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2021-22 Richard A. Donelli Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Emmett “Ash” Mallach

February 22, 2022

Emmet “Ash” Mallach

Having played rugby for seven years while simultaneously coaching for four, Emmet Ashton “Ash” Mallach enjoys being both a student and a teacher of the game. As a rugby sponge, he looks forward to practices, because it allows him to communicate with his coaches and teammates and to improve both athletically and personally. Through the sport, he has developed a great sense of pride and a community that inspires him to give his very best.  

Mallach began at the youth level for Pelham Middle School. As he advanced to the high school level, he was named a starter for the Pelham Memorial High School junior varsity team and earned reps in varsity games. In the 2018-2019 season, he served as the captain of the junior varsity team and eventually earned his way onto the varsity squad. He helped the varsity side win the Division II State Championship in 2019. While he was sidelined due to injury and the COVID-19 shutdowns during the fall and spring seasons in 2019 and 2020, he made sure to go out with a bang during his senior season. As a senior, he led the varsity side as team captain and helped Pelham Rugby earn a No. 39 spot in the high school boys’ rugby program rankings by the Goff Rugby Report. In addition, he led the team in tries and was named Pelham Rugby MVP.

Mallach also appeared in the Tropical 7s tournament with the Gorillas Rugby Academy Elite 7s U18 team. When Ash wasn’t playing in games, he volunteered his time as a youth rugby coach for the Pelham Recreation Department Youth Rugby program. “As a former professional rugby player, what I valued and appreciated most was his ability to lead in training, in practice, and in game situations. Ash is blessed with physical attributes that suit rugby. He also demonstrates both emotional and rugby intelligence that allow him to guide, what was a relatively inexperienced side, through decision making, leading by example, and encouraging the whole team to learn and improve week to week. Humble and calm, he demonstrates cool headedness when passions can run high, and goes about his business with a quiet grit and determination that commands respect of his teammates, the opposition, and the referee,” said Jamie McLellan, a Pelham Rugby coachMallach graduated from Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, New York with a 3.7 grade point average.

In addition to rugby, he also participated in football and winter track. He was involved in debate team, chorus, and actively volunteered for various organizations in his local community. He was academically distinguished earning membership with the National Honor Society, National English Honor Society, New York State Mathematic Honor Society, National Mathematic Honor Society, and the Academic High Honor Roll. Ash will attend the University of Buffalo and play for the Bulls. He will major in physical therapy and exercise science with intentions of becoming a Doctor of Physical Therapy. “There is often a social connection to fitness and sports, and that is another appealing aspect of working as a PT.

Helping people get better through exercise and using deliberate exercise to prevent further injury is one of the most important parts of sports medicine,” said Mallach. His rugby goals include earning a leadership role for the Bulls rugby program and being named to the Metropolitan New York area U23 All-Star team and the Rugby New York U23 squad. After the completion of his collegiate career, he would love the opportunity to play at the Major League Rugby level. For the time being, Ash is making his presence known for the University of Buffalo. “As he transitioned to his current role as a first team starter at UB he very quickly has become a leader of our rugby program both on and off the field. He has demonstrated a maturity level that is beyond his years especially in regard to his conduct off the field with his peers. Ash has become a mentor to our younger student/athletes and is seen as a peer to the upperclassmen. He has shown a willingness to be inclusive, respectful, and non-discriminatory to all regardless of their age or status within our program,” said Michael J. Hodgins, University of Buffalo Men’s Rugby Head Coach.