Rivalries are seen throughout the Naperville area schools within many different sports. But they are also seen outside of IHSA sanctioned sports as with Rugby, as Will Chevalier explains, “There is a little bit of rivalry going, just being carried on from the football season and other sports, just that crosstown edge and just being able to beat them one last time, we couldn’t get it done in football but it’s being able to go out on top is something special.”
Will Chevalier plays for the Neuqua Valley Football team but he is also a member of the Neuqua Wildcats Rugby Club. The Wildcats just defeated the Naperville Warriors, a team comprised of Benet Academy, Naperville North, and Naperville Central in the Gary Foiles Cup, a game many years in the making and named after the Program Manager for the Naperville Youth Rugby Program, ““I’ve been involved with the rugby program for probably 20-25 years where we started out in a youth program, had a very successful junior high program that naturally developed into the club teams at the high school level. So it’s been exciting to see that growth.”
Mike Amberg, a member of the Warrior Varsity team, was excited to see this competition finally come to fruition, “Well personally for me, it’s been really fun. I know a couple of the guys, we’ve done other rugby camps around the area and in the Midwest and it’s been fun because we always talk about playing each other and we kind of chirp at each other and say we are going to beat each other and it’s fun to actually put our money where our mouth is from all the time we’ve talked to each other.”
Amberg and Chevalier play Rugby for the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy which travels the globe for compeitions, but on this Saturday, the two were now rivals.
“One of the things that has really been interesting is since this was the first time I’ve actually played against [Will], I know how he would run his plays and stuff and it’s just really interesting to see myself run against him because he’s always been someone I’ve looked up to to play like and to go toe to toe and prove myself to a guy that I’ve looked up to so much,” Amberg says.
Playing against their teammates was only one factor of the game. The two Rugby fanatics were also excited to pay tribute to a man who deserves recognition.
“Without him we wouldn’t even be here today. Just getting our names out there, getting us involved and getting outside help to come in and just getting our name out there really,” Chevalier adds.
It also helps that Neuqua gets to walk away with the first ever Gary Foiles Cup with only their name engraved on the trophy.