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Big Rivalry Win For Palmer in Their CIRA Opener

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Big Rivalry Win For Palmer in Their CIRA Opener

The Colorado Interscholastic Rugby Association opened competition this spring.

Palmer HS upended Monarch 22-5 Saturday in Colorado Interscholastic Rugby Association (CIRA) action Saturday, in a result that wasn't necessarily a surprise, but wasn't exactly expected, either.

Monarch was coming off a win over Valor Christian, while Palmer's opener had been canceled, so there wasn't much to go on.

“Monarch and Palmer both started their programs in 2014 and have gone at it well in season, playoffs, and state championships, and it’s been a game we circle on the calendar every year since," said Palmer Head Coach Scott Mears. "We always prepare for a disciplined and well-drilled team and Saturday’s game was no different.”

Mears said that it's been challenging for the Palmer kids. Their opener against Regis was postponed due to COVID issues, and so the long-awaited return to play had to be delayed a week.

“The student athletes have had to navigate a pretty challenging school environment on and off the field," said Mears. "But the players are grateful to be playing and they’ve brought a willingness to learn with flexibility to get over the hurdles. We have a saying around broken play: 'see a need fill need' and they’ve done just that in practice, games now, and through our team voice and leadership." 

Captain Dalton Slaughter, a University of Arizona commit, recovered the opening kickoff to set up an attack that resulted in him going weak side and racing 30 meters for a try. That set the tone. Junior Landon Neel moved into the backline and offered solid leadership in a new position, while Dartmouth commit Abraham Kamara was very good under the high ball and added to the effort with great all-around decision-making. 

Kole McClain was a workhorse in the back row while Derric Torbido led a very good effort from a young front row in set pieces, around the park, and defending the interior channels.

It's a start, and a good one. Next up for Palmer is Valor Christian, while Monarch takes on Regis and gets a chance to bounce back.