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2022-23 Richard A. Donelli Memorial Scholarship Recipient: Aiden Pavlek

April 13, 2023

Aiden Pavlek was introduced to rugby in 2016 as a youth player for Berks County Rugby Club. He instantly fell in love with the defensive side of the game and the opportunity to be a force on the field, no matter his size.  

“I started rugby and was given the opportunity to prove my size didn't matter. I flourished in this sport. To this day the other team always seeks me out thinking they can get past me because of my size. I love the challenge to prove them wrong,” said Pavlek. 

With Berks County Rugby, Pavlek has graced the field at nearly every position. He served as the team captain during the 2019, 2021, and 2022 seasons and helped the program reach four state championships, numerous tournament titles, and finish with a 30-4 record in his final season. Pavlek and Berks County competed in the Tropical 7s tournament in 2022 and placed second in the elite division. Berks County traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to compete in the elite division of the NAI 7s and placed third. He also competed for the Pennsylvania All-State team in the summer of 2018. In his final season with Berks County, he was recognized as Player of the Year. 

“You hear the phrase ‘I wish I had 100 more people just like him/her’ thrown around quite a bit, especially in team settings. In this case, when talking about Aiden, it is 100% accurate. I wish we had 100 more just like him. This isn’t because Aiden is an exceptional athlete and contributes immensely to our team on the field. He is and he does, every game. This statement is accurate because of how Aiden handles himself as a teammate, a player, a leader, a friend, and as a person. The example he sets for others on and off the field,” said Berks Country Rugby President and Head Coach, Greg Stelluti. 

Pavlek graduated from Cocalico High School in Stevens, Pennsylvania in the spring of 2022 with a 3.97 GPA. In addition to being an accomplished athlete, he excelled in the classroom taking five Advanced Placement courses and three Dual Enrollment classes. He competed for Cocalico’s swim team from 2020 to 2022 and was an active participant in volunteer activities. He completed several community service hours with various churches and school events serving at food drives, park clean up events, and charity events. He became a certified lifeguard in 2019 and spent his summers working as a lifeguard for his local summer pool. 

He will continue his rugby and academic career at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. He will study business, artificial intelligence, and innovations with career aspirations of managing artificial intelligence for a big tech company in the future. While playing for Nazareth, Aiden is set on working hard and developing his rugby IQ at the next level, not only for himself but for the benefit of his teammates. He would like to remain involved in the rugby community as a player and potentially a youth coach after college. 

“Aiden is an intelligent and responsible young man that always takes care of his duties as a student first. Studying Business, Artificial Intelligence, and Innovations, Aiden strives to become an exceptional student-athlete. He currently has all As and Bs in his classes and is on track to finish at the top of the class, plus earn National Collegiate Rugby Scholastic All-American Honors. Aiden has also been able to apply such devotion to every aspect of the game. He is able and ready to tackle difficult decisions and persevere through challenges. He can analyze a situation, devise a plan to overcome it, and achieve solutions for academic and athletic tasks, “said Nazareth College Men’s Rugby Head Coach, Taye Daniel-Ayibiowu.