Michael Compton, a SUNY Cortland senior who spent three years as an Army ranger, is once again part of a respected, select group: the Northeast Rugby Union All-Star Team.
Compton, a physical education major who plays prop for the Cortland Rugby Team, traveled to Colorado last week to play in the national Men’s Collegiate All-Star Championship after being selected for the team. The Northeast Rugby Union is the coordinating body for rugby throughout New York and New England.
“We are very proud of Mike’s accomplishment,” said SUNY Cortland President Erik J. Bitterbaum. “He’s been recognized as one of the best rugby players in the country, and he learned to play the game here at SUNY Cortland.”
Compton, a former high-school football and baseball player, from Jeffersonville, N.Y., spent more than a year serving with the Rangers in Iraq. He began playing rugby about three years ago, after coming to SUNY Cortland.
“I knew I wanted to play ball in college, but I didn’t want to sit on the bench,” Compton said. “I tried rugby. I enjoyed the camaraderie. I enjoyed the sport. I never thought it would take me this far.”
Compton made the starting, 15-man lineup that the Northeast Rugby Union fielded against the West All-Star team in Glendale, Colo. on June 9. He played prop, a key position in the center of a rugby scrum. The Northeast lost 21-14, but won a consolation match the following day against the West’s second squad, 41-15.
Men’s rugby is one of 34 competitive club sports offered to SUNY Cortland students through the College’s Recreational Sports Program. The clubs range from standards like baseball and football to less mainstream athletic activities such as ultimate Frisbee, kickline, hoop dance, Tae Kwon Do and Quiddich, an earthbound adaption of the magical game depicted in “Harry Potter” books and movies.
Compton, 25, walked in Commencement ceremonies last month, but is still enrolled in the College because he will be completing his student teaching requirement this fall. He will teach physical education at Liberty Middle School and Liberty Elementary School in Liberty, N.Y.