change the designation, we never see the money. Then complete the rest of the form

32nd Annual Slippery Rock Rugby Tournament

32nd Annual Slippery Rock Rugby Tournament

Dear Alumni,
I trust this letter finds you well. My name is Bryce Markwardt and I am the current president of the Slippery Rock Shamrock RFC. I’m writing this letter to try and strengthen the relationship with our alumni and keep you updated with current players and events of our Slippery Rock Shamrock RFC. Our club is now 37 years old and going strong. I am hoping to continue the traditions from our past while strengthening the bond between players and alumni. That is why I am initiating communications today. My goal is to get you more involved with our program.

For some of the older alumni who have been gone long enough to not know many current players, we’ve included a brief summary of our board members and two bios of featured members, Josh “J-Robs” Robertson and Christian “Droz” Haggerty.

Our current board includes myself, Bryce Markwardt, nicknameless and president. I’m a Junior Exercise Science major, preparing for the MCAT. Chris “Frenchie” Tumminello is our second term vice president, also a junior Exercise Science major. Our match secretary is Ryan Abel, a junior Marketing major. Our treasurer, Kyle “Shakespeare” Shuler, is a sophomore Exercise Science major. Finally, our recruiting chair, Michael “Bubba” Maloney, and our social chair, Derek “Baby D” Jones, are both second semester members. We are proud to be a part of this program. It is hard to believe it has been in existence this long. I personally am looking forward to helping this program flourish in the future. Our house is still standing; the nightmare on elm street. Our pack and field captain, not-so-awesome Alex Gordon, backs captain Ryan Abel, J-Robs, and senior Brian Deakin currently live there. Our selector captains are Frenchie (Forwards) and junior Alex “Gunny” Tabor (Backs).



Our current featured veteran, J-Robs, is a 6’1”, 190lbs Fly-half from Johnstown, PA. He graduated from Richland Senior High and majors in Information Systems with a minor in Business Administration. He has played rugby for four years; eight semesters on Slippery Rock Shamrocks RFC. He was backs captain for 4 semesters, giving up the slot to Ryan Abel this semester. He was vice president of the club for one year, and president last year. His plans after graduation are “Going to look for a career in the Technology field in the Pittsburgh area and hope to continue a rugby career as either player/coach/referee to further my skill and knowledge of the game. Also, to develop rugby at all levels wherever I can.” He added “Playing rugby at Slippery Rock has changed my life in so many positive ways. The Rock Rugby family is an amazing group of individuals who have given me an opportunity to become who I am today. I take pride in bringing new members into our family and the support we receive from our alumni. I’ve met some my best friends and mentors through this club and plan on staying involved with the club after graduation. Good Cheer. Good Friends. Rock Rugby.”


The second current featured member, Droz, is in his second semester on the team, having earned Rookie of the Year honors in his first semester. From Indiana Township, PA and graduating from Fox Chapel, he’s played rugby for 5 years. At 5’8” and apparently 160lbs (on a very good day), Droz primarily played fullback with some time at scrum half as well last semester. A Parks and Recreation Management major with a Safety minor, Droz plans to “To find seasonal jobs as a Park Ranger in different National Parks around the country, as well as traveling to some of the most remote places on Earth in the off seasons. I would also like to pursue my love for rugby by joinging a Mens Club once I settle down and land myself a real job that doesn’t involve me moving every six months.” He adds, “Playing on a rugby team through my high school career has given me so much, providing me with a family along with motivation, strength, and a positive attitude. Coming to college, I definitely wanted to advance not only my knowledge of the sport, but the lifestyle that comes with it. The experiences I’ve had with Rock Rugby have been some of the greatest things I’ve done in my short-lived life. Being with the people you love, playing the game you love is truly a blessing.”

Our schedule for this spring is not yet finalized, as we still have several open weekends in March. We do however have several tournaments lined up We will be participating in a Tri-Match in West Chester, PA on March 15th. WVU RFC’s tournament is the next week in Morgantown, WV on March 22nd. Pitt City has not given us a date for their tournament, but we are hoping to be able to send a side to theirs as well. April 5 & 6 we will be in Washington D.C. for the Cherry Blossom Tournament that you all make possible and is a huge favorite of the club’s. We cannot thank our alumni enough for continuously allowing us to attend this tournament. Slippery Rock Shamrock’s home tournament will be held April 26th and we hope to see all of you there to play for the SLOBS and get to meet our current club members.

This past year, our club has seen some changes. When I joined, we were in the Allegheny Rugby Union. This past fall, we were realigned into the Mid-Atlantic Rugby Conference (MARC). Our conference had three of the top 25 DII teams in the nation. The dues to this conference are double compared to the ARU and SRU is adamantly enforcing a 0% increase in the budget. We are also buying a new set of “black” jerseys as several of ours were destroyed throughout the years. We have been able to raise most of the money for those by selling the old black ones (which we still have several left if anyone is interested) and home-knit shamrock winter hats we received as a donation. Finally, we have been looking for a coach. We haven’t had one since before I joined a couple years ago, yet we’ve managed to continue to be successful. We ask you all to continue your support and involvement in the club that we have all grown to love. Any contribution is accepted and greatly appreciated. Our alumni organization has established a fund that will be controlled and monitored by both SRU and the Alumni organization. Your contributions will be put to good use. We are hoping to have alumni contribute with either monthly installments or one time donations at an appropriate time so that we can formulate our budget and purchase the items needed with the available funds. Thank you in advance for your consideration to contributing to our Shamrock program.

Monthly installments of $25.00 (or whatever amount you feel comfortable with) which is only a $300.00 investment to the club. Yearly payment in April (for the next season) of $100, $200, $300, $400 or $500. Of course any amount you donate will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for continuing to be a part of this amazing program.
Good Cheer. Good Friends. Rock Rugby.

Bryce Markwardt
President, Shamrock Rugby Club

Slippery Rock 19 – 14 Franciscan