Sorensen, Scholz Awards Given in Gala Event
Sorensen, Scholz Awards Given in Gala Event
The Washington Athletic Club hosted a gala rugby event Saturday, June 11 at the WAC’s Seattle headquarters, with over 100 people treated to dinner, speeches, and media presentations for the MA Sorensen and Rudy Scholz collegiate rugby awards.
As had been announced earlier, this is the first year of a new collegiate player of the year, endorsed by USA Rugby and sponsored by the WAC, working in conjunction with Goff Rugby Report. The women’s award was named after MA Sorensen, the former Women’s World Cup-winning Eagle prop and successful doctor. The men’s award was named after Rudy Scholz, the two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner for the USA in rugby, who played at Santa Clara and was a successful lawyer and served in two world wars.
“You could not have picked two more perfect people to name these awards after,” said Master of Ceremonies and longtime Seattle sports radio personality Mike Gastineau.
Sorensen was on hand to present the award that bears her name to Penn State and USA star Hope Rogers. Sorensen, who was emotional in praising Rogers and accepting the fact that the award is named after her, was also especially pleased to give the first-ever Sorensen Award to a tighthead prop, Sorensen’s old position.
Rogers was also very moved in receiving the award, and credited his “adopted rugby family,” the Cantornas, for helping her learn and grow at Penn State.
Rudy Scholz passed away in 1981, but three of his sons, along with ten other family members, were in attendance. Rudy’s son David presented the Scholz Award to Dylan Audsley’s mother, Michelle Audsley Myers. Dylan Audsley was unable to attend because he is in New Zealand, but he did speak with Gastineau via Face Time.
“I am just here to continue working and trying to get better,” he said. Getting the first-ever Scholz Award was, he said, a phenomenal honor, but he hoped that as the game grows players who are “better than me” will receive future awards.
The festivities included a keynote address by longtime Eagle and former Cal standout Lou Stanfill, who stressed the importance not only of individual achievement, but achievement in the context of a total team effort. Rugby, said Stanfill, can be the avenue for success but also for addressing problems in our world. In addition, Stanfill said that Audsley and Rogers were those great players who constantly re-examined themselves - looked in the mirror and searched for correction within themselves first. That, he said, was one of the hallmarks of greatness.
Goff Rugby Report Editor Alex Goff, who oversaw the selection panels for the awards and worked closely with WAC Senior VP Wayne Milner on the award and the vent, also spoke, saying that college rugby takes many forms - varsity, quasi varsity, elevated club, and club - and in fact all of those types of teams were represented in this year’s finalists.
But, said Goff, they all had one thing in common - student-athletes who represent their school and love the game. Goff called Scholz and Sorensen examples for everyone in the game, as they were successful on the field, but also off the field as mentors, trailblazers, and professionals.
The event was attended by well over 100 people, including current and former USA national team players MA Sorensen, Tara Flanagan, Tam Breckinridge, Liz Kirk, Naima Reddick, Tricia Turton, Scott LaValla, Miles Craigwell, Mike Palefau, Tony Ridnell, and Martin Iosefo.
“There’s something special about this being the first-ever award,” said Gastineau in his remarks. “That’s only going to happen once.”
The Washington Athletic Club put an enormous amount of effort and resources behind the awards and the event. Watch for details on how the 2016-17 winners will be chosen.
2016 and inaugural Rudy Scholz Award Winner (Best Men’s College Player)
Dylan Audsley, Saint Mary’s College of California
2016 and inaugural MA Sorensen Award Winner (Best Women’s College Player)
Hope Rogers, Penn State University
Washington Athletic Club President and CEO Chuck Nelson, 2016 Sorensen Award-Winner Hope Rogers, and WAC Senior VP Wayne Milner. Photo courtesy Washington Athletic Club.
2016 Scholz Award-Winner Dylan Audsley is on Face Time with MC Mike Gastineau.
MA Sorensen and Hope Rogers 2016
MA Sorensen poses with her - as she joked - "long-lost tighthead prop daughter" Hope Rogers. Photo courtesy Washington Athletic Club.
Lou Stanfill was the keynote speaker. Photo courtesy Washington Athletic Club.