University of Michigan’s Joel Conzelmann is D1A’s Canterbury Player of the Month. A soft-spoken Junior majoring in Civil Engineering, Conzelmann is a force on the pitch directing with ease from the flyhalf slot. Head Coach Matt Trenary keeps it short and simple when it comes to Joel, “not a flashy player but just a tireless worker. Excellent defender.” Such esteem and respect from peers is accompanied by an impressive season performance. When October wrapped up, Conzelmann was ranked third top scoring leader in Big Ten Rugby with an impressive total of 55 points, just nine points behind the lead.
Conzelmann came to rugby in his Senior year of high school, playing with the Grand Rapids Catholic Central Rugby Club. His first year playing has proven to be indicative to the hard work and skill that emanates from teams that Conzelmann is a part of. Grand Rapids Catholic Central won the state championships that year (Spring 2011) where some Michigan Wolverines were keeping an eye out for promising players, which is how Conzelmann discovered Michigan Rugby.
This season has been a success for the Wolverines despite losing to Indiana University if the Big Ten Championship. The boys in blue have won all three rivalries (Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State) and have taken great strides on campus – currently rugby players are granted special access to workout facilities before they open up to the public allowing for cohesive team conditioning. The ethos permeates, “we work really hard at practice, there is a lot of conditioning,” says Conzelmann. Hard work on the pitch certainly supports friendships off the pitch, “we have a really good group of guys that get along quite well. We’re all really accepting and come from a lot of different backgrounds.” In all, Michigan has the determination and structure to raise the bar within Big Ten Rugby.
Conzelmann would not let us go without praising those who were up with him as Canterbury D1A October Player of the Month nominees, “thanks to D1A and Canterbury for the nomination and congrats to the other guys especially Isaac Hall from Indiana, they all did a really good job. Go Blue.”