Diné leading NMHU rugby team to first national tournament

By Sunnie Clahchischiligi
Navajo Times

FRUITLAND, N.M., May 1, 2014

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(Courtesy photo)

The New Mexico Highlands University will compete at the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) National 7s Championship.

Rydell Curtis always knew he wanted to be a part of something special.

The junior also known as "Tom Chee," played high school sports for Newcomb High School before graduating in 2009. He later attended Fort Lewis College before transferring to New Mexico Highlands University and became a leader on the school's rugby team.

Curtis decided to participate in the rugby club and now - months later - will be leading the team to its first national championship.

Curtis, 22, will be competing in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) National 7s Championship with his team the NMHU Rugby Club VATOS.

Curtis is a fly half on the team, considered to be the quarterback of rugby. He is the only Native American on the team and the only Native American fly half. Curtis transferred to NMHU in the fall of 2010, after he left Fort Lewis College and took a semester off when his younger brother died.

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