2022-23 Meg Votta Memorial Scholarship Program Recipient: Manuel Guzman
Having moved to the United States in 2008, rugby has paved the way for Manuel Guzman to feel right at home.
Manuel was introduced to rugby during his freshman year of high school. Hesitant to try a new sport at first, he quickly fell in love with the game and became a starting prop on the varsity side. In his first season of rugby, he helped The Woodlands win the Texas High School Rugby Championship and was recognized as the Rookie of the Year. While his sophomore season was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Manuel became a student of the game watching countless hours of rugby film to improve his rugby IQ. By his junior season, Manuel began to feel more comfortable on the pitch and started to score his first tries. He helped The Woodlands repeat as Texas High School Rugby Champions and place fourth overall in the National Championship tournament. In his senior season, Manuel and The Woodlands would win their third Texas High School Rugby Championship and once again make an appearance at the National Championship tournament, placing seventh overall. He finished the season recognized as the club’s Most Valuable Forward.
“I have known Manuel for over six years and during that time he has impressed his peers, coaches, teachers, and parents with his dedication, passion, faith, and intellect. He is goal oriented and driven to succeed but not at the cost of other’s success. He has a strong moral compass, and his faith is unquestioned. I have likewise been impressed with how Manuel has been a leader on the rugby pitch as one of his coaches for the last four years. He is not a loud boisterous leader, but one that leads by example. I have tremendous respect for Manuel as a person, athlete and student,” said Lance Raper, Woodlands Rugby Executive Board member.
Manuel graduated from The Woodlands High School in Houston, Texas in the spring of 2022. He was a member of the high school football team and competed in field events for the track and field team. He was an active member and volunteer for his church and helped serve in a leadership position for the youth group program. He also spent his time running cameras during Sunday services.