Glendale Hosts Crossover Rugby Camp; Merlins Selects To Compete In 51st Annual Aspen Ruggerfest
GLENDALE, CO – Glendale is expanding its already extensive rugby programming, and the American epicenter of the sport is securing considerable interest from those not already involved in the rugby community. Over the last week, Glendale hosted a crossover rugby camp: a week of intensive training aimed at attracting high-level, non-rugby athletes to the game. Aimed at fundamentals instruction ahead of competition at the Aspen Ruggerfest on September 15-16, the camp is designed to attract solid athletic talent, and allows Glendale coaching staff the opportunity to recruit.
Photo by Justin Purdy
Glendale Director of Rugby Mark Bullock explains: “The participants in our crossover camp are all coming from professional athletic or inter-collegiate competition. They are highly skilled, very professional and very athletic. We’re assisting them in developing basic rugby skills, not just to play at the Aspen Ruggerfest, but beyond. In fact, there are a number whom we would like to remain in Glendale to develop their rugby skills.”
Today, the Glendale Merlins Selects team will travel to Aspen, Colorado, participating in the more than half-century old annual Aspen Ruggerfest competition. Founded in 1968 by the Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Club, the event attracts teams from across the world, and offers hard-hitting rugby action to spectators free of charge. Alongside the newly initiated crossover camp participants will be selections from Glendale’s Division I Men’s team and Academy program.
Bullock notes that the more than a dozen hand-picked athletes at the Glendale camp come from a number of athletic disciplines, including a former starting offensive lineman at Louisiana State University, an NLF free agent punter/kicker, multiple professional American football players, an Olympic-level bobsledder and D1 and D2 NCAA Track and Field athletes, among others. The talent attracted is exceptional, and Bullock knows why: “We’re looking for any kind of crossover athlete,” he said. “What we want is someone with good character, discipline and a willingness to put in the work. Most importantly, they have to have an open mindset to change sports: they have to be humble about learning.”
The elite athletes participating in the crossover camp received the highest level of rugby instruction from Bullock and his coaching staff over the week, and will put their newfound skills on display this weekend. The weeklong training camp, which also highlighted the inclusive ethos of rugby, alongside the camaraderie developed between veterans and newcomers alike, will make itself known in Aspen. At the same time, Glendale once again shows that it is both the future of American rugby, and a lightning rod for the talented athletes that will fill the sport’s ranks for years to come.