Last weekend saw bus loads of spectators descend on Fairmount Park for HOGFEST. While fans ate freshly roasted pig, ice cream, and drank their weight in beer and cocktails, Wharton’s rugby teams were busy dominating the tournament. Six other schools (Yale, NYU, Cornell, CBS, Columbia Med, Duke) sent teams to compete, but the Wharthogs and Wildebeests took home all of the silverware in a decidedly one-sided tournament.
This year saw record numbers of spectators as the WGA sponsored free buses to and from the event and a number of WGA clubs got involved, with the Veterans Club and Whalasa providing free beer and cocktails, Cluster 3 creating a ‘Hive’ fan section, and Out4Biz super-charging the atmosphere with ‘the DJ truck’. HOGFEST was the perfect pre-game for Walnut Walk.
The Wharthogs were ready for a fight. The first team started the Saturday against a very strong Columbia Business School outfit which boasted a couple of former international level opponents with foreign accents (Note: foreign accents are usually a positive correlation with a player’s ability on the rugby field). However, they were no match for the brute strength and speed of the Wharton forwards led by the irrepressible Paul “Sciuridae” Blanton and pirouetting Eric “3rd Wing” Gleave who bullied their way to the CBS line time and time again. This set the platform for Tom “oh, my hamstring!” Kidd and newbie Ryan “Twinkle Toes” Mills to rack up some points. Once Mills realized the object of the game was to score tries, he was unstoppable all weekend. Final score 24-5 to Wharton.
The Wharton first team won their remaining two games that day at a canter, the highlight for the 500 or so spectators watching being a bloodied Mark “Oh my God, he’s enormous” Wales charging through a fully terrified NYU and Duke combined side. A 100% record for the first team was supplemented by an equally impressive showing by the second team, all of which meant that both teams progressed to their respective final spots; the firsts into the Championship Bracket and the seconds into the Runners-Up Bracket.
Sunday rolled in as did a few sore heads after their Walnut Walk escapades. Mere hangovers, however, weren’t going to stop both teams pushing for Wharton’s first set of rugby silverware of the year.
The second team was first up. Their performance belied the fact that the majority of the team had never picked up a rugby ball in anger before September. Inspired by the ferocious rucking and talking of Dave “who’s your daddy” Kimball and Bill “wish I was at Penn State” Concannon, Josh “Silky Smooth” Burdick started pulling the strings and controlling the game. Luckily for Wharton, it turns out we’ve uncovered a sprinter that could challenge Usain Bolt in Rio, 2016. Phil “Asterix” Burq stunned the Yale opposition with a couple of 40m tries to kill off the game before half-time. Wharthog seconds team Runners-Up Champions with a 15-7 win over Yale’s first team!
In the championship final, the Wharthogs faced CBS once again. But again, CBS had no answer to our sheer size and aggression. Quenton “Bama 2.0” Craddock and Matias “sleepy” Melero were in a particularly abrasive mood and the ever alert Ryan “squeeze it again” Cocca and Colin “The Patriot” Hartman made sure there was only ever going to be one winner. After wearing out a passionate and capable CBS opposition, Wharton ran away with a 24-0 victory.
The Wildebeests were in a similarly dominant mood as they knocked out all of their competitors before the finals, leaving two Wildebeest teams to play each other in the women’s final. Naturally, the Wildebeests squeezed out a victory to win the women’s tournament.
Next up, the Wharthogs will be competing at the MBA Fall Tournament at Stanford (Nov 2nd & 3rd) and then the Wharthogs, Wildebeests, and friends will be traveling to Bermuda for a weekend of rugby and revelry (Nov 14-17).