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Lewis Gray Wins 2023 Rudy Scholz Award

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Lewis Gray Wins 2023 Rudy Scholz Award

Lewis Gray in action in the 2023 D1A final won by Navy. David Snook photo.

US Naval Academy center Lewis Gray has been named the 2023 Rudy Scholz Award winner as the best men’s collegiate rugby player of the 2022-2023 season.

Gray has been the scoring leader and emotional leader of the team in its 18-0 run to a national D1A championship, capped by Saturday’s 28-22 defeat of Cal.

In that game Gray’s contribution was certainly more on the emotional and defensive side. While he was a key ground-gainer, it was Gray’s emotional speech during a break for hydration in the first half that turned Navy’s fortunes around. 

And, as time was almost up and Cal threatened to score a potential game-winner, it was Gray’s tackle that jarred the ball loose to allow the Midshipmen to run out the clock.

The quantitative economics major played for his dad, Dwight, for the Jupiter Sharks in high school and the father-son combo led the Sharks to a Florida state championship.

At Navy Gray developed into a multi-faceted player who can kick from the hand and the tee, can defend with power, and is a dangerous attacking threat. He plays flyhalf at times and inside center, often sliding into a flyhalf role even when wearing the #12 jersey.

But his importance to Navy Rugby runs deeper than his outstanding performance on the field. Gray leads by example and also is the player his teammates turn to to get them through tough times. This was certainly on display May 6 when, despite not scoring a point, Lewis Gray sparked his team’s turnaround, and made key plays to preserve the victory in the D1A Final.

Gray received the Rudy Scholz Award after winning the ballot from the Rudy Scholz Award selection committee. The award itself is presented by the Washington Athletic Club and the trophy for the award will officially be presented at a gala event June 10 at the WAC in Seattle, Wash. Gray is the second Navy Midshipman to win the award, with Connor McNerney being selected in 2018.

Congratulations to Lewis Gray and also to the four other fine players who were finalists: Max Schumacher, Joe Marchant, Orrin Bizer, and Wyatt Parry.