Q&A: Jonny DeRocha

Tiffinie Randall, Staff Writer

Jonny DeRocha is a 21-year-old senior from La Vista. He attended Papillion-La Vista High School and graduated in 2011. His major at Wayne State is criminal justice with a minor in Spanish. For Jonny, playing rugby has been the most fulfilling experience of his life and is, without a doubt, the greatest sport he’s ever played.

Q: Jonny, how did you initially get involved with WSC Rugby Club?

A: I got involved with rugby after hearing the coach, Darrin Barner, talk about it at orientation the summer before I came to college. I wanted to continue being an athlete while in college and thought it would be a great idea to play. I went to the first practice and fell in love with it immediately.

Q: Was this your first encounter with rugby?

A: Yes, my first encounter with rugby was the first practice. I talked to some of the older players, specifically Taylor Foster and Dave Synnot, about positions and what the game was like. They were really inviting and patient with everyone, not just myself, and they taught us a lot right away.

Q: What is your favorite memory of the last four years on the team?

A: One of my favorite memories is of this year. We went to Minnesota for the very first tournament of the fall season.

None of the other teams there knew who we were until we finished 6-0 in the tournament and brought home the 1st place plaque. We beat the 3 time defending national champion twice in that tournament. It really set the tone for the rest of the season and brought our team together like never before.

Q: Describe some difficulties of playing rugby you’ve experienced.

A: Some difficulties in rugby are having the will to fight through injuries and exhaustion, pushing yourself to be better than the man across from you, and not letting your teammates down; especially as a captain and veteran leader. Rugby pushes you harder then any other sport, so you have to have a strong will to be a great player.

Q: What will you miss the most?

A: I will miss the family aspect of rugby more than anything. My teammates of past and present are my brothers. Even some of the players I have played against are part of my family.

These are the brothers I never had and they always will be.

Q: Any final comments?

A: Going to the elite eight and sweet sixteen multiple times have been great accomplishments as a player here. However, with next semester being my last it’s the 7s national championship or bust. The team we have this year has definitely improved from last year, and we finished 10th in the nation before. I would love to lead my team to the men’s first national championship and finish on top. Even if we do come up short, the experiences I’ve gained playing rugby for Wayne State will always be in my heart, and remain some of the greatest years of my life.