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USRF Announces 2014 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipients

January 21, 2015

San Diego, CA (January 21, 2015) – The USRF has announced the winners of the 20134Kevin Higgins College Scholarships. The $1,000 scholarships, named in honor of one of the all-time great U.S. players, Kevin Higgins, (pictured), are awarded to graduating high school seniors who have gone on to continue their education and rugby at the collegiate level. This year’s recipients brings the total to 62 Higgins Scholarship winners since the program was established in 2008.”Selecting the recipients for the Kevin Higgins College Scholarship has always been a difficult task for the Scholarship Committee,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “But this year’s group of applicants was unbelievable. Some very hard decisions had to be made. I do want to thank all those who sent in applications and I know I speak for the rest of the USRF in wishing them all the best for the future.”The 2014 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship winners are:Liam Wynne has been playing rugby since he was eight years old. He was a part of five consecutive Colorado State Championship rugby teams. He graduated high school with a 3.85 GPA, despite being dyslexic. He was one of 30 “Bold Leaders” from Colorado that traveled to South Africa. In 2016, Liam is scheduled to study abroad at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand and that summer he plans on attending the Crusaders Rugby Academy in Christchurch… Read more about Liam Wynne.Domonique Bellinger calls rugby her “Emotional Get Away.” She was a member of ICEF rugby teams from Los Angeles that made it to four straight Southern California semi-finals, captaining the team in her junior and senior years. She has also toured with ICEF to New Zealand, China and Europe. She is a two-time selection for the Southern California Griffins and participated in a U.S.A. Rugby training camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA …Read more about Domonique Bellinger.Tanner Pope has only been playing rugby for just a little over a year but was voted his Katy Barbarians team’s Forward of the Year and was selected for the Texas High Performance Team. He was class president in his junior and senior years. He was an All-District Honorable Mention offensive linemen. He’s been a Special Olympics volunteer. And this past year received the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America….Read more about Tanner Pope.Olivia Fiatoa is following in her father’s footsteps as he was an accomplished player in his native Samoa. She played for a college side in a college 7s tournament while she was in the 8th grade. She’s been involved with the Girl Scouts since kindergarten and since she was a sophomore in high school, has been the president of the Levittown, PA chapter of the Girl Scouts. The former Pennsylvania High School All-Star graduated with a 3.6 GPA and was a founding member of the No Place for Hate Club….Read more about Olivia Fiatoa. Brandon Puccini found rugby after breaking his leg in a freshman football game. He finished his high school career 2nd on the school’s all-time try scoring list. He was recommended for the Higgins Scholarship by a coach of an opposing team. He graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory with a 4.3 GPA. He volunteered his services and gave back to his community in several ways, including coaching Special Olympians in softball and basketball for three seasons…..Read more about Brandon Puccini.Amy Plambeck started playing rugby while in the 8th grade. She was always one of the leaders of her team and it was Amy that kept her team together in her sophomore year when there was no coach. She is always volunteering her time and services, including annual treks out of state on mission trips with her church youth group to build homes for families in need…..Read more about Amy Plambeck.Brendan Murphy began playing rugby for the Kona Bulls in Kailua Kona, Hawaii in 2010. In three short years he was a member of the US High School All-Americans for their tour to England where he played against Belgium, North England and Wales. Brendan’s parents have been full time volunteers his whole life and he too has volunteered for many causes, including building rain catchment tanks and latrines for the poor in Haiti and Samoa….Read more about Brendan Murphy.Elona Williams was a basketball star before she finally allowed herself to be talked into going out for the rugby team and as she says, she “wasted two years of my life not discovering my true passion.” She wants to be a key member of the US Eagles within the next 3-5 years. She had one A- throughout her four years of high school, the rest of her marks were all As. She was inducted into the National Honors Society in 2014….Read more about Elona Williams.Reed Heynen started playing rugby in the 6th grade. For the past two years he was a member of the US High School All-American team and has a goal of one day earning a full cap for the United States National Team. He was named his high school’s High Scholar Athlete in 2013. He was an All-League offensive linemen in 2013. He was a 2014 CIF Scholar Athlete nominee. He graduated with a 3.9 GPA and was a member of his school’s High Honors Society in 2012-2014…..Read more about Reed Heynen.Courtney Bridges was named the Most Valuable Player on her team in her very first year of playing rugby. She was selected for the Maryland U19 All-Stars in 2013 and 2014, when she was the captain of the side. Her rugby goal is to be “the youngest player to represent the USA in the Women’s Rugby World Cup and the Olympics.” Courtney made her school’s Honor Roll all four years she attended and graduated with a 3.6 GPA….Read more about Courtney Bridges.The USRF would like to congratulate its 2014 recipients of the Kevin Higgins College Scholarships and thank all those who applied.Donate to the Higgins Fund – Become a member of the Higgy HundredAs a means to keeping Kevin Higgins’ legacy alive, the Foundation has established “The Higgy Hundred” to both further honor Kevin and to nurture our country’s rugby future. Our goal is to endow the Fund so that at least 10 scholarships are given out annually. You can join “The Higgy Hundred” by contributing just $100 to the Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Fund. A gift of at least $250 puts you in “Higgy’s Captain’s Club”.By becoming a member of either The Higgy Hundred or Higgy’s Captain’s Club, you will receive a Higgy Hundred t-shirt. Higgy’s Captain’s Club members will also receive a Higgy Hundred visor. Please don’t delay. Act now, be a winner, and join Higgy’s team once again.