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Riedesel ready to represent, repeat in rugby

The Air Force rugby team celebrates after winning its third consecutive Armed Forces Rugby Championship tournament title.  The team was undefeated in this year's competition.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Major Scott Foley)

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- The Air Force rugby team celebrates after winning its third consecutive Armed Forces Rugby Championship tournament title in November 2006. The team was undefeated in the 2006 competition. (U.S. Air Force photo/Major Scott Foley)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A Schriever Airman will take his rugby skills to a national level once again in October, hopefully with the same championship results he and his team have had in the past. 

Joseph Riedesel has been selected to attend the Armed Force Rugby Team's Trial and Training Camp at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The rugby team is part of the Air Force Sports Program, designed to provide active-duty Airmen, Guardsmen and reservists with an opportunity to compete. 

Riedesel was one of 35 athletes who made the final cut in 2006. He also played on the team in 2005. The team is going for its fourth championship in a row, and Riedesel said he hopes to contribute to the team's success. 

He has the experience and the skills for the feat. Last year he led the Air Force squad to a perfect 5-0-0 record, including a dominating 36-3 rout of the Marine Corps rugby team. He was one of five Air Force players selected to the Armed Forces Rugby Tournament team and has represented the United States in international competitions in Florida. 

All of this is impressive for someone who started playing club rugby his sophomore year at the U.S. Air Force Academy after watching his roommate play. Riedesel soon caught on to the sport and kept playing after graduation. He currently plays for the men's league, Colorado Springs Grizzlies, and on Saturdays with a club at Bear Creek Nature Park. 

Riedesel, who plays the prop and flanker positions, lifts weights three to four times a week and does interval training in preparation for the camp, which will begin Oct. 18. He also plays in base intramural football and soccer. 

"I like rugby because it's man versus man," Riedesel said. "There are no pads involved, and it's real competitive. You use all sorts of athletic skills to play -- you're running a lot, like in soccer, and hitting a lot, like in football. It's a good combination of sports for overall health and fitness -- plus, it's a good time."