2021-22 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipient: Devon Roosna
What pulled Devon Roosna closer to the sport of rugby was the culture. His experiences on the pitch made him realize that on the playing field, beside different kits, everyone is equal. He credits the game for giving him a family and support system that changed his outlook on humility and how to be a more respectful competitor. He says the sport has helped him humbly accept feedback and open his heart to others. The physical and mental growth he has experienced from rugby have inspired him to apply these philosophies into his everyday life, hoping to bring the world together.
Devon began his rugby career as a freshman for Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He took to the game quickly, appearing on the varsity side all four seasons. As a three-year starter and a one-time team captain for Cardinal Gibbons, he helped his team reach three state title games and won one state championship. He was also a member of the Florida Rugby Dragons representing the best of Florida’s high school talent in tournaments across the country. “Devon is not only one of the finest young rugby players I have ever coached, but he is one of the best young men I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Devon came to me as a young spry 9th grader who had never played rugby a day in his life. While not getting a ton of playing time his freshman year you could tell his love for the game was only beginning. He came to every practice with a great attitude and never once settled on the pitch.
By his junior year Devon had morphed into a starting prop and team captain. He not only took accountability for himself, but he never let anyone on the team slack. He led by example whenever it came to running sprints, doing drills, showing up on time, and putting in whatever work was asked of him. Devon was paramount to Cardinal Gibbons’ rise in the state and national ranks during his four years,” said Berton Miyares, Cardinal Gibbons High School Rugby Head Coach.
Roosna graduated from Cardinal Gibbons High School with a 3.95 grade point average. When he wasn’t on the rugby pitch, he was competing for Cardinal Gibbons on the football field or on the wrestling mat. He was an active member of his community and organized and led a community awareness event for those with “invisible disabilities.” He worked tirelessly to plan and obtain sponsors for the event known as the “Water Balloon Bullseye” in Pompano Beach, Florida, totaling over 100 hours of service. Roosna balanced his studies and extracurricular activities, while also working at the local Publix grocery store for three years.
Devon will continue his athletic and academic career at the University of Louisville. He will major in business management and minor in sports administration, with career aspirations of becoming a general manager in the sports world. Upon graduation, he intends on attending law school to prepare him for the future. While playing for the Cardinals, he is determined to improve daily and help others do the same. “As we truly yearn and desire not only for our own success, but for those around us as well, not only will personal and team accolades come, but the game will improve. As we all work and improve and grow together as ruggers, we will have a worldwide family and competitive games and divisions throughout all levels of the sport, which is what brings enjoyment to the game, equality,” said Roosna. In his first few months at the collegiate level, Roosna has already become a cornerstone for the University of Louisville program.