The El Paso Scorpions, the Sun City’s very own rugby team, have been around for over 40 years, with the popularity of both the team and the sport increasing with each passing year.
Currently, in the 2017-2018 season, the Scorpions own a 3-0 record, and have already clinched a playoff appearance after defeating the Santa Fe Santos 40-28, the Albuquerque Brujos 38-22, and the Albuquerque Aardvarks by forfeit, in their past three matches, respectively.
As the season is slowly unwinding and revealing consistency, there is no better time to introduce you to the team than now. Note the diversity within the team (varying ages, occupations, origins, etc.,) in which makes this group an unorthodox, yet almost perfect fit for each other.
Please note that this is not the complete roster for the Scorpions. This is a list of willing participants who wanted to be featured in this piece of writing. There are still many players who were not mentioned, but are on the team.
The Forwards (or frontline), tend to be the biggest, strongest, and toughest players on the pitch. They do most of the dirty work for their club by taking part in scrums, rucks, and lineouts, among the rest of the things that they do behind the scenes to try and give their team the advantage.
As the game has evolved over the decades, forwards have demonstrated their ability to run with the ball, a fact that can be seen when the Scorpions play. Most, if not all, of the players are threats to score.
Tony DiNapoli, 44, is the coach of the Scorpions. He has been playing rugby for 25 years, and has been coaching for the past four years. Tony is a former college All-American, and if he does choose to suit up, he will usually play Flanker.
Jonathan Hammond, 16, has been playing rugby for 3 years. He typically plays the Prop position. Aside from his participation with the Scorpions, JT also competes in wrestling and football at Chapin High School.
Wycliffe Omwenga, 32, also a Prop, has played rugby since his days in college. He grew up in Kenya, where he played for Mean Machine RFC in 2005. Wycliffe is an Oracle DBA who has a B.S. in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, as well as a diploma in MIS.
Danny Hernandez, 31, is the Vice President of the El Paso Scorpions. He is also the owner of Phi-Tech, his IT business. Danny has been a part of the club since the spring of 2005, where he has played in the tight five (front and second row) positions.
Bryan Miskimen, 37, loves crossfit, enjoys long walks on the beach, and has been playing rugby for four seasons. He can line up at just about any position that the team needs, but is most familiar at Hooker.
Sam Cline, 30, a former Green Beret, is married to Joanna, with whom they have 5 children. Sam has played at the Flanker, Outside Center, and Wing positions during his tenure with the Scorpions.
Eric Potter, 28, plays anywhere in the frontline for the Scorpions. He is currently attending medical school in El Paso, and looks like a Viking warrior. Trust in the fact that you’ll know him when you see him.
Gabriel Castaneda, 29, is a parts advisor at Casa Nissan. He has three years of experience playing rugby under his belt, and with the El Paso Scorpions, you will most likely find him playing the Lock position.
Alan Martinez, 23, has seven years of experience with rugby, in which he has played ball in high school, college (UTEP), and now, with the Scorpions, where he mans the Flanker position.
The backline consists of the quickest and fastest players on the pitch. They are usually the primary scorers, as well as the final line of defense for their team. Backs tend to be the most skilled when it comes to running with the ball and setting up scoring opportunities for their teammates. Look for many explosive plays from the Scorpions’ backs over the course of the season.
Walter Waldo, 35, is the President of the El Paso Scorpions. He graduated from Americas High School in 2000 before serving in the Navy. Walter has been playing with the Scorpions for nine years, and currently, he plays Inside Center, as well as Kicker.
Stephen Romero, 26, is the captain of the El Paso Scorpions, has been playing rugby for almost 10 years as a Fly Half, and has coached high school rugby for two years. Stephen has a B.S. in Kinesiology, and is currently pursuing respiratory therapy.
Shane Jordan, 25, is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and has been playing rugby for nine years. Shane had played rugby in high school for two years, as well as for the South Pittsburgh Hooligans, before joining the El Paso Scorpions, where you’ll often find him playing Scrum Half.
Bobby “The Gentleman” Torres, 31, is a tech/service manager at 1st Degree Refrigeration. He has been playing rugby for seven years, mainly at the Fullback position. Be sure to give him a call if you need anything fixed or built.
Andrew Hernandez, 31, has played for the Scorpions for 12 years as a Scrum Half. In addition to dedicating his time to rugby, Andrew also coaches football at Hornedo. He can most likely be found yelling at Bobby Torres to settle down when he’s yelling at his teammates.
Steven Espinosa, 23, is from Sacramento, California, where he played high school rugby for two years before joining the Sacramento Blackhawks. Steven is now in his second year playing Wing for the Scorpions.
Chris Navarro, 23, enjoys the outdoors (hiking, creeks, snowboarding, etc.,) and working out. He has seven years of experience playing rugby, with two of those years being in high school; four of them being in college (UTEP); and this year being his first with the Scorpions. Chris has played every position, but has the most experience at Full Back.
Paul Harden, 21, has been in the army for 3.5 years, and has been playing rugby for nine years. He traditionally plays as Wing, but he can also play Hooker.
Jordan Lee, 25, has three years of experience playing rugby, with two of those years being with the Scorpions at the Wing or Full Back position. Jordan is a West Point graduate, and is currently an Executive Officer.
Josue Liano, 27, is in his second season playing rugby as a Wing. He is a licensed vocational nurse who enjoys traveling (he has been to five continents), and hopes to visit them all one day.
Joe Montoya, 27, is an eight-year Army veteran who has been playing rugby for two years. He typically plays Wing, but can line up anywhere the team needs him to be.
Abraham Money, 28, is utility player for the Scorpions. When he’s not busy breaking the bones of the opposition, Abraham is a nurse, and will often be the same person bringing them back to health. Oh, the irony.
Author: Victor Diaz – Special to the Herald-Post