Undefeated Philadelphia Gryphons Advance To Their First MAC Playoffs

2018 Undefeated Philadelphia Gryphons

When the cleats start hitting the dirt again next weekend, members of the Philadelphia Gryphons Rugby Football Club will be facing their biggest game yet. 

The city’s gay and inclusive men's team is set to compete in the Mid-Atlantic Conference Division 4 championship on Saturday, May 5 down in Leesburg, VA and take on longtime rival the Washington Renegades – the crowning achievement of the team’s first ever undefeated season this past fall. That historic season marked a major milestone for the Gryphons as they celebrate their 15th anniversary in 2018.

“This team’s success is a testament to each and every one of our players’ determination and hard work, on the shoulders of the many great ruggers that preceded them and kept this team on its path forward,” said Gryphons President Ray Fritz. “I’ve said it many times before, but this is an amazing group of men, and we have so much more to accomplish – this championship game and beyond.”

The undefeated fall season is one of the many successes the Gryphons have accomplished over their lifetime, including those on the pitch as well as its continued work to support the local LGBT community.

The team first formed in 2003, when a group of gay ruggers from Washington D.C. and New York City ventured to Philadelphia that January to spark interest among the local community. In the months that followed, more and more locals found their way to the pitch and eventually formed the Gryphons. 

As the team has grown since then, so has the community of gay and inclusive rugby teams around the world, collectively known as the International Gay Rugby (IGR) association. These teams are committed to welcoming traditionally under-represented groups – particularly gay men and men of color – to engage in one of the most popular sports in the world, while ultimately being symbols of strength and community in their cities.

That message of inclusion will be broadcast on an international level this June. On the heels of the D4 championship, the Gryphons will be packing their bags for the 2018 Bingham Cup in Amsterdam. The biennial tournament brings together IGR teams from across the globe to compete against each other, in honor of fallen 9/11 hero and San Francisco Fog player Mark Bingham. 

Regardless of previous experience or athletic abilities, the Gryphons welcome anyone interested in playing rugby, or assisting with the team’s social and community activities, to come out to any of their practices or events.

The Championship game will be at Morven Park in Leesburg, VA on Saturday, May 5 at 4pm. Come down and cheer on the Philadelphia Gryphons!