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Thunder Chickens Clinch National Championship

After an undefeated Division 2 season of 15s rugby, Principia College’s Thunder Chickens headed to Houston, Texas for the Division 2 National Collegiate Rugby Championships.

The team faced Loyola University Chicago in the semifinals and won 52–14. Andrew Matoka from Muhoroni, Kenya, was the top scorer of the game with four tries.

The team of 22 talented players comes to Principia from all over the globe, including from Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and the United States. "We are mostly international players,” says team member Francisco Alessio, from San José de Balcarce, Argentina, “but we have a brotherhood. We support each other in every aspect of our life, and that is reflected on the field."

Heading into the National Championship game against Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Head Coach Philip Kellerman said he hoped “to see the team playing as a unit, sticking together, and leaving everything out on the field.” Though Principia didn’t score in the first 22 minutes of the game, by halftime the team was up 20–6. By the final whistle, Principia had secured a decisive 47–16 victory, demonstrating their excellence on the field.

The Thunder Chickens have shined this year under the coaching team of Kellerman and Ward Patterson. Kellerman, originally from South Africa, joined Principia Rugby as head coach in August with over 20 years of prior rugby coaching experience. Retiring veteran Patterson, who coached with Kellerman during his final fall season in order to ensure a smooth transition, says “Principia College is very fortunate” to have Kellerman on board.

In reflecting on this team’s strengths throughout the season, Kellerman says, “We are an experienced team, in terms of years played, with lots of mobility, speed, and work rate. Our team has a strong bond and works hard for each other.”

Hats off to the 2022 Principia Rugby team on an incredible season!