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USRF Announces 2017 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipients

December 31, 2017

San Diego, CA (December 31, 2017) – The USRF has announced the recipients of the 2017 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 92 Higgins Scholarship winners since the program was established in 2008.“Selecting the recipients of the Kevin Higgins College Scholarships gets more challenging with each passing year,” said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. “So many Higgins Scholarship applicants are exceptional in the classroom and on the pitch, and have given back to their schools and community, that it has made the selection committee’s task of choosing the final 10 extremely difficult. As you’ll read in the writeups, the 10 chosen are all outstanding individuals. I do want to thank all those who sent in applications and I know I speak for the rest of the USRF in wishing all our applicants all the best for the future.”The 2017 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship winners are:Emma Conrad played for the Wisconsin High School All-Stars in 2014-2017 and captained them from 2015-17, and she was picked for the Midwest Thunderbirds from 2015-17, captaining them last year. She was also selected to play for the U.S. Girl’s High School All-American 15s team where she helped her team defeat Quebec on two occasions. She was an active volunteer with many organizations including the American Red Cross, the Fond du Lac Rugby League, and Walters Elementary School…Read more about Emma Conrad.Denecia Fernandes, a National Honor Society member, graduated from View Park Preparatory High School in Los Angeles, California with a 4.0 grade point average. She was highly involved in high school, serving as a member of various clubs and sports teams. She gave back to her school and community, including serving as a mentor for Queens We Are, a mentorship program for high school freshmen; managed a student-run, on-campus recycling service; volunteered with the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County; and participated as a junior usher at Baldwin Hills Baptist Church.…Read more about Denecia Fernandes.Jonathon Hackett was a four-year member of the De La Salle High School football and wrestling teams and was selected as the school’s 2017 Athlete of the Year. He was also involved in various clubs and volunteered for projects such as the Clayton Valley Garden Club, Clayton 4th of July Parade, Clayton Library, and served as an algebra tutor. As he continues his education as Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California, he intends to major in biochemistry with intentions of attending medical school. He aspires to work for the John Muir Network, specializing in pediatrics.…Read more about Jonathon Hackett.Labi Koi-Larbi was a four-year member of the Gonzaga College High School varsity rugby team and won back to back High School National Championship titles in 2015 and 2016. He led his team as captain in his senior season. Outside of the pitch, he was highly involved with Asbury Church; volunteering with the food pantry and Sunday school; serving as an acolyte; and participating in the step team. He also volunteered with Campus Kitchen preparing and delivering food to low income families in the local area. Labi was an active member of Gonzaga’s black student union, and was a member of the Gonzaga College High School football, hockey and wrestling programs.…Read more about Labi Koi-Larbi.Loren Lewis has played rugby with ICEF Rugby for five years and in July of 2016, she was chosen to play with the Atlantis 7s select side in Salt Lake City at the North American Invitational 7s tournament. She graduated from View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School in Los Angeles, California with a 3.9 grade point average. Her academic achievements led her to become a member of the National Honor Society. She also played four seasons of varsity volleyball and ran track for her high school. Loren was a member of View Park Prep’s student government and acted as both Junior Vice President and Senior President. She was an active volunteer for Queens We Are, a program at her school where she mentored girls who struggle academically and or behaviorally in their freshman year of high school.…Read more about Loren Lewis.Patrick Madden was selected as a U.S.A. High School Rugby All-American. He was president and founder of the University City High School Rugby Club. Pat graduated from University City High School in June of 2017 with a 3.88 cumulative grade point average and scholastic honors. He was an active participant in numerous extra-curricular activities ranging from serving as the UCHS Associate Student Body Vice President in 2016-2017, completing a child development internship in 2015, coaching U10 youth rugby, serving four years as a rugby referee, and even became a Nike Rugby Counselor in 2016-2017..…Read more about Patrick Madden.Marin Pennell graduated from Summit High School with a 3.9 grade point average. She was a member of her high school’s varsity soccer team and served as captain for two consecutive seasons. When she wasn’t found on a pitch, she was on the ice playing hockey with her local girl’s club. She was highly involved in extra-curricular activities including volunteering at local kindergarten classrooms in her community once a week and coaching rugby clinics at middle schools with a local after-school program. Marin was a member of multiple community service based organizations, like the Octagon Club, Interact Club, and Ecological Ethics Union. She was committed to her academic achievements as an active Spanish Honors Society and National Honors Society member.…Read more about Marin Pennell.Vicente Rivas, a National Honor Society member, graduated from San Louis Obispo High School in June of 2017 with a 3.89 cumulative grade point average. He was a three-sport athlete at SLOHS, participating on the varsity wrestling, football, and track and field teams. Off the pitch, he performed in leading roles in two separate theatre productions with SLOHS. He was also an active member of the SLOHS Associate Student Body during his junior and senior years, where he served as commissioner of graphic design and intramural sports.…Read more about Vicente Rivas.Nick Snyder graduated from Rio Americano High School in Sacramento, California with a 3.5 grade point average. He was recognized as a National Merit Scholar in 2016 and was a four-year recipient of the Booster Scholar Athlete Award at his high school. In addition to rugby, he was a four-year member of the Rio Americano Raiders football team. He received honors for his play, including a two-time Defensive Player of the Year title and four-year captain. For four consecutive summers, Nick participated in a local volunteering project to assist homeless teenagers in the Sacramento area. He helped host a variety of garage sales and raised over $15,000 for the organization, Wind Youth Services.…Read more about Nick Snyder.Charity Tenney, a Girl’s U.S. High School All-American, played for United Rugby Girls Club 15s where she led the team to back to back Utah State Championship titles in 2016 and 2017. Shegraduated from Orem High School with a 3.96 GPA. In addition to rugby, Charity was a member of the Orem High School Women’s basketball and volleyball teams. Off the rugby pitch, she let her impact be known by serving as the president of the Young Women’s Club and frequently volunteered her time to local organizations. She was also an active member of Aloha Dance School, performing at various festivals and events in the community. Her commitment to extra-curricular activities set her apart from her peers.…Read more about Charity Tenney.The USRF would like to congratulate its 2017 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 and join Higgy’s team once again.