Senior Bryce Campbell says that Indiana has prepared him for rugby at the next level, and more homegrown talent is following his lead.
This month IU Senior Bryce Campbell is among just four D1A college rugby players who have been called up to join the USA Rugby Selects in Uruguay for the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge. The coaches and staff at USA Rugby were impressed with Campbell’s play with the Collegiate All-Americans in Australia this summer. This serves as another milestone in his career and a very proud moment for IU Rugby.
Bryce began his rugby career in the Royal Irish system in Indianapolis, and says that experience shaped his decision to continue developing his game at Indiana University.
“Cathedral exposed me to rugby all over the country. Having coaches with so many years of experience helped me understand what the top level looked like, and pinpoint where I needed to be. What I noticed playing high school rugby was that in Indiana we have some of the best talent in the country. I wanted to continue building the game in Indiana,” he said.
Head Coach Sopa Enari said, “Bryce followed the lead of the older guys who were here. He brought in his experience and a certain quality of a player.”
Enari said that Bryce brought a high rugby IQ, a good set of skills, and the discipline of being a team player to Bloomington.
“Bryce holds himself accountable on the field, with conditioning, and in learning about the game. He has been here for four years. I hope that other young players can see what he has been doing and that they can carry the baton,” he said.
Bryce arrived at IU in the fall of 2013, in the same season that Enari returned to the program after a hiatus. Three years later, Indiana hasn’t lost a Big Ten game and has posted several marquee victories over top programs such as Davenport, Kutztown, and Wheeling Jesuit.
“My first year we didn’t quite meet the mark from a national standpoint. Playing together for the past three or four years has brought it all together. Sopa has played international rugby and he knows what it takes to be the best. His wealth of knowledge is huge,” Campbell said.
IU Rugby now has several native Hoosiers among its ranks who left the state for other programs out of high school and have transferred home to play in Bloomington. The arrival of former Indiana high school standouts Alex Dorrier, Reese Oberlin (from Davenport), Casey Smith, Brian Hannon, Tyler Sousley, Dacoda Worth (Arizona), and Teddy Terezis (Bowling Green) has bolstered Indiana’s team with experience.
Coach Enari says that the team has made adjustments over the past three seasons to improve its performance on the field as personnel has changed, but that its foundation remains the same.
“They come here and they like what they see. That is a testament to what we have been doing to elevate our program. It’s hard work. There is no secret to success. If you work your tail off hard enough you can achieve anything, and I think you can see the benefit of that here,” he said.
Teddy Terezis decided to transfer to Indiana after one season at Bowling Green.
“I knew what these players were capable of and what kind of team we could put together. In high school I knew I wanted to play high-level rugby, and IU offers top level collegiate rugby and a great college experience,” he said.
Terezis and his teammates were without their captain Bryce Campbell for last weekend’s rivalry game at Purdue, and the Hoosiers overcame a slow start to win 86-0. While Campbell is competing with the Selects, IU will host Michigan on Oct. 8 in Fishers, Indiana and then visit Iowa on Oct. 15.