2022-23 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Program Recipient: Zachary Smith
Zach Smith played for the Liberty Blue Jays for four seasons, earning a conference championship in his senior season. He helped lead Liberty to a fourth-place finish in the state championship tournament and earned selection to the Missouri Boys High School All-State second team in 2022. Zach also elevated his play by participating in Eagle Impact Rugby Academy training camps. At the conclusion of his high school career, he joined Kansas City Northland Rugby Football Club at the men’s league level.
“One of my favorite things about Zach is that he is always ready to compete. He is a dedicated teammate and willing to play where needed, moving from 10 to wing to flanker to anywhere he was needed at any point in the game. His versatility made him an asset to the team. His dedication and commitment to become better is important, not only for him but his team. That kind of self-motivation and initiative to get better will be instrumental in his future, on and off the rugby field,” said Tracey S. Davies, Liberty High School Rugby Coach.
Zach graduated from Liberty High School in Liberty, Missouri in the spring of 2022 with a 3.6 GPA. In addition to rugby, Zach participated in basketball, football, and bowling. He spent over 50 hours volunteering with the A+ program at Liberty High School and the local Meals on Wheels chapter. He was also an active member of his church, earning confirmation his freshman year. During his junior and senior years of high school, he was dual enrolled in courses at the Excelsior Springs Area Career Center. His marks earned him an induction into the National Technical Honors Society and an internship at Heartland Chevrolet while in high school.
He will continue his student-athlete experience at Pittsburg State University. While competing for the Gorillaheads, he will study automotive technology. His career goal after graduation is to become a technician. Aside from helping Pittsburg State reach a championship title, he is determined to help get the Gorrillaheads in on the Division I action. He would love to play professionally in the MLR and dreams of playing for the Eagles one day.
“Zach had played rugby previously for Liberty High School in Kansas City, giving him knowledge and experience, which is awesome! Zach came to practice and fit in well, and over the course of the season he was one of the few freshmen that took charge and helped lead his mates. He did a great job helping lead the backline and pack offensively and defensively. Watching him over the season you could really see his passion for the sport and team,” said Parker Mogren, Pittsburg State University Head Coach.