When Mikey Su’a takes the field his opponents take notice. Su’a is part of the Brigham Young University rugby team – the team that won the 2009 USA Rugby National Championship.
Originally from Samoa, Mikey and his family moved to Utah when he was a teenager. “Rugby is the main sport in the islands,” he says. Since his father and older brother both played for BYU, it was only a matter of time until Mikey tried out for the team as well.
At 5’10” and 290 pounds, it’s hard to miss Mikey, either on the field or working at Discovery Academy as a member of the front line staff.“You don’t have to be a big guy to play,” he says. “It’s mainly fitness and speed. There’s no offense or defense so you’re always playing.”
There are also no time outs and no water breaks during the two forty minute halves. “If somebody gets injured, we just keep playing,” Mikey adds with a laugh. “The medical staff just runs on and tries to stay out of the way.”
Su’a and his teammates spend hours training. Rugby season runs from January to May. During that time the team trains at least two and a half hours a day, six days a week. Off season it’s 2-3 hours a day, four days a week.
Mikey is studying sociology and has a 3.0 grade point average. He’s considering a career in criminal justice or counseling. Besides his work at school, on the team, and at Discovery Academy, Mikey is also a husband and father.
“It takes commitment and sacrifice,” he says, something he hopes was not lost on the Discovery students who often watched Su’a compete in weekend games. When some of the boys wanted to learn how to play rugby, Mikey was happy to teach them the basics of “touch” style rugby. “I don’t know if they’ll keep playing when they go home,” he says. But he hopes they’ll always remember what it takes to be a champion.