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Taking the Next Step: Archbishop Moeller

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Taking the Next Step: Archbishop Moeller

Post-match at the Rugby Ohio final, Moeller players ponder almost getting there. Alex Goff photo.

High school rugby programs around the country keep trying to find a way to get to the next step. 

Whether it's just building numbers, or moving up to another division, or trying to be a major player on the national stage, the programs keep trying to get better. This year Archbishop Moeller took an important step forward, and while they didn't get the victory they wanted—the Ohio Super Elite state final— what they did do was get noticed.

The Crusaders started their season with a tournament in March, hosting several teams with big aspirations—St. Xavier, Bishop Dwenger, Carmel, St. Charles. In retrospect, that gathering did what was intended: Carmel won Indiana's D1, St. Xavier pulled off a 2-0 day at the Midwest Tournament, St. Charles was the Ohio D1 runner up, and Dwenger was the Indiana Super League runner-up. And Moeller beat Dwenger, St. Charles, St. Xavier, Brownsburg, Penn, and St. Edward on their way to the Ohio final. Their only major stumbling block was the team GRR has had ranked #2 among all school teams.

Even then, their losses to St. Ignatius were very competitive—34-24 and, in the Ohio final, 22-8. 

"I'm proud of my guys," said captain and scrumhalf Brennan Morton Strauss. "There was 37 seconds left and the sir wanted to play dead ball and we convinced him to let us play our last 37 seconds. We're a gritty team."

This attitude, this idea that they can be a level better, will stay with the team, said Morton Strauss. 

"There's some good brotherhood on this team," he said. "Between just chats, handing out, dinner together, stories, memories ... I don't think this team will ever die."