Boulder, Colo. – The West still has a few weeks until they start conference play, but some teams had a chance to see a little of what their competition had to offer during the 43rd annual Jackalope Tournament in Laramie, Wyoming last Saturday.
Four West conference teams participated in this year’s tournament, including Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, and Wyoming. The games consisted of two 20 minute halves, and the winner is determined at a later date, based upon the stats from the games.
“The tournament provides great training for the teams,” explains Rich Cortez, Collegiate Director at USA Rugby and one of the tournament organizers “the teams can try different combinations to see if they work before conference play starts.”
Colorado saw the most action out of West opponents, playing both Wyoming and Air Force. Their game with Wyoming ended with a score of 17-12. Wyoming newcomer Cody Jebabek scored two 50-plus meter tries, and nearly a third near the end of the game that would have gave the Cowboys the win. CU center Jay Brown also stood out in this game, playing very well against the Cowboys. The Buffs lost their game later in the day to Air Force 22-14.
Wyoming also played a physically imposing team in Utah State, coming out of that one with a 27-12 win. Even with the tough play from the Aggies, Wyoming’s Tim Mendoza and Neil Pasion combined good running and rucking to help the Cowboys past the tough Utah State side.
Colorado State played a whole 80 minute match against Montana State and won 69-34. Montana State had a good squad, and kept the game close, but they couldn’t keep up with the speed of CSU.
The West contains many top 20 teams that will be competing against each other for the conference championship later this spring, including No. 10 Air Force, No. 13 Colorado State, and No. 17 Colorado. The Jackalope was a good eye test for these teams, seeing what the other sides consist of, as well as helping them prepare for their matches later in the season.
Teams will take to the pitch for West conference play September 26th. Colorado State travels to Salt Lake City, Utah to face the No. 6 Utes, and New Mexico heads up to Laramie, Wyoming to take on the Cowboys.