Alumni Day 2016 transpired under overcast Binghamton skies. Just enough sun broke through the clouds to keep the gingers reaching for sunscreen. With game time temperatures in the lower 60’s, it made for “great rugby weather”.
The action began with the She-Devil game. 2016 marked the 25th anniversary of Women’s Rugby at Binghamton University. For the first time, She-Devil Alumni represented the organization at the now annual Friday evening University-Alumni meeting.
For the men, the day began on a solemn note with the dedication of the Alumni Memorial Bench. This bench memorializes 6 Devil Alumni that have died: Joseph Mead, Robert Mead, David Bosnick, Michael Szalay, William Seward, and Terence Haran. Alumni Cully Perrenod hand-crafted a magnificent piece to give remembrance to these fallen brothers. Brian Grills read a dedication, Kevin Gerrity updated the crowd on BURAA activities, and then the action moved to the pitch.
The Alumni squad drew first blood 7 minutes into the half. After the Alumni squad nearly breached the try line, the Devils attempted to clear their own end with a kick for touch. The kick was blocked, and then fallen on by Alumni Nick Esposito. No conversion. Alumni 5 – Devils 0.
Two minutes later the Devils answered back when a heavily overloaded Alumni wing was breached by Devil Alex Mason. Failed conversion, Alumni 5 – Devils 5. The tightly contested first half would come to a close with the score locked at 5 per side.
The second half remained closely contested. Half way through the second half, Devil Greg Lenane intercepted an Alumni wing pass and went the remaining distance, 75 meters, for a score. Devils 10 – Alumni 5.
The final score of the half came with 3 minutes remaining. Devil Pierce Butler would add to the the Devil lead with a try and subsequent conversion. Devils 17 – Alumni 5.
Offense would take over in the 3rd half with Alumni scoring 4 tries and the Devils adding 2. The alumni squad was plagued by numerous penalties called against the squad by unfriendly alumni referee David “Feltcher” Katz. The Alumni wing connected for a 60 yard run engineered with passes from Brian Pinto to James “Squirtle” Konicoff, on to Matt “Speedy” Montalvo and ultimately the end zone was reached by Spencer Mendelson. With the conversion completed, the Alumni pulled to within 5 points of the Devils 17-12.
The score was quickly tied with superior wing play on a pass from Squirtle to Weasel, back to Squirtle with Squirtle touching down. The Alumni pulled ahead on play that found Evan Haber moving the ball out to Alumni Game-MVP- Pinto who would touch it down. No conversion Alumni 22 – Devils 17,
The Devils capitalized on an alumni penalty and “A-Rod” punched it in for a score. No conversion 22-22.
Devil Game-MVP, Ray “Fluke” Henry, would score the first of his 3 tries when the Devil wing again heavily overloaded the Alumni line. At the drink-up, Henry would later proclaim “it [the 3 tries] was a fluke”. Spencer Mendelson answered back with an Alumni try. With the conversion completed by Pinto, the Alumni left the third half leading 29-27.
Alumni replacements made the difference in the 4th half as the tired Devils squad succumbed to the endless supply of some-what-fresh legs. Hawk added the first Alumni score but seasoned veteran Pat “Dogbreath” Giordano would miss the easy conversion from straight away. Nick Esposito added his second of the day. Sutter then joined in the action with a touch down. Mark Ardito added the next Alumni try after he broke the Devil line and sped 75 meters untouched for the try. The next try came on what may have been the play of the day, Spencer kicked to himself and chased down the ball in the end zone, touching down for the score. Alumni 54-Devils 27.
Rounding out the fourth half, Alumni Game-MVP candidate Esposito punched in his 3rd of the day (59-27). This was followed by a try by Shankman and then a final score from Steve Prosperi with completed conversion by Pinto. Final score at the end of 4 halves, Alumni 71, Devils 27.
The squads stayed on the pitch for an additional half (two?) and numerous Alumni and Devil tries followed.
The Pig Roast at Round Top Park was highlighted once again by the exquisite meal prepared by Mike “Woodchuck” DiMarco with additional catering assistance provided by Dan “Sly” Pagan. This was followed by the usual debauchery of songs, swill, and gladiator events.
Thanks to all for showing up, for supporting the Devils, and for your contribution toward another great Alumni Day.
John “Opie” Stoutenburg ’95.