February 27, 2024

PCM alum named captain of Iowa State’s rugby team

Wes Cummings will start his fourth season for the Cyclones’ club program

PCM alum Wes Cummings was a four-sport athlete.

He helped the Mustangs win their only state football title, won 160 matches in his prep wrestling career, was part of sprint relay teams at the state track and field meet and started his final two seasons on the baseball diamond.

But Cummings wasn’t even done with his prep athletic career when he made the decision to not continue his career at the next level.

“I chose to not pursue a sport in college because I felt I wanted to see what life was like outside of athletics,” Cummings said. “I knew college sports are like jobs and they take up most of your time.”

Cummings’ path after high school took him to Iowa State University. And it didn’t take long for him to dip his feet back into athletics. And he will begin his fourth season on the Cyclone rugby team this fall.

Cummings was named captain of this year’s squad by his coach recently, too.

“When I got to campus, I was introduced to the sport by a friend,” Cummings said. “I was tentative to join, but I soon realized this was the perfect balance for me. It satisfied the side of me that loves competition, but also allowed me to explore life outside of sports and constant training.”

Cummings set school records as PCM’s tailback on the football field. He finished his all-state career with more than 4,000 rushing yards and 52 touchdowns and the Mustangs were 36-7 in his four years on the gridiron.

As a high school wrestler, Cummings was a two-time state medalist. He was 160-15 in his four seasons and helped PCM finish fifth and eighth in the Class 2A team standings his final two seasons.

“Rugby differs from football in a lot of ways,” Cummings said. “It’s a much more fluid game with less stopping and starting. I felt my time as a running back helped me become a solid rugby player offensively, but I feel like my greatest strength in rugby is my defensive play, which comes from football and wrestling.”

Iowa State’s rugby program is a club sport that plays in the highest division for non-scholarship programs. The Cyclones play in the Heart of America Conference, which also consists of Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Arkansas.

Rugby in the fall is dedicated to 15-man rugby and the spring season is for seven players.

“Think of it like if football had a second season dedicated to 7-on-7,” Cummings said. “The two types of rugby are quite different when it comes to strategy and personnel. 15s is very focused on the big guys. The game is 80 minutes and the pace is a little bit slower. 7s games are only 14 minutes long and there is a lot more creativity involved. (Seven-player rugby) is more for the quicker guys on the team.”

Iowa State won its conference in 7s last spring and made it to the final four at nationals in Atlanta. The Cyclones finished third in the conference in 15s last fall and only lost in the final seconds to Kansas, which was the national runner-up.

Cummings’ duties as a captain this season will include practice plans, on-field decisions and keeping players motivated.

Cummings also was named Heart of America Player of the Year in 7s last season.

“I have made great friends and learned an awesome sport in the process,” Cummings said. “I encourage anyone who has interest in rugby to watch a game or two and learn more about the sport.”

Cummings succeeded in the classroom at PCM, too. He is set to graduate from Iowa State in May of 2023 and he’s made the Dean’s List in nearly all of his semesters along the way.

He’s majoring in finance and just finished a minor degree in Spanish. His plan after college is to become a financial advisor.

“Iowa State has been a great experience overall,” Cummings said. “I have learned a ton and met a lot of great friends.”