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2022-23 Meg Votta Memorial Scholarship Program Recipient: Kaylen Thomas

April 13, 2023

After succumbing to a hamstring injury in 2019, Kaylen Thomas was dealing with feelings of self-blame and self-pity, until her running coach introduced her to rugby. In the fall of 2020, Kaylen joined the Ravenwood Raptor Rugby Club, winning the Tennessee State Championship title in her first season. She was awarded the MVP title and the rest is history! She was also named to the USA South Panthers representative side traveling and participating in numerous tournaments across the United States. 

“Kaylen is especially personable for someone with such strong intellectual and athletic abilities. She is very determined to be the best she can be and will meet any challenge head on. I’m confident that she will be successful in whatever she sets her mind to in the future. She is beloved amongst her peers and well respected by school staff members. As one of the best female athletes in Ravenwood High School history, she excels in all athletic endeavors,” said Broderick W. Faler, Ravenwood High School Women’s Wrestling Coach. 

Kaylen graduated from Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee in the spring of 2022 with a 4.0 GPA. She earned high academic honors such as dual subject Outstanding Student Awards in US Government and Advertising/Public Relations in 2022 and making the Principal’s Honor Roll 4.0 for four consecutive years. She was also awarded Ravenwood High School’s 2022 Scholar Athlete Scholarship. An accomplished multisport athlete, Thomas lettered in track and field, soccer, wrestling, and flag football. She was the 2022 State Wrestling Champion. She was a member of multiple extracurricular organizations including Echoes for Hope, DECA, Girl Scouts, and her local church. She also maintained part time jobs. 

She will continue her rugby and academic career at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. She plans to continue to participate in USA Rugby’s pathway camps for 15s and 7s in hopes of making an Olympic team or Rugby World Cup team in the future. While competing for Mount St. Mary’s, she will major in health sciences with career aspirations of becoming a physical therapist or athletic trainer. 

“Kaylen is a highly talented multisport athlete with wrestling and track accolades, as you know. She was immediately a key contributor to our program from the minute she stepped on the practice pitch. She has adjusted well this first semester balancing her academic and athletic commitments. Kaylen is always looking for extra conditioning and either shows up to practice early or stays late to do additional skill work when she has time in her schedule. As she ages out of the USA U18 program into the U20s and continues to develop at the Mount and within the 7s pathway, she will become a strong presence in the college game with a bright international future. Kaylen is an x-factor player with strength in contact and blazing speed that makes her hard to defend and or escape should be on the opposing side. She has a quiet presence at practice but leads her peers by example” said Farrah Douglas, Mount St. Mary’s University Women’s Rugby Head Coach.