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2023-24 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipient: Aiden Pickston

April 11, 2024

Inspired by his father’s passion for rugby and watching his older brother take the field, Aiden Pickston was smitten by the sport at a young age. Aiden’s rugby journey began in the fifth grade and blossomed into an escape that fueled his core values and character. 

“Rugby has also bestowed upon me a profound sense of self-assurance. Occupying the position of a flyhalf, I often find myself among the smaller players on the field. It's a role that demands tackling opponents of imposing stature in every game. Over time, I've internalized this challenge to the point where it has become second nature. The grueling practices, replete with constant physical contact and its attendant bruises, have bolstered my confidence. In a world where many individuals my age feel compelled to constantly assert their masculinity through superficial means, I've found that rugby has afforded me an unshakable sense of self. I know who I am, and I couldn't care less about external judgments,” said Pickston. 

Aiden played for perennial national contender, St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio. During his tenure at St. Ignatius, he captained the lower sides to the Midwest Championships as an underclassman, clinched three state championships, and both runner-up and National Championship titles. He had the opportunity to tour France and Japan with his high school club immersing himself in a level of rugby pace and culture like he’d never seen before. In his senior year, he captained the team to state championship titles in both 7s and 15s, earning the MVP title for both tournaments. He also played for Celtic Elite Rugby Club. 

Aiden graduated from St. Ignatius with a 4.3 GPA., having challenged himself in the classroom by completing eight advanced placement and honors courses and earning high honors every semester. He describes his journey through extracurricular activities as a diverse and enriching once, having participated in several sports, and dedicating his free time to philanthropic organizations. He was an active member of Labre, a group of compassionate students who dedicated their Sundays to preparing sandwiches and food packs for the homeless population in Cleveland. He was also a member of the Pall Bearers Club, stepping forward to serve as a pallbearer for those who had no one else to carry them to their final resting place.

Aiden will continue his academic and rugby career at the collegiate level at The Ohio State University. Pickston’s longstanding passion for architecture remains a significant guiding force in his collegiate academic endeavors. Uncertain of the direction of his future career, he is eager to explore the many options Ohio State has to offer. Though one thing is for certain, he dreams of representing the USA Eagles one day. He is determined to establish himself as a force within the Buckeyes squad and the Big Ten Conference in the interim. 

“My rugby goals revolve around continuous growth and improvement. As a player in a highly skilled position, I am determined to enhance both my technical abilities, such as passing and kicking, and my strategic skills, which involve reading the field, identifying openings, and making sound tactical decisions,” said Pickston.