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Griz Hurlers Hope to Grow Sport After National Title Win

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The opportunity for the Grizzly Hurling team, still in its first year ever to play for a national title in New York was something they had all been looking forward to for months.

"I suppose all the talk in the world beforehand couldn't have prepared us for it, it was absolutely magic," says Griz Halfback Brian Barry.

Just in their first year, and being from the state of Montana, expectations of the Grizzlies from other teams were relatively low.

"We were looked down upon as the underdog I can guarantee it, when we walked in there it was 'how are these "Montucky" rednecks going to play
Hurling, and we blew their minds, and I think that was definitely an advantage at first," says Griz Half Forward Kaleb Barrett.

While it's clear there are plenty of athletes from all different backgrounds on the team, they credit their coaches for their success.

"To have them teach us all the skills and master them it makes a big difference, and not only that, we have too many players on our team with big hearts and strong minds, so in order for a team to beat us, they were going to have to beat us mentally, and that wasn't going to happen," says Griz Midfielder Sean Blumhardt

So the team was more than prepared once they arrived in New York, and their surroundings for the tournament were unlike any they had played
in so far.

"We played the first games on a pitch called Paddy Field, and it was in a 2,600 acre park area that was outstanding.  And the population in
the area was 80% Irish, so it was kind of like being in Ireland," says Barrett.

The semi-final and championship matches were played in historic Gaelic Park, and after winning 8 matches in two days, the Grizzly Hurling
team were crowned National Champs.

"It was mental.  At the start of the year, had you told us that not only we would set up a Hurling team, but that we'd bring it all the way and be the best college team in the nation, that's something special," says Barry.

"It was a lot to swallow I guess.  To be able to win it, and be able  to take that trophy off everyone else's hand, it was amazing," says Blumhardt.
 
Sitting at the top of the national stage in their first year as a program is an incredible accomplishment in itself, but the team says they're just getting started.

"This Hurling is only starting here.  We've started a stronghold I suppose, and now it's time to turn it into a legacy," says Barry.
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