RUGBY: Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby takes third at state

The Rainier Plateau Junior Rugby team topped Kent's Valley Joeys for third place at the state championships in Shelton May 14 and 15.The undefeated Rainier rugby team met up with the highly-rated Liberty Patriots from Renton in the semifinal round of state competition.The Patriots, one of the top-ranked high school teams in the country, were also undefeated in league games, but had to forfeit a match for using and ineligible player so they entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the North Division.The Rainier team played it close, staying within two points of the Patriots' lead with scores by Dru Hart from Bonney Lake and Marcus Vassey from Puallup. Midway through the second half, the Liberty offense was able to penetrate the Rainier defense and score the decisive score to take them into the final."It was a commendable performance by the team and we were congratualted by both the Liberty players and coaches for giving them a heck of a battle and a wake up call that Rainier Rugby is the real deal," coach Andy Ramsay said.Standout players for Rainier were Jason Greer of Enumclaw, Joey Ziegler of Sumner, Casey Smith from Enumclaw and Hart.In the game for third place, the sloppy field  the senior-laden Rainier team defeated the Joeys by the narrowest of margins. Standout players were Josh Rayburn from Puyallup, Devon Merryfield from Enumclaw and Kenny Sterling and Brian Harvey, both from Bonney Lake.During the summer, Rainier will be offering seven-a-side rugby and welcomes new players who may be interested in learning one of the newest Olympic sports. The team is also trying to get a girls side started for the 2012 spring season and more boys, ages 14 to 18, for the 2012 season.

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