Athlete Spotlight: Rugger brings aggressive drive to team and family 


Zach Barnes, a junior history major from New Jersey, plays a very physical game as prop for the Franciscan men’s rugby team.

“When I have the ball,” said Barnes, “I usually try to take down as many defenders with me as I can.” On defense, Barnes said he doesn’t want to let anyone past him without taking a hit.

Barnes has big hopes for the rest of this rugby season. “My goal for the team is to recognize and play to our full potential,” he said. He spoke on how much talent the team has and the fact that they have a chance to do some truly amazing things.

Zach’s favorite Franciscan memory was the 2017 game against Robert Morris University when they pulled off a huge upset on the road to last season’s conference championship.

Additionally, Zach is very passionate about autism awareness. His brother, a senior in high school and his only sibling, has autism. He and his family have volunteered in sports leagues for people with special needs and in the Special Olympics in New Jersey every summer.

Outside of rugby, Zach enjoys racquetball, kayaking, country music and hanging out with friends and household brothers from Brothers of the Eternal Song.