Demetrio Cardiel began his rugby career in the fall of 1985, having been asked by Mark Teel to try his hand at this strange foreign sport. He was an all- round athlete having soccer, baseball wrestling etc, but in no time came to love rugby. Demetrio was unable to make the trip to the Western Championships that spring, which made Ray Marrone suggest he should stick to softball. Stung by the observation, he did not miss another championship during the following five years. In 1989 he was selected to play for the U-23 Western Mustangs and also played in three ITT Championships, plus, the President’s Team commemorating the 25th anniversary of both the Dallas Harlequins and the Oklahoma University teams.
The then building Las Vegas Rugby Club in Las Vegas, NV asked Demetrio to play for them. He played for them from 1991 to 1992. He also played for the Pacific Coast Se- lect-Side Championship during the same time. In 1990 also played for the U-23s US Eagles against France
Learning that the Aardvarks were in danger of folding, Demetrio moved back to Albu- querque in 1993 to help keep the team alive. The ‘Varks’ acquired their ‘home’ pitch at Phil Chacon Park through a master move by Demetrio. The Brujos were first offered the field but didn’t jump at the opportunity. Demetrio jumped in and convinced the city that the Aardvarks should have it. Thanks to his efforts Phil Chacon is now the home of the Aardvarks. The following years produced some of the ‘golden years’ of Aardvark rugby. Each year they won the Rio Grande Championship; the first year, winning the Western Championship of which they have qualified every year since. He played Hooker and soon established himself as a player to be reckoned with, much to the fear of opposing for- wards who breathed a sigh of relief when the final whistle blew and they had survived.
In 1995 Demetrio got married and the union produced two boys; Diego and Mateo. In 2000 he moved his family to Las Alamos, NM but continued playing for the Varks as much as possible. His playing career culminated with the Aardvarks playing in the 2009 USA Rugby National Final in Glendale, Colorado and the following year in the Final 16s played in San Diego, California.
During Demetrio’s rugby career he has played over 35s and 45s with Old Southwest, SF Clowns, Denver Harlequins, Chicago All-Stars, Kansas City Blues and the Virginia Cardi- nals in places like Catalina Island, the Bahamas, Vancouver, Fort Lauderdale, Aspen and other great cities in the United States.
Among Demetrio’s well deserved awards are: High Desert Classic Most Valuable Back 1989, High Desert Classic Most Valuable Forward 1999, Santa Fe 10s All Tournament Team (9 times), Most Valuable Clown 2004 (SF Clowns), Man of the Match-Premier Match-Nassau (Chicago All Stars), Western Select Side Champion 1989, 35s Champion- Aspen Ruggerfest-209 (KC Blues, 45s Champion 2010, 2011, 2012 (Virginia Cardinals.
Demetrio’s finest achievement by far has been coaching both his sons for 11 years in the game of Rugby. He currently coaches the Los Alamos Nukes U-19 boys’ team where Mateo is the scrumhalf and Diego the fly-half. Both are the Captains.