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Laughs and Smiles As Sagapolu, Gray Accept their Sorensen and Scholz Trophies

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Laughs and Smiles As Sagapolu, Gray Accept their Sorensen and Scholz Trophies

The WAC Award luminaries. Left to right: MA Sorensen, Lewis Gray, WAC COO Wayne Milner, Bonnie PUleo (granddaughter of Rudy Scholz), Mae Sagapolu, Doug Scholz (grandson of Rudy Scholz), keynote speaker Cassie Law. Emilio Huertas photo for the WAC.

Mae Sagapolu and Lewis Gray received their Washington Athletic Club trophies Saturday at a Gala event in Seattle as they were recognized as the two best collegiate rugby players in the country.

Those attending the dinner were treated to a superb speech from former 1991 World Cup winner Cassie Law about the lessons rugby taught her in her life and career. Those attending also heard a stirring recalling from Bonnie Puleo, one of Rudy Scholz's 13 grandchildren, of the struggles and challenges the USA faced in winning the 1924 Olympics rugby gold medal. MA Sorensen once again had everyone laughing with her inumpeachable insitance that props rule the world.

As for the award winners ... 

Sagapolu, tighthead prop for Central Washington University, already capped by the USA and, most recently, captain of the USA U23s, captained CWU this season and was the central figure in a strong forward effort, said her coach Matt Ramirez. CWU recorded an incredible 26 stolen scrums this season, much of that down to Sagapolu. She received her MA Sorensen Award directly from Maryann Sorensen herself. Sorensen, who propped for the USA when they won the Rugby World Cup in 1991, was delighted to honor a fellow front-rower, and Sagapolu received huge cheers as she is also the first Washington state resident to win the award. It was also her graduation day, and Sagapolu received her diploma before speeding off from Ellensburg to Seattle to attend the WAC event.

Sagapolu is going to be moving to England to play with the new Leicester club in the Women's Premier League. 

Gray, center and flyhalf for Navy, helped lead Navy to an 18-0 season and was crucial in the final win over Cal. The team's top scorer both in tries and points, Gray was also the team's emotional leader, main strike runner, and key defender. He received the Rudy Scholz Award from Rudy Scholz's grandson Doug Scholz and said he was inspired by Scholz's legacy as an Olympic champion and decorated war hero. Gray said he hopes to pursue rugby now that he has graduated from the Naval Academy. He has been invited to the USA 7s camp, however, he is also hoping to fly jets with the US Marine Corps and said either way he will be following on his father Dwight's example (Marine and rugby player) and will be pursuing a dream either way.

All Rudy Scholz Award Winners All MA Sorensen Award Winners
2016: Dyland Audsley, Saint Mary's
2017: Bryce Campbell, Indiana
2018: Connor McNerney, Navy
2019: Harley Wheeler, Life University
2020: Peyton Telea-Ilalio, Saint Mary's
2021: Emmanuel Albert, Lindenwood
2022: Larry Williams, West Point
2023: Lewis Gray, Navy
2016: Hope Rogers, Penn State
2017: Ilona Maher, Quinnipiac
2018: McKenzie Hawkins, Lindenwood
2019: Emily Henrich, Dartmouth
2020: Alexndra Sedrick, Life University
2021: Richelle Stephens, Lindenwood
2022: Idia Ihensekhien, Dartmouth
2023: Mae Sagapolu, Central Washington