Collegiate Rugby Championship

Virginia Tech Athlete Pushes Forward Despite Challenges

Andrew Haskell Hopes to Help Hokies at the 2015 Penn Mutual CRC

Philadelphia, Penn. — May 12, 2015 — Andrew Haskell is determined to play at the 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (Penn Mutual CRC) as a part of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) men’s rugby team. Over his multiple years with the Hokies, Haskell has faced some serious physical challenges, but is making he can play in all three of the team’s consecutive championship appearances.

Since his father worked overseas, Andrew has spent most of his life living abroad in various places. He was first introduced to rugby in Australia and later on at an international school in Indonesia. Afterwards he spent his high school years in the United States where he played football and lacrosse. However, he was happy to pick up the sport once again when he began attending Virginia Tech in 2010. The school was a perfect fit for Haskell due to its successful engineering program and was close enough to his family who currently live in the Washington D.C. area.

It was in his first year that he immediately bounced back into rugby and became a Hokie, the school’s mascot and nickname. Haskell’s collegiate rugby career began in 15s, what the school had been participating in since the team’s inception in 1968. However, in 2011 Virginia Tech gave 7s a try for the first time, and competed in the Atlantic City International tournament, which was the precursor to today’s Atlantic Coast Rugby 7s championship. Two years later the team took their 7s program to an even more competitive level by participating in the 2013 CRC.

Haskell recalls, “The first year was really tough for us as a team because we’d never played on a stage like that before. I honestly think that we could’ve performed better than we did that first year.”

The Hokies ended up going to the Bowl Final but lost 17 vs.12 to Northeastern University. The following year the team decided to once again enter the CRC, but right beforehand Haskell suffered a surprising injury. On his way to a team practice he simply picked up a box of team bags when he felt a stabbing pain in his thumb, Haskel had torn the extensor pollicis longus tendon in his right hand; surgery was necessary.

Already the month of the 2014 CRC, May, Haskell pushed through and played at the championship despite his lack of thumb movement. Overall Virginia Tech placed second in the E pool but only made it to the Plate semi final, where they were defeated 10 vs. 20 once again by Notheastern.

Going forward Haskell decided to take some time off and waited until November 2014 to once again play rugby alongside his fellow Hokies. Unfortunately he experienced another setback during training. Although it did not require surgery, it did require a serious amount of physical therapy to they tendon back in functioning order. His academic studies relied on using the notes of other classmates due to his lack of dexterity, and required extra time for testing.

Finally in January 2015 Haskell came back to once again play rugby for Virginia Tech and plans on participating in the 2015 Penn Mutual CRC. He’s currently a fifth year student and completing both his Bachelors of Science in Civil Engineering and a Masters of Science degree in Geotechnical Engineering.

Bill Whalen, the Manager of the Hokie’s Men’s Rugby Team, said, “Andrew Haskell is the most dedicated student athlete I’ve had the pleasure of working with. His work ethic is second to none, and he inspires those around him to put in the necessary effort to become the best players they are capable of becoming. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Andrew is that even with the rigorous rugby training schedule at Virginia Tech, he continues to thrive academically as he finishes up his degrees.”

After competition in the 2015 Penn Mutual CRC this spring, Haskell will be graduate and move to Houston, TX to start his career. Although he has yet to choose a club, he is interested in continuing with rugby.