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Drury Adds One of the Fastest Growing Sports in the Ozarks

By Jacob Cersosimo October 3, 2022

Drury is adding a number of club sports on campus this school year all focused on elevating enrollment.

One of those might be one of the fastest-growing sports in the Ozarks.

Bolivar’s Eli Roberts has always been an athlete.

“I played baseball, football was my main thing, and I ran track,” he said.

His dream school was Drury, but he didn’t plan on playing college athletics until now.

“Rugby kind of incorporates my favorite things about football. I was a running back, the lateral passes it’s just downhill speed. I love tackling, I love defense,” said Roberts.

His first rugby season will also be the school’s first season.


“Starting a program is really difficult. This is it, rugby has come on board all over the country, there are 4,000 club teams that offer rugby right now at the university college level across the country,” Drury men’s rugby coach Bryan Bevel said.

Springfield has had adult rugby for years, but a college program could bring a whole new group of players.

“Really, really important to add that collegiate level because it’s a step in-between getting the high school girls going and playing as the senior women and adult.” said Drury women’s rugby coach Katie Scott.

Most Panthers players will be like Roberts, with little experience, but Scott says that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It’s just exciting for people to explore a new sport and find out that they love it, and they have a new opportunity,” said Scott.

That opportunity is one that Roberts is very much looking forward to.

“Just a lot of growth within this first year, hopefully next year we’ll get a tougher schedule and be able to hang with them,” Roberts said.

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