Tech returns to the pitch with heavy hearts

D1A Rugby: Tech returns to the pitch with heavy hearts

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – There are moments in life that remind athletes that wins and loses are far from the most important part of being part of a team. Texas Tech’s rugby team – its family – was reminded of this in the most saddening of ways when Quinn Noel passed away last week.

Noel, a senior and captain for the Red Raiders, was known as a loyal friend and fearless leader to his teammates.

“The one week span from Quinn’s passing to our first practice back on the pitch was beyond emotional,” described Head Coach Philip Terrigno, who had the sorrowing task of breaking the news to the team.

The healing has slowly begun in Lubbock, Tex. The team remembered Noel during a ceremonially lowering of the school flag for a moment of reflection and unity. The solidarity was felt beyond the Texas Tech campus, though. Teams from around the Red River Conference paid their respects to an admired opponent.

“The camaraderie was remarkable. We got plenty of emails and social media posts from clubs in our conference; flowers were sent to the funeral and in a really classy way. LSU and Texas went without No. 7 jerseys in their lineup last week,” Terrigno said. “Can’t thank everyone enough for that. It means a great deal to the entire team.”

The Red Raiders’ Feb. 4 match against TCU was postponed following last week’s tragic news. This week Texas Tech readies itself to do what Noel would want them to do – return to the pitch. The team is set to host Arkansas Saturday, Feb. 11 for a Red River North contest.

“I can’t forecast how we will perform because there is no blueprint for grieving and for handling the loss of a friend and teammate,” said Terrigno. “All I can ask for of the entire roster is that they try to take a bit of Quinn’s enthusiasm and passion, and apply it to the club in any way that’s asked of them”