Home > Race Noeldner Higgins Scholarship Winner

 Race Noeldner -
 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Grant Recipient

San Diego, CA (December 19, 2011) - Race Noeldner was not born with a C on the left side of his chest but for all the various teams he’s captained during his lifetime he may as well have been. Growing up playing football, basketball and baseball, Race always seemed to be the player the other kids looked up to and the player that the coaches counted on to lead their team to victory.

It was only a matter of time before Race would earn the captaincy of the Pulaski High School rugby team in Pulaski, WI. He began playing with the Roos when he was a freshman. He made an immediate impact to the program and was part of a Pulaski team that finished 2nd in the state.

The Roos made school history in Race’s sophomore year by capturing their first ever Wisconsin State Championship. It was a special moment for Race. “Winning our first state championship was one of the greatest moments of my life. We played under the lights at our high school football stadium. The stands were packed. My brother was the captain of the team. Achieving that ultimate goal for our coaches, past and current team members, family and friends, and with my brother by my side was awesome.”

Race took over from his brother as captain of the rugby team his junior year and led the Roos to a second consecutive Wisconsin State Championship. The Roos couldn’t pull off a three-peat in Race’s senior season as Pulaski finished up as 3rd best in the state.

Race took his captaincy serious and made sure he did everything he could to ensure his team would have success on the field. He recruited players every year, ran training in the absence of the coaches, and if needed, made position and playing time decisions. He also led team fundraising efforts and organized charitable events.

He is just as accomplished in the classroom. He held a 3.85 GPA, including several advanced courses. He was a prestigious member of the National Honor Society his junior and senior years. In addition, Race was the business editor and journalist for the student run newspaper, The Pulaski News. He was a member of Pulaski High’s Spanish Club; the Leo Club, which promoted volunteerism; and the Raider Crew Club, helping freshmen adjust to high school life. He played basketball his freshman and sophomore years, and football all four years at Pulaski and was captain of the football team his junior and senior years.

Race also played an important part in his Pulaski community. He was a volunteer for the Pulaski Food Pantry, the YMCA, Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and Habitat for Humanity. He participated in the annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge. He tutored Spanish and volunteered at the elementary school’s football camp. He was a volunteer on a week-long Missions trip helping rebuild homes and working at a youth daycare in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Because of his talent on the football field, Race received a number of scholarships from Division I programs but turned all those offers down for the opportunity of playing rugby across the country at UCLA. He has set his goals on helping make the UCLA rugby team the best it can be while “demolishing the misconception that Midwestern rugby players cannot keep up with the Californians and international players.” His ultimate rugby goal is to compete as a member of the U.S. National Team in the Olympic Games and World Cups.

According to UCLA head coach Scott Stewart, Race is fitting in well with the UCLA program. “Race has a very quiet and humble demeanor but with a Midwestern wit about him that is now part of our general banter. We liked him immediately. On the pitch he’s a hard running center with quick feet and is an aggressive tackler that can actually move the ball. I look forward to working with Race to help him maximize his potential as a student-athlete and become a leader in his community.”

Race hopes to stay involved with the game once his playing career winds down. “I love the game of rugby to the extent that it is a dream of mind to find an entrepreneurial path that incorporates my job with the game. Growing up in Green Bay and holding stock of ownership in the Packer franchise has planted a seed of maybe one day owning a professional rugby team.”

Congratulations Race on being named a 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.

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