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Kentucky Names Scholarship Winners

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Kentucky Names Scholarship Winners

The University of Kentucky rugby team has announced the two players who receive scholarships sponsored by their rugby alumni.

The John Laboon award goes to Erik Nason, a 6-2, 225 flanker who has played for UK for three years after spending four years in the US Marine Corps. A hard worker and a leader, Nason enters his senior year and will receive $1,250 each semester as he pursues his degree in History.

The Dick Jones award goes to CJ Leadingham. The 5-1, 195 scrumhalf is in his third year at UK. Last year he established himself as one of the leaders on the team and is a vocal spark for the squad at the base of the scrum.

The scholarship also provides the psychology major with $1,250 for each semester.

Late news regarding these scholarships - the UK rugby alumni will provide a third scholarship to players for the 2015-2016 season, committing $7,500 to the education of members of the men’s rugby team each year.

Kentucky plays in the Southeastern Collegiate Rugby Conference, and is gearing up for the fall season - a switch for the conference as they have previously played league games in the spring.

Head Coach Tony Vince said things look good for this year, as not only Nason and Leadingham, but as many as 23 more players are returning from last season’s squad. Ten freshmen have joined, with at least seven boasting HS rugby experience.

“We have had some of the best preseason practices I’ve seen,” said Vince. “We are building on the improvements we made last season, which didn’t really reflect in the won-loss record, but will.”

UK finished 2-4 in SCRC play last spring, but several of those losses were close, including a 15-10 squeaker against Tennessee. They also knocked off Florida 38-12 in something of an upset.