The Staples rugby team of the Connecticut Valley League completed its season with a 3-4-1 record under first-year Coach Oscar Barahona.

Barahona took over from Ray Patterson, who stepped down for medical reasons. Before taking over at Staples, Barahona played for the Connecticut Yankees rugby team. He was expected to be an assistant coach for the team before Patterson left.

"I think he did great," said senior tri-captain Harry Rappaport of Barahona. "He really came into the season with heart and pride."

The senior leadership from Rappaport, senior tri-captains Charlie Stanley and Collin Carroll, classmates Kristian Berg, Eric Nebelung, Wes Langum, Will Muchnick, and Ryan Vaughn proved important for Staples with the transition between coaches.

"Everyone had each other's backs," said Barahona. "The seniors were all patient with the new players."

Those new players actually included Muchnick and Vaughn, who jumped right into this season. They weren't the only players learning though. The 2009 team experienced a lot of injuries as a result of poor tackling technique and Barahona set out to fix that. The new coach also put the team through rigorous workouts that strengthened the team both physically and mentally.

"Not one person quit. That's what I want," said Barahona. "Everybody was in it together. We bonded as a team."

The team was forced to rally after it lost junior George Birch, whom Barahona called "the best tackler on the team," to a lacerated foot. Still, the team managed to have a respectable season.

"I was very happy with the result," said Rappaport.

"The intensity increased this season," said Barahona. "The commitment was better than last year."

Next year, Patterson should be back to coach alongside Barahona, and it seems the program has a bright future. The JV team, or what they call the B-team, had and undefeated season, possibly a sign of what's to come on the varsity level with the upcoming players. In fact, the team has taken on a nickname among Staples rugby. "The Killer Bs were swarming everybody," said Barahona.

Next year's captains will be 2011 seniors Jesse Sussmane, Ed Hickson, and Bret Epright.

"I think we're going to be a great team next year," said Rappaport.

Barahona agreed. He said, "This is going to be the real first season with a lot of off-season working out. A lot of kids are playing summer rugby and the program is getting bigger."

"A huge part of our team is recruiting," said Rappaport. "Last year players did a really good job."

Apparently they did; 2010's team had about 30 freshmen. The team recruits many soccer and football players who look to play a spring sport.

"This is a game you have with you for the rest of your life," said Rappaport.