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Friendship at Heart of Gonzaga Quartet

irish rugby tours

Friendship at Heart of Gonzaga Quartet

Joey Freeman looking to pass.

With the Boys HS Rugby National Championships coming this week, we take a look at four longtime players with two-time national single-school champions Gonzaga.

This is the journey of a special group of Gonzaga men. Seniors:  Joey Freeman, Patrick Sheehy, Bailey Ogilvie, and Patrick Hesse have been playing tackle rugby together since the seventh grade (Hesse joined in his sophomore year). Although the men have an extensive rugby touch background, they have over 21 years of combined tackle experience. They are also all second-generation players whose fathers all played at a high level. Not only are they starting at the top level Gonzaga team, but also the infamous Maryland Exiles Sevens team.

West Point Camp

They are all multisport athletes who are challenged with a rigorous  academic schedule. Hesse and Freeman both played on the DC championship football team. Ogilvie is a top wrestler, and  Sheehy is a starter for Gonzaga's successful soccer team. Their athletic careers have enjoyed many successes but not without a few setbacks. Hesse hurt his shoulder this year in football and has rehabbed it back to full strength. Freeman tore his ACL sophomore year. After intense rehab, he has come back stronger than ever. Sheehy has had ankle and knee problems, but has never missed a game. Ogilvie cracked his hip last summer at the CRCs 7s tournament while scoring his second try of the game. That could have been the end of his career, but Ogilvie had something to say about that.

Hesse, left, and Sheehy, right, are a big part of Gonzaga's success.
Gonzaga 2016 Gonzaga 2016

The players' abilities in 7s are impressive, also. As a group they possess all the necessary skills to control the game, from lineouts to restarts, tackling, passing, and scoring. They work as a team, which was confirmed when they helped the Exiles to a series of impressive results at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Although the four have excelled at other sports, the love of rugby kept them focused, and they all plan to play in college. Hesse will be playing for Cal, Freeman for Penn State, Ogilvie will play for Oklahoma, and Sheehy will play for Dartmouth. The bond of their friendship will bring them back together again to play 7s during the summers. The future is bright for these young men as well as many others who have committed their talents and passions for rugby. Everyday American rugby is improving thanks to the exciting venues offered to high school players and the special coaches who sacrifice their time and energy to grow this great game.

And the fact that players are starting younger and younger, and can grow in the game as they grow as young people can only be good.

Ogilvie loves to run through contact. At right, Freeman playing for the Maryland Exiles 7s team in Las Vegas, David Barpal photo.
Gonzaga 2016 Maryland Exiles LVI Barpal