Athlete Spotlight: Rugby team revives culture of faith


For sophomore humanities and Catholic culture major David Prezzia, adoration for the rugby pitch began in high school. A recent graduate of Gregory the Great Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania, Prezzia credits the school for “really integrating rugby with the faith.”

Now a staple of the Franciscan University rugby squad and most recent Man of the Match in the team’s statement 32-10 victory over Baldwin Wallace, Prezzia said he’s found the same spirituality in Steubenville.

“This year, we’re really looking to revive (the culture of faith), and we really have done that,” said Prezzia, as he noted that the faith emphasis began from day one. “(In preseason) Coach Kramer made sure we got daily Mass in as a team and several talks on what it means to be an authentic man.”

His enthusiasm for a squad primed to perform well down the stretch is founded in the solid leadership of the team’s upperclassmen, student leaders like Paul Deschler and Christian Bittner, who have instilled a sense of familial duty on the team, together with new strength and spirituality coach Andy Gallavan.

Despite the team’s evident potential, the sophomore emphasized the importance of day-to-day practice and patience. “The new guys are picking it right up,” he said, in reference to the freshmen’s aptitude for both rugby and a revived culture of faith.

“It’ll be exciting to see how far we go,” said Prezzia, in direct reference to impending postseason play. “It’s been an incredible journey so far, and it keeps getting better and better.”

A revamped squad and a focus on Christ-like manhood have the Franciscan University rugby team on track to care of business in the near future.