Today@Sam Article

Bearkat Club Sports Triumphs: Rugby and Quidditch

March 28, 2024
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins


Sam Houston State University’s club sports organizations have continued to go above and beyond throughout the academic year. The Bearkat rugby squad has continued their tradition of excellence and advanced to the national semifinal matchup against Iowa State on April 13.

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“This year, we found really good competition throughout our 15-player season to help us prepare for what we will see against Iowa State,” said Lane O’Brien, the club’s captain. “We lost to them in the semifinals last season, and that hurt. I feel like that has stuck with a lot of us and left an imprint.”

To advance to the matchup in Iowa, the Bearkats seized their second straight Lone Star

 Conference title with state tournament victories over St. Edwards and Rice in Austin earlier this month. The triumphs came after their second string lost to St. Edwards during the regular season.

“It’s really hard to beat us twice and it was a great feeling to get our revenge,” O’Brien said. “We came out really strong knowing our opponent and what to expect.”

O’Brien and the SHSU rugby program are no strangers to championship success. The club built on their successes at the conclusion of 2022’s seven-player season, when they brought home a title from New Orleans.

“One of the main reasons I came here to Sam is the rugby program and how highly it has been spoken of by the alumni and student body,” O’Brien said. “I came here with the mindset of wanting to help grow that reputation with the people here. Winning the national title for sevens was what pushed me and a lot of us forward to want to compete at this level.”

Despite a tough start to the season, the Bearkats have found their rhythm as they prepare for a shot at revenge in Iowa. If they can come out on top, they will return to Texas to compete in the national championship game against the University of San Diego in Houston.


Sam Houston State University’s most magical muggles have ridden their broomsticks to further success with another triumphant quidditch campaign, securing second place at their regional tournament in Oklahoma City and qualifying for their third straight national competition.

“We are a family and a group of people who enjoy being together,” said Ashton Butler, the club’s president. “That’s really how we find our success.”

SHSU’s quidditch squad is a constant top-10 finisher that finished third overall in the country last year and secured a Division-II title in 2022. This time around, they have qualified for the Division-I


 tournament due to their top two finish in the region.

During the regional tournament on March 2-3, the Bearkats started off hot with a perfect 4-0 record on the opening day, including victories over the University of Texas, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Kansas and Texas State. UTSA got the best of them the second time around the following day to secure the regional title.

A quidditch team is made up of seven athletes who always play with brooms between their legs. Three chasers score goals worth 10 points each with a volleyball called the quaffle. They advance the ball down the field by running with it, passing it to teammates, or kicking it. Each team has a keeper who defends the goal hoops. Two beaters use dodgeballs called bludgers to disrupt the flow of the game by “knocking out” other players. Any player hit by a bludger is out of play until they touch their own goals. Each team also has a seeker who tries to catch the snitch. The snitch is a ball attached to the waistband of the snitch runner, a neutral athlete in a yellow uniform who uses any means to avoid capture, and who is released at the 20-minute mark. The snitch is worth 35 points. There is also a point cap of + 70 added to the leading score at 20 minutes and either team reaching that score ends the game.

The Bearkats have been able to maintain consistent success due to their strong recruiting system and have utilized a number of freshmen in critical roles this season. Despite the long hiatus between regionals and nationals, the players have used spring break to stay in shape in preparation for the events.

“We have a mold of the type of people we want to bring in,” Butler said. “We push each other to find success. We care about one another but also really want to win. After finishing third a season ago, we are hungry to finish first this time around.”

Nationals will take place in Round Rock April 13-14. The first day will feature pool play with the top teams advancing to a single elimination bracket the following day.

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