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US Rugby Foundation Grants College Scholarships to 17 Athletes for 2022-23

April 13, 2023

The US Rugby Foundation awarded a total of $23,000 in college scholarships to 17 deserving student-athletes. Out of the 24 students that applied for the scholarships, 17 were chosen based on their exceptional academic records, as well as their commitment to the sport of rugby.

Each of the scholarship recipients will receive a minimum of $1,000, which can be used to cover the costs of tuition, fees, books, or other school-related expenses. The recipients come from states including, Pennsylvania, Texas, California, and many more!

“As is the case every year, it is a very difficult assignment for the various college scholarship committees to select those they’d like to see receive scholarships as there are so many outstanding candidates,” said US Rugby Foundation President, Brian Vizard. “I want to thank all those who applied and wish them the best of luck both on and off the pitch. I would also like to encourage more graduating high school female rugby players to apply for these scholarships.”

The US Rugby Foundation's college scholarship program is a testament to the organization's commitment to supporting rugby players at every level of their development. Congratulations to all of the scholarship recipients, and best of luck in your future endeavors both on and off the rugby field!

Terry O'Reilly Memorial Scholarship

Cormac Saint

As a young kid moving from England to the United States, Cormac Saint had three rugby goals in mind for his future, one of which was to play for Cal Rugby. He played for Mother Lode Rugby Club from 2010 to 2022 and served as team captain on numerous occasions. In addition, he played for several representative sides including the Celtic Barbarians, NorCal All Stars, Bay Area Sharks Rugby Academy, Giltinis Rugby Academy, and the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy. While competing for the Cal Bears, Cormac intends to pursue a business degree with aspirations of attaining a career in finance or accounting.

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Kaler Family Rugby Scholarships

Sosaia Pongi

Sosaia Pongi played for Menlo Atherton High School Rugby Club and the East Palo Alto Razorbacks/Razorhawks Rugby Club. During his high school tenure, he served as team captain on multiple occasions and led his teams to Junior Varsity High School Division I NorCal Rugby and NorCal 7s Tournament Championship titles. He will continue his rugby career at Saint Mary’s College while working toward a degree in business administration. His rugby goals include elevating his rugby IQ and skills to the collegiate level. He envisions his rugby future at the MLR or international level. 

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Katana Provost

Katana Provost was searching for a new outlet. As soon as she was introduced to rugby it changed the trajectory of her life. Her rugby career began during her senior year of high school in 2021. She took to the game quickly and earned her way into a starting spot at flanker. She was also invited to play for the Badger Selects U19 side, representing the best players in the Wisconsin region. She will pursue a degree in social work while competing for Winona State University Women’s Rugby. Upon graduating, she intends to become a case manager for foster children.

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The Meg Votta Memorial Scholarship

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.

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Kaylen Thomas

In the fall of 2020, Kaylen joined the Ravenwood Raptor Rugby Club, winning the Tennessee State Championship title in her first season. 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. She will continue her rugby and academic career at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

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William V. Campbell Memorial Scholarship

Thomas Byrnes

Thomas began his rugby career in grammar school traveling to Queens, New York to play for the Rockaway Rugby Football Club. He also played for Xavier High School, helping his team earn a second-place finish in the state and a fifth-place finish in the region. He will continue his academic and athletic career at Iona University while pursuing a criminal justice degree. Upon graduation, he intends to enter the USMC and serve four years. He wants to pursue a career in homeland security or the FBI. 

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Richard A. Donelli Memorial Scholarship

Aiden Pavlek

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. 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. He will continue his rugby and academic career at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York. He will study business, artificial intelligence, and innovations.

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The Kevin Higgins College Scholarship

Gibbs Kell

Kell began to play rugby for the Little Rock Stormers in the summer leading up to his freshman year in high school. Momentum for the high school team was building and he helped recruit enough players for the Stormers to compete in 15s matches the following season. During his junior and senior seasons, he served as team captain for the Stormers and was awarded Man of the Match on several occasions. He was named Most Valuable Player for the 2021 season. Kell will continue his academic and rugby career at the University of Arkansas. He will major in architecture and intends to pursue a master’s degree. 

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Brad Kissinger

Brad’s play has taken him all over the world to Dubai, Ireland, Spain, and throughout North America. He was captain of the Celina Rugby Club and has also played for the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, Team 5785, Gorilla Rugby, and the Rocky Mountain Rebels. Kissinger graduated from Celina High School in Celina, Texas in the spring of 2022 with a 3.86 GPA. He will continue his academic and athletic career at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. He will pursue a degree in pre-physical therapy with inspiration to give back to the game of rugby as a physical therapist one day.

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Mason Walker

After beginning his rugby career with Herriman Rugby in 2018, Mason took the initiative to found the Mountain Ridge Rugby Club. Mason graduated from Mountain Ridge High School in Herriman, Utah in the spring of 2022 with a 3.7 GPA. Aside from the rugby pitch, Mason competed in football and is a black belt in Tae Kwando. He was invited to play for the Utah Warriors Rugby Academy and appeared in several matches at the wing. Mason will continue his academic and rugby career at the collegiate level at the University of Utah.

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Judd Berman

Judd began his rugby career at age nine for the San Diego Mustangs Rugby Club. Over the course of his career with the Mustangs, he helped captain the 2021 U18 team, won a Tier-II National Championship, was awarded Player of the Season Award, led the Mustangs to an undefeated U16 season and a SoCal Championship in 2019, competed in the U14 tour to Ireland in 2018, and won a U12 SoCal Championship in 2015. He will continue his rugby career across the pond at Trinity College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland. While competing for Trinity, he will study physiotherapy.

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James Sullivan

Sullivan played for Amoskeag Rugby Club in Manchester, New Hampshire. He also competed for the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, participating in three winter camps, player development clinics, a tour to Ontario, Canada in 2019, and the EIRA Championships in July of 2021. In 2020, he was also selected to play for the New England Free Jacks Academy. Sullivan will study criminal justice at Mount St. Mary’s University while playing for the rugby team there.

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Seth Catchpole

Catchpole’s rugby career began at age seven, playing for the Phoenix Firebirds Youth Rugby Club. He played for the Firebirds for 11 years and served as team captain on both the club and travel team levels and earned recognition to the Arizona Bobcats and Rhinos Academy select sides. He will continue to play rugby for the University of Arizona while studying to earn a biology degree with career aspirations of attending medical school and becoming an emergency room doctor. 

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Caden Crist

Caden played for the San Diego Mustangs, Torrey Pines High School Falcon Rugby, and La Jolla High School Rugby teams. His accolades include a Tier-II National Championship, countless matches with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy, and most recently captaining the USA U18 All-Americans in Amsterdam. He will pursue a degree in economics and environmental policy from the University of California, Berkeley while playing for the Bears. He aspires to become a leader in navigating urban planning in relation to financing and environmental issues in the present day.

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Erik Rosenmeier

Rosenmeier joined the Belmont High School rugby team in his freshman year. By the end of his high school career, he had earned playing time with the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, the Northeast Academy U19, and New England Freejack Academy U19 teams. In his senior season, he helped captain Belmont to a state championship title. Erik graduated from Belmont High School in Belmont, Massachusetts in the spring of 2022 with a 3.77 GPA. He will continue his education and rugby career at the University of Vermont. He is passionate about continuing to pursue his love of the outdoors, music, and helping others through a career in social work or education.

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Zachary Herrington

Zachary played for the Indiana County Warrior High School Rugby Club for four seasons. During his career with the Warriors, he helped captain and lead the team to a Pennsylvania State Championship title. His standout play in his senior season landed him a spot on the Pennsylvania All-State team. Zach graduated from Indiana Area High School in Indiana, Pennsylvania. He will continue his academic and athletic career at Slippery Rock University.

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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. At the conclusion of his high school career, he joined Kansas City Northland Rugby Football Club at the men’s league level. He will continue his student-athlete experience at Pittsburg State University. While competing for the Gorillaheads, he will study automotive technology. 

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The US Rugby Foundation thanks all those who applied for this year's college scholarships and congratulates this year's college scholarship recipients.

The application process for the 2023-24 college scholarships will begin May 1st. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements.