Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Iowa Central CC a New Program to Watch

irish rugby tours

Iowa Central CC a New Program to Watch

Iowa Central Community College logged another strong result this past weekend, defeating Iowa State 26-15.

This follows in a defeat of Creighton the week before and solid scores against the likes of Northern Iowa and Minnesota-Duluth.

Not bad for a community college, but it’s also a community college with a varsity rugby program.

ICCC has ben varsity since 2015, and under Head Coach Brent Nelson is easing its way into the rugby scene. Many of the students on the team played rugby in Iowa, where the main high school season is 7s. So Nelson has a lot of players who can play in the open field.

“It’s kind of like getting the keys to a Ferrari,” he said. “It’s unique. When we do get tight five guys, and we get a few, they know how to pass.”

ICCC is in the National Small College Rugby Organization for the moment, and has three years to work through that before the size of the school really comes into play. The school’s enrollment of over 6,000 (editor correction - but has only about 1,500 full-time male students). A jump to DII is still possible at some point.

Right now, it’s a young program with a bunch of young players, but a program to watch.

The Tritons have some talented players - Matt Barker is a flyhalf from England who is a smart decision-maker. Daniel Petefish is a talented team leader who plays in the tight five, and Clayton Goddard is a physical presence up front, while hooker Manny Murillo gets a ton of work done.

Out wide, they have some excellent speed, with Darryl Couch and Evian Akers good examples of the type of athletic talent Iowa can produce. 

ICCC also offers a different pathway for young athletes. ICCC offers over 50 degrees, many in industrial fields.

“It’s a great option for some of these kids and a lot of the degree programs are in fields that are in high demand,” said Nelson.

The coach, then, is working with a new program on a variety of levels - on the fields, in the classroom, and elsewhere.

“We are playing well but still have room for improvement,” said Nelson. “We are a Community College so we will always be young, but we have a ton of speed and our forwards are very solid. The B side also won [against Iowa State] 36-0. We rely on them to keep us challenged every day in practice and to push each other to get better. I’m still playing around with our 15 and top 23 but we have about 28 or 29 fighting for those spots. It’s awesome!”

Meanwhile, Nelson is also working on a variety of community service projects with the team - beautification of green spaces, fixing up the homes of elderly people, and other projects, as well.