Heun, unbeaten Army rugby to play in ACRC Bowl

November 21, 2014

luke_heun_rugbyHis family’s legacy lured him to West Point, but Luke Heun of Palmer followed his heart to the rugby field.

“Oh man, I love it,” he told me.

The sophomore from Alaska is a key member of an undefeated Army team that won the Rugby East Conference title and is ranked No. 1 in the American Collegiate Rugby Conference.

Army will carry an 8-0 record into Saturday’s ACRC Bowl game in North Carolina against Life University in a matchup of nationally ranked rugby teams.

“Rugby is the best thing in the world,” Heun said. “Every day is like a new challenge. We call each other ‘Brother.’ We’re so close. We’re pretty much a family. It just makes you want to work your ass off.”

The Army Black Knights have already racked up victories over nationally ranked Kutztown, Air Force, Penn State and Wheeling Jesuit this season.

More than 50 men are on the Army rugby team, but Heun is one of 18 guys to score points.

“It’s not like football where you run into the end zone,” he said. “You gotta finish it by touching the ball in the try zone. It’s amazing to get that feeling.”

Heun, of Palmer High fame, came to Army to follow in the footsteps of his father Robert and his brother Zach, who are both West Point graduates. His other brother Jake is a professional MMA fighter.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to come here,” Heun said. “I want to lead soldiers.”

When he first arrived on campus he wanted to wrestle or play baseball. But that all changed after he was invited to play rugby.

He connected with it immediately.

“I wrestled and played football in high school; it’s unreal how easy the transition was,” he said. “Honestly, if it was offered when I was in high school I would have played all four years. That’s how awesome it is.”