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Lake County Gladiators rugby hits the field

Looking for a new contact sport this spring? Join the Lake County Gladiators rugby team. Founded in 1990, the team currently is in a rebuilding stage.

“We recently had quite a few people retire that had been with the team for a while,” said Ryan Gillaspie, player and head recruiting chair. “Now we’re hitting the reset button and starting over.”

Rugby may be a contact sport, but the players know how to have fun, even with the opposing team, he said.

“The unique thing about rugby is after every game, the home team hosts a party for both teams to come to,” Gillaspie said. “After you pretty much beat each other up on the field, you go to the bar. There’s free beer and food for both teams. We eat and drink and have fun. There’s usually a bunch of singing involved.”

The Gladiators currently have about 28 players ranging in age from 18 to 41. Gillaspie said the sport is good for anyone, regardless of size, occupation or physical ability.

“The cool thing about the team is that we have just about every type of guy you could think of,” he said. “We have teachers, a couple youth pastors, marines. It’s a completely eclectic group of guys on the team.”

The team’s home field is at Stearns School and Hutchins in Gurnee, across from the Grandwood Park subdivision. Practices are held 7 to 9 p.m. Thursdays and games are 1 p.m. Saturdays. Dues are $100 per season. Players must be age 18 or older. For information, visit

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