SBCC rugby superstar is ready to take his talents to the next level


Kevin Ham

Vaquero’s rugby player Chris Noggle poses before practice at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, 2019, at Elings Park in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Max Mullins, Staff Writer

Standout rugby star and Santa Barbara native Chris Noggle has big plans for his athletic future and a career that’s already taken him across the globe.

“It looks like he’s going to make the national team, I’m pretty certain of it,” said Kevin Battle, Noggle’s head coach at the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy.

Noggle was first exposed to the sport when he had baseball practice near the local youth rugby team, the Santa Barbara Stingrays. He remembers being intrigued and deciding to start playing, just for fun at first.

Rugby and baseball both being spring sports led to conflicts in Noggle’s schedule. When he decided to give up rugby for baseball, he surprised everyone, including his former baseball coach.

At 16, he started training one-on-one with Battle and regularly watched the Rugby Academy’s games.

“Watching with the older guys and being accepted was really encouraging,” he said.

Noggle repeatedly tried out California’s state team. The connections that he made there helped him make his way to the under-18 All-American team.

He said that receiving his acceptance email is one of his is one of his best rugby memories, and remembers denting the roof of his friend’s car in his excitement.

As an All-American high schooler, he competed in the Rugby Europe Men’s Under 18 European Championship, which took him to France. They weren’t particularly successful on the pitch, but Noggle still lists it as another favorite rugby experience.

Although he didn’t get into his first-choice colleges, it became a silver lining when he was able to stay in Santa Barbara with Battle and enroll as a kinesiology major. He knows Battle as being “one of the best coaches I’ve had at any level,” and has been dedicated to playing rugby for the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy.

Battle said he was very happy with that decision.

He called Noggle “very fast,” a “calm presence,” and “an exceptional athlete.”

“He’s a monster on the field and a hard worker off of it,” Battle said.

Noggle credits his work ethic to his brother, who he played baseball with as kids. His brother gave up sports to focus on school, but Noggle knows him as relentlessly pursuing whatever he puts his mind to.

Noggle stays relentless in his athletic pursuit while maintaining a positive perspective.

“Chris is a positive guy who bring the atmosphere up,” Team Captain Royce Fisher said. “He has improved the most as a leader in his second year.”

Noggle, who plays flanker, has drawn inspiration from New Zealand All-Blacks Player Richie McCaw, widely regarded as one of the greatest flankers in rugby history.

His ultimate goal is to play for the Eagles, the USA national team. The next step on this journey will be a stint with the Under-20 All-American team, followed by a transfer to a four-year university.

Until then, he will continue to be a standout player on City College’s own Rugby Academy.