Senior business management major Tyler Baustert has been an integral part of the rugby team’s success this season.
The team finished their fall season with a notable 7-3 record and made it to the Three Rivers Silver Division conference playoffs for the first time in the club’s history.
Baustert was named Man of the Match for his performance in the conference championship versus Pitt-Johnstown on Nov. 18. Despite a hard fought battle, the team lost the match and ended up second in the conference. Club president Zachary Schuler explained that the Man of the Match is picked by coaches immediately after each game.
“The Man of the Match is the player that embodies the spirit and the mentality of the team in every aspect of the game. Tyler gave it everything had while still showing respect to the referees and the other team. His leadership was inspiring yet not overwhelming, as he gave our captain the space he needed to carry out his role on the field. He met every expectation that we have for someone wearing our crest,” Schuler said.
Baustert shared that he felt privileged for the recognition.
“I feel really honored, although I wish I could have done more to help us win. But we made it to the championship and we only started the club a few years ago. So I’m just really proud of the team in general,” Baustert said.
The club was founded during Baustert’s freshman year, in 2014. When the club began there were only 10 players at the first practice, and now the team is a force to reckon with within the conference. Baustert said he has really enjoyed watching the club grow over the last 3 years.
“Watching us develop into a real team has been extremely rewarding. Everyone’s understanding and respect of the game and their eagerness to learn has grown exponentially. We now have better athletes and a better brotherhood overall,” Baustert said.
Baustert is originally from Apollo, PA and is a graduate of Apollo Ridge High School. He played four years of football there. He also played for a club rugby team, the Kiski Valley Titans. Switching from football to rugby was an exciting opportunity for Baustert.
“I really enjoyed football but rugby is just so much more fun and interesting for me. I was a lineman in football, so getting to touch the ball and score in rugby gets me excited,” explained Baustert.
The team will start their spring season next semester. Baustert noted that he would like to see his men win a couple of tournaments and bring home some trophies. He said the team also plans to expand and start a 7s team, which he thinks would have a chance to compete for the national title.
After graduation, Baustert hopes to continue to play rugby. He plans to play for the Greensburg Rugby Football Club, and then pursue playing on a semi-professional or professional team.
He also currently works at UPS, and upon graduating with his business management degree with a minor in operational excellence, he will have the opportunity to move up in the company to work in industrial engineering or dispatch.
More information about both the men’s and women’s teams can be found at saintvincentrugby.com
Photos: Tyler Baustert Facebook, saintvincentrugby.com