New captain hopes to positively impact rugby club

Written By Emily Bennett, Co-Copy Desk Chief

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If you were to describe rugby club president Elliott Carr most accurately in one word, it would be unconventional. Professional would come in at a close second.

The newly elected rugby club president for the 2016-17 school year has big plans that he hopes come to fruition, including a new women’s rugby club initiative. Despite entering only his sophomore year, his teammates and mentors agree that he has the pairing of a specialized drive and an innovative mind to transform the club from a team into a brotherhood.

“There’s a lot that needs to be done,” Carr said. “Right now, it’s one of my top priorities aside from classes, obviously. I’m spending a lot of time getting stuff ready for this season.”

Carr, a biology major, feels that he fell into the presidency in a sense, claiming he felt he thought he lacked the extroverted nature that being president of such a large, successful club would require.

“I was very surprised at the nomination,” Carr said. “We did the election, and somebody said, ‘I nominate Elliott Carr,’ and the next thing I knew, I’m president.”

That somebody was Jakob Como, last year’s team captain, who Carr bonded with on and off the field. Despite Carr’s newcomer status last year, Como recognized a distinctive ambition in the freshman.

“I know Elliot has the perfect mix of drive and personality to continue to grow the club and accomplish more than every president before him,” said Como, who graduated in the spring.

Aside from reuniting the closeness within the club and kick-starting a female club, Carr is focused on two objectives: recruiting new members and getting the team to playoffs.

Carr considers his focus on recruiting this year more prevalent than past presidents’ efforts. Carr himself was recruited for the club during the annual activities fair last year. This year, he was the one behind the rugby table, this time as president, getting signatures from students and inquiring about interest in a women’s club, something he’s determined to spearhead.

“The idea [for a women’s club] needs to gain some serious momentum. We need more interest. A lot of the girls are already in a sport or have musical theater or dance requirements, and it’s tough to work around that, because of potential injuries,” Carr said. “But we do have people who have interest and want to make it happen, so we’re going to do whatever we can to make sure those who want to play can eventually find a way. It would just be nice to have that sister club.”

Teammate and Rugby Club Secretary Brady Winner agrees that forging the path for a women’s club is doable, especially with someone like Carr in the presidency.

“I think it’s something that could definitely happen,” Winner said. “It would be a lot of work, and I feel like they would need someone like Elliott to get things rolling.”

“Elliott needs to find a female protégé. All it needs is that big push and then it’s good to go.”

If there’s anyone who knows Carr’s character, it is Winner. The two locks were inseparable during games last season, both playing the same position hip-to-hip and in the scrum.

“That made our friendship stronger,” Winner said. “We had that chemistry on the field, because we were by each other throughout the entire game.”

While the club isn’t hyper-focused on having a perfect record, Carr hopes this year will be the team’s best, thanks to an average of three practices a week, foreseeing more weekend tournaments and eventually playoffs.

“We do care about our record, and we have high hopes to make playoffs this year,” Carr said.

Aside from being an organized and optimistic president, Elliott proved himself to be a promising player and athlete last season, winning “Man of the Match” during the very first game he ever played for Point Park against Robert Morris University.

“Everyone has to be in-sync with each other in order for it to work; you can’t just have one good player,” Carr said. “What I really like is that at any point, anybody can play. Even if your star player goes down, somebody else has to fill in, so it gives everybody a really good opportunity to be able to play and enjoy it.”

Although Carr said the philosophy of rugby is innately community-driven, his individual performance in matches did not go unnoticed, including during a match Winner recalled last season against University of Pittsburgh Johnstown (UPJ).

“One of UPJ’s players was cutting across the field towards Elliott, and it was an open field tackle,” Winner said. “So it was either Elliott tackles him or this kid scores. He tried to hurtle Elliott, and he wasn’t having any of that, so Elliott just stood up and kind of threw his shoulder and flipped the kid in mid–air. It was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Aside from rugby, Carr is focused on figuring out his future; something he’s unsure of, but knows will undoubtedly involve serving others. Carr, a trained Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), sees rugby in his future as well; claiming he never wants to stop playing as a way to stay in shape and have a brotherhood he can count on well into adulthood.

“We’re not just a team; we’re a brotherhood. I think Elliott can definitely lead that charge,” Winner said. “He’s done so much to make the team more of a brotherhood than any other year that I’ve experienced. He’s done a hell of a job.”

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