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USRF Announces 2015 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipients

January 27, 2016

San Diego, CA (January 27, 2016) – The USRF has announced the winners of the 2015 Kevin 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 72 Higgins Scholarship winners since the program was established in 2008.”Selecting the 10 recipients for the annual Kevin Higgins College Scholarships remains a very difficult task for the Scholarship Committee,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “It seems like the qualifications of the nominees get more impressive with each passing year. This year’s group of applicants were outstanding. Some very difficult decisions had to be made as there is very little separating those that are selected from those who fall just short. 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 2015 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship winners are:Aaron Earlywine helped lead his high school team to two consecutive New Jersey State Championship titles through his tenacious play. For him, rugby symbolized something much larger than just him or his team. An aspiring author, Aaron has already made an impact on the Villanova University rugby team….Read more about Aaron Earlywine.Brandon Holmes experienced a complete metamorphosis after being introduced to the game. His high rugby IQ and physical talents led to his selection to the Rugby South All –Star program. His career goals are to become a successful International Management Consultant……Read more about Brandon Holmes.Grace Jacobsen started her rugby career playing with boys older than her. Wanting to impart her rugby wisdom on girls in her area, she created the Capital High School Girls Rugby program. She led her team to four state championships. Her commitment to and gratitude for the game set her apart from most…..Read more about Grace Jacobsen.Griffin Moeser transformed from a football standout to a rugby one man wrecking crew. Standing at 6’5”, 225 lbs., he has helped move the Boise State University program forward. Choosing rugby is one of Griffin’s best decisions….Read more about Griffin Moeser.Hannah Sample has mastered several positions during her short rugby career thus far. The impact she has made at West Chester University, both on the field and off, has been tremendous to preserving longevity in that rugby program. She is very driven to success…..Read more about Hannah Sample.Ian Crilly is no stranger to the blows of discrimination while living in a foreign land. He prevailed, due in part to rugby, with a great attitude while leading by example. As a result of a serious injury, he was influenced to major in biomedical engineering at University of Arizona. He has his eye set on the pinnacle of rugby down the road…..Read more about Ian Crilly.Nick Yostel’s initial view of rugby players was that they were “strange.” But over time, he did succumb to rugby fever, and once he did, he never looked back. After graduating high school with a 3.7 GPA, he entered the Masters of Occupational Therapy Program at Xavier University….Read more about Nick Yostel.Owen Skonecki, an engineering major at Clemson, studied abroad and played rugby in Uruguay during his junior year in high school. He is an accomplished 15s and 7s player, having received recognition as Most Valuable Back and Pennsylvania All-State honors. Owen’s philanthropic and selfless nature has prompted a positive change in the Clemson culture…..Read more about Owen Skonecki.Sam Ciancutti lost 100 pounds after he discovered rugby. He gained a new sense of identity and confidence very quickly and captained his team for three consecutive years. Sam is committed to helping others, as he aspires to develop a method of physical conditioning that would drive quality and longevity for others….Read more about Sam Ciancutti.Steven Branham has made a tremendous impact on the rugby scene both domestically and internationally, leading the High School All Americans squad as captain in 2014 and being selected to the All-Tournament Team at the conclusion of the Four Nations Tournament. He inspires his teammates with his demonstration of great humility, courage, and respect. As he says, “there is no greater therapy than running around until my lungs burn and scream for air.”….Read more about Steven Branham.The USRF would like to congratulate its 2015 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.