BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – The Almost Heaven 7’s Rugby Tournament was held at the Bridge Sports Complex from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 18.

There were a total of four men’s teams and five high school girls teams in attendance at the tournament.

Raymond “Ray” Bezjak, the organizer of the tournament, wanted to have this event in the Bridgeport area to show people what rugby is, in hopes that other teams may be formed, or other kids would want to join a team. He has said that the War Hounds long-term vision is to grow multiple teams within’ different divisions of high school boys and girls, men’s, women’s, and college students.

The only West Virginia high school girls rugby team were the hosts of this local tournament. The West Virginia War Hounds are a newly established team that started in the Spring of 2022. Since there are no tournaments or games for high school girl’s rugby in the state, this team has played their first seven games in the Pennsylvania, Ohio and Maryland areas.

“Almost Heaven 7’s Rugby Tournament” was previously ran by a local men’s team until late 2014. It has now been taken on by the new girls team, the WV War Hounds, to bring rugby back to the schools of West Virginia.

Kylie Richards, War Hound’s team captain, began talking about her experience on being new to the game.

“It’s very scary, ’cause we came into it not knowing anything,” Richards said. “But, it’s fun because we get to create something new.”

When she was asked what she would say to somebody interested in joining a team, she said, “it’s a great game, I love it. Um, it’s super fun but it’s also very scary. But, I’m sure if somebody tried, they’d fall in love with it too.”

Richards said she is excited to get more opportunities when the team begins to expand.

The West Virginia War Hounds will be traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the weekend of June 25 to play in the “Steel City 7’s Rugby Tournament.”

If interested in joining the team, you can contact John Snider at the Doddridge County Park by:
Phone: (304) 873-1663
Email: John.Snider@doddridgecountyparks.org