The Traverse Bay Blues Rugby Club will kick off their Men's 2016-2017 Midwest North league season this Saturday against the 2015 National runner-up, Tri City Barbarians Rugby Club, at 1:00 pm at the Grand Traverse Civic Center.
The Blues are picked by their peers within the eight-team league to do very well and are sure to come away with a berth in the playoffs. The 2016 Champion, Grand Rapids, moved to Division 2 this season after reaching the Midwest championship, while Traverse City returns 13 of 15 starters that went 7-8 last season, so the Blues have a real chance of success to be top of their league.
"This is the year we have really put it together and our squad is hungry for a title!" said sixth-year Head Coach Matt Szatkiewicz.
The Blues lost two key guys 6'8 jumper Damien Dyndros and long time leader, prop Derek Councilor, who sadly tore his ACL and is lost for the year. Councilor's replacement will be 6'2 280-pound Andrew Smith, along with an experienced pack of forwards—Jakob Krause, Ben Walters, Josh Benghauser, Dave Lock, Dave Felger, Daniel Steele, Matt Banker, Keene Weekly, Steve Andrews and new additions, Blues youth team grads, Hunter Wooters and Jake Godwin.
The fastest backline in the league will compliment new captain, Mitch Hernandez, with veterans Kevin Kipke, Jimmy Turnbull, Champ Bodell, Bryce McCumber, Tom Bisbee and new comers Kyle Becker and Sean Lynch who look to secure victories with their speed, depth, and experience.