Touchdown in Atlantis: Rugby program experiences success

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By Brianna Fan and Juliana Yao, Staff Reporters New developments in boys rugby have the potential to elevate their performance and season: a new head coach, Chris Ryan, and the selection of four players for a youth national team called Atlantis Rugby.  Based in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Atlantis plans to compete in various tournaments around the...

By Brianna Fan and Juliana Yao, Staff Reporters

New developments in boys rugby have the potential to elevate their performance and season: a new head coach, Chris Ryan, and the selection of four players for a youth national team called Atlantis Rugby. 

Based in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, Atlantis plans to compete in various tournaments around the country, starting in Florida and culminating in the national finals in Utah. Two of Atlantis’ players, sophomores Patrick Walker and Caius Michlitsch, are on the U16 team, ages 14-16, and seniors Erik Elken and Ryan Cammarata are on the U18 team, ages 16-18. Playing on an exclusive team required each player to work hard in practices and perform well at games.

“It (getting into Atlantis Rugby) was something I was working for for a while, and I was obviously pretty excited. I love meeting people from all over the nation and being able to work together,” Cammarata said. 

Atlantis Rugby selects players in several ways. Cammarata highlighted his skills during the rugby camps in which he participated. Walker and Michlitsch tried out for the team and secured their sports  upon winning the junior boys’ state championship last year.

“Conestoga rugby has given them a platform to perform on,” Ryan said. “They have taken that platform and performed well enough to deserve and play at a higher level.”

Atlantis Rugby plays a style of rugby called rugby sevens (7s), which is shorter in duration than a normal rugby game. While a typical rugby team is composed of 15 players, 7s only allows seven players on the field. 

This style of 7s has always been Ryan’s forte, with five 7s national championship wins and a coaching position for the Philadelphia Elite City 7s and Atlantis Mens 7s. With this experience, he became the head coach during last fall’s rugby season, and by training under his instruction, the players were able to develop their 7s skill set.

“I played under (Ryan) in the fall for 7s and he’s just helped me become a much better player and understand how to develop into the high school league,” Michlitsch said.

Members of the Atlantis team come from all over the country, making communication and teamwork on the field crucial. For Walker and Michlitsch, they hope to carry the bond that they created over the years at Conestoga rugby onto the Atlantis team.

“It (having Caius) just makes me feel more comfortable — especially that I have chemistry with someone else on the team — and I feel like that will just help me a lot,” Walker said. 

The players believe that their pre-existing connections will promote team chemistry. Their addition to the national team garners positive recognition and pride for the school’s club team in the future.  

“They all deserve to get picked,” Ryan said. “It’s quite an honor for these guys and this team.”


Brianna Fan can be reached at [email protected]

Juliana Yao can be reached at [email protected]

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