The 2013-2014 season has been a high-point for this young Milwaukee rugby upstart with many things to be proud of both on and off the field.
Success on the pitch
In our 2013 summer sevens program, we won several local tournaments and we competed at a very high level in the Midwest Sevens circuit. Of the five events in the circuit, we placed second in the first three events.
After five events, we narrowly missed one of two seeds to go to nationals in a head-to-head tiebreaker.
On the fifteens side, we also competed well. Standout matches in my mind are both home matches: one vs. the Lions — which we won — and another vs. Metropolis (first-place in the Midwest) who only defeated us with a last-minute try.
For our efforts we finished the season in 3rd place in Division 1 with an 8-6-0 record while also fielding a Division 4 team.
But perhaps the biggest achievement of our club — one that brought attention from the national rugby media — was the selection of one of our players to attend an Eagles camp.
Back from injury a few years ago, front-row staple Aaron Young helped put the Milwaukee Barbarians on the national map and in the minds of the Eagles coaching staff.
For a young club, these are incredible outcomes on the pitch.
Success off the pitch
Off the pitch, we also excelled. After 3 years, our quote-unquote “merger” experiment between the Harlequins and a number of Milwaukee RFC members was legally ratified. Our by-laws were prepared and accepted by the club members and our first executive board elected.
We also went on tour and won our bracket in Savannah, and we secured a new pitch in South Milwaukee — Zablocki Park — thanks to the tireless efforts of Coach Sharpe.
In addition, we obtained a new beverage sponsorship from the Wisconsin Brewing Company and a food sponsorship from Johnsonville.
Each year the Barbarians vote for their peers in our annual Participation Awards. This year, the awards banquet was held aboard the Harbor Lady cruise ship on May 31, 2014.
Here are the 2013-2014 winners and runners-up:
Forward of the year, 1st XV
- Aaron Young (winner)
- Ignacio Herrera
Back of the year, 1st XV
- Jerry Petfalski (winner)
- Kevin Smyth & Mike Albert (tie)
Most Improved, 1st XV
- Kyle Cwiklis (winner)
- Alex Kovisto & Rob Bartlett (tie)
Forward of the year, 2nd XV
- Paul Castillo (winner)
- Kyle Cwiklis
Back of the year, 2nd XV
- Ben Nirschl (winner)
- Rob Bartlett
Most Improved, 2nd XV
- Tony Sims (winner)
- Todd Chini & Zach Setum (tie)
Rookie of the Year
- Nick Vigder (winner)
- Kyle Cwiklis
Rugger of the Year (for contributions on or off the pitch)
- Pat Sharpe (winner)
- Ben Smith