Gladiators takes flight to Tennessee
The Salt Lake City Gladiator Rugby Club was invited to attend the Tennessee 7s Tournament in Knoxville, TN. This is were rugby all began for CEO and founder Moresby Tauiautusa. He felt it the best opportunity for the club to go back east and see what his old boys had to go up against.
Finding flights for a large group was no easy task. Eventually, they found seats on American Airlines. Their seats were separated between two air crafts but after an entertaining trip with delays and lightning leading into Nashville, they finally touched down. Second, getting a van for large groups is not the same as here in Utah. After settling for some family sized vehicles and traffic, they finally made the long drive into Knoxville.
Watch out KNOXVILLE, here are the GLADIATOR STRONG!
Knoxville, Tennessee has over 112.5 miles of paved greenway and natural trails for the citizens of Knoxville. The field was located at Possom Park home of the Knoxville Rugby Club. The field was surrounded in greenery and felt like a completely different setup. After a few hours of practice and getting accustomed to the area, Gladiators took to the town.
Knoxville is lined with wonderful shops, patio seating, and rooftop bars. Let’s face it, this is a plus when traveling with a group like this full of different tastes. When you step foot on these streets, you could get lost in the setting of Downtown Knoxville style. It was a good time spent as a team before the tournament began Saturday morning.
Teams gathered at Possom Park early Saturday morning. Teams came ready to play and Knoxville Rugby Club brought out the best. The Salt Lake City Gladiator Club continued to be impressed with the organization and set up for the tournament that day. With over 12 teams per each men's and women's divisions all in one place, it was incredible to see the efficiency and preparations that went into place to make this Tennessee 7's run smoothly.
The anticipation for each game built up quickly just like the humidity. With a little bit of rain, the Gladiators were soaked but ready. Game 1, Game 2, Game 3- all played out greatly in favor of the Salt Lake City Gladiator Strong. Come time for the Semi Finals, the Gladiators were looking pretty enthusiastic about being able to bring this home and build some great relationships with other clubs. Finals was an intense game that allowed the Gladiator Strong to come home with the coveted Tennessee 7's metal cut award that continues to display the craftsmanship and organization that hosted this spectacular event.
Having the opportunity to participate in the Tennessee 7's was a great experience said several of the players. It was incredible to go onto the field, not knowing how the other teams were gonna play but knowing our team as a unit would do their best.
One of the great things about Knoxville was seeing their seasoned set up of rugby and their ideal of a TEAM.
We continue to be grateful for this experience and look to stay involved with this great ordeal for years to come. Photos were taken by both Ashley Tauiautusa and Knoxville Rugby Player Caitlin Molyneaux. Check out photos in our Fan Gallery or with Caitlin here at this link:
Congratulations to Jacob Klingelsmith for the Tusa Top Forward and Joseph SooChoon as the Tusa Top Back. They were both awarded for their performance with $100 cash.
Thank you to Tusa Pest Control for providing that.
After goodbyes were made and a great social event afterwords, Gladiators took to the skies Sunday morning. They were faced with some dilemmas with Spirit Airlines but finally got home Sunday night, trophy in hand. The team is already looking forward to go back.