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first_img Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Rugby has reemerged in Kalispell with the addition of a new high school team and the resurgence of the adult program, the Flathead Moose. The Flathead Valley now has two high school rugby teams, the Kalispell Black and Blue and the newly organized Flathead Rugby Club. Both teams, with players from schools across the valley, began the season recently and play on Saturdays until the end of May, when the state tournament comes to Kalispell. The Black and Blue will host the Montana Youth Rugby Association championship tournament at Evergreen Junior High May 25-26. The Flathead Moose, founded in 1980 by Dave Himsl and Moose Miller, have officially reorganized and rejoined the Montana Rugby Union after a five-year hiatus. The team had trouble fielding a full squad and played a limited number of games the past few years, but longtime members rallied together and recruited enough players for competition. “It’s exciting. We’re finally back,” Colby Miller, a veteran player who has led the club’s reorganization. “To me it’s been about tradition. It’s just a great sport and I wanted to see more people playing it.” Yuji Morisaki had the same motivation when he started the new high school team. Morisaki saw a growing interest in youth rugby, reflected last year by the Black and Blue roster swelling to almost 40 players in just the third year of the program. “The main reason for creating this new team is to ensure that all of the players in the Flathead Valley who want to play rugby have an opportunity,” Morisaki wrote in a letter to the state rugby committee. “I am looking forward to sharing my passion for rugby with these high school students and teaching them about the skills, teamwork and mental toughness that are required to succeed at rugby and at life,” he added. Longtime local rugby enthusiast Bob Foley, who started the Black and Blue program, is helping Morisaki organize the latest upstart along with Dave Castro, another longtime player. The team currently has 17 players led by team captain Levi Owens. “I heard about it on the announcements at school and I was kind of interested,” Owens, a senior at Flathead, said. “Well, first practice I just got hooked. It’s just what I wanted to do.” The Black and Blue, head coached by Dave Kenkel, has close to 30 players, including a core group of seven veteran players, according to assistant coach Dave Reese. The team finished strong last season, advancing to the state semifinals before losing to eventual champion Bitterroot. “It’s great to see a lot of interest in it,” Foley said. “It’s a fun game and a good opportunity for people to get out … The Black and Blue are doing great and I think we’ll be competitive at the end of the year.” The Flathead Moose are holding an alumni gathering on May 5 at Hillcrest Field on Whitefish Stage Road. The Moose play the Missoula Maggots and Foley said a pig roast would be held afterward. Both the high school teams and the Moose are still recruiting for this season. For more information about the Moose, call Miller at 250-3698. For information about the Black and Blue, call Kenkel at 871-0277. For information about the new team, call Morisaki at 212-8119. Emaillast_img read more