Home > Martin Keuchkerian 2016 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipient

Martin Keuchkerian -
 2016 Kevin Higgins College
Scholarship Grant Recipient

San Diego, CA (December 26, 2016) - 2016 Kevin Higgins Scholarship recipient Martin Keuchkerian can be called a man of many sports. From handball to mixed martial arts, you name it, Martin has played it all! But from the moment Martin was introduced to rugby for the first time, he knew it would become his biggest passion. The Uruguay native began his rugby career with the Montevideo Cricket Club in Solymar, Uruguay at age eight.

Martin played eight years with Montevideo and was captain for six out of those eight years in U13, U15, and U17. Shortly after emigrating to the U.S., he began playing for the Mystic River Rugby Club in Malden, Massachusetts. The flanker/center has appeared on both the U19 and Division I men’s side for the Mystic River Gulls. Martin shined in Mystic’s summer U19 program, where he led the team in tackles and tied for the team’s lead in scoring. He has also been selected on more than one occasion as a high school player on a collegiate select-side, where he represented the Mystics in a match against a developmental side for Team Canada.

Martin’s notable rugby career has included a few hardships along the way, as he tore his ACL playing high school football and missed out on an opportunity to try out for the U.S. age-grade team in 2014. Through 15 months of rehabilitation, Martin was able to overcome his injury. He appeared in his first post-injury game with the Mystic’s on a U19 tour to Ireland in spring of 2016 and was selected “Man of the Match” in two out of three games. Upon returning to the pitch, he re-earned his spot on Mystic’s Men’s Division I panel and competed for the National Championship.

Even though his high school did not have a rugby team, Martin was selected for Massachusetts select-sides. He will continue his rugby career with the University of Virginia Cavaliers this fall. He aspires to one-day play professional rugby in the United States and Europe and to ultimately become a member of the U.S.A. Eagles.

Martin’s ability to balance work, school, and rugby with superior results is the ultimate testament of his character and will to succeed. “He has exhibited the same characteristics that he has exhibited in rugby with his academics and work life. He is determined, intelligent, and hard working. I have no doubt that he will continue to be successful in all of his future endeavors,” said Thomas Clark, Mystic River Gulls U19 head coach.

Martin exceled in the classroom, graduating from Revere High School in Revere, Massachusetts in 2016 with a 3.97 GPA and ranked 38 out of 408 students in his class. He is a member of the National Honor Society and president of the Italian Honor Society. Martin even received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence which honors recipients with individual recognition from the President of the United States and the U.S. Secretary of Education for their educational excellence and academic growth in the classroom. He has also received academic honors for excellence in mathematics and history.

In addition to rugby, Martin participated in several community service projects and extra curricular activities. He has dedicated his time and efforts by volunteering with the Italian Honor Society, various national health related charity walks, and Revere High School. He served as coordinator and volunteer for Revere’s Blood Drive for the Red Cross, planted trees in his community after Revere’s tornado, and translated and interacted with children during family community nights. Martin was also a member of “Power of Know”, a group of student leaders dedicated to raising awareness of the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use. The club strives to get students more involved in school activities as healthy alternatives to destructive behaviors.

Martin says that rugby has taught him dedication and discipline that has been applicable to every aspect of his life. “Before rugby I was an average student, not bad but nothing impressive either. But once I started studying like I played rugby everything changed. My grades went nearly perfect, my tests had little to no error, and I became very vocal in the classroom. Rugby did not just teach me how to be a better player, but instead, how to be a better person that strives for success in every aspect of his life.”

Martin will continue his academic and athletic excellence at the University of Virginia this fall and intends to double major in aerospace and mechanical engineering. He says he understands aerospace engineering is one of the toughest careers there is, but he is eager and ready for the challenge. His career goals include working for NASA or SpaceX upon graduating from UVA, while ultimately hoping to make a professional career out rugby.

Martin has seamlessly transitioned to the collegiate rugby level with the University of Virginia Rugby Program. He is described by UVA Head Coach, Hennie van Zyl, as a player with extreme rugby knowledge and single handedly was the best player on the UVA rugby team. “He shows good leadership and is just a great advocate for the game of rugby. I see a great rugby future for Martin,” said van Zyl. 

Congratulations Martin, on being named a 2016 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.

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