Sullivan pushes through


Standing on the defense, 15 Poway athletes face their opponents on the field.
The play starts and University City passes the ball off, where senior Tom Sullivan is there, ready to attack. In one fell swoop, he takes his opponent down, who in the process “rolls like a bowling ball” and takes out his teammate, making two tackles with one play.
Poway High has both a boys’ and a girls’ rugby team. Although similar to football, the only protection the players get is a mouthguard, and the ball can only be passed backwards on the field, unlike football where it is passed forwards.
Sullivan has been playing rugby for seven years and chose this sport over football, which he had also played since he was very young.
“Rugby just makes sense. My passion for the game always keeps me going, I’m not a quitter,” Sullivan said.
On the field, where he plays as a fly-half and hooker, Sullivan is known to be a very reliable teammate. His job is to direct the back line and receive possession of the ball.
“It is very reassuring knowing that Tom is on the field with me. I like knowing that he’ll be there to save me when I’m going down,” senior Andrew Sprouse said.
Off the field, Sullivan and his teammates have many traditions that they like to carry out at their games. This includes doing “the Griddy” (a dance that originates from NFL player Justin Jefferson) after every successful play and “shooting the boot.”
“Shooting the boot” occurs when players score for their first time. They fill one of their cleats up with water after the game and drink from it.
“It really isn’t as bad as people would think. It’s a right of passage for rugby players,” senior Chase Castleberry said.
As of now, the boys’ rugby team is 9-2-1 this season. Their next game is on Saturday, Feb. 19 at home at 4 p.m. Sullivan and his team hope to prevail and take the victory and are practicing hard in order to do so.