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Montana 7s Tournament Targets Suicide Prevention

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Montana 7s Tournament Targets Suicide Prevention

The Montana State HS season is underway with Black & Blue, Missoula Mud Dogs, Montana Iron Horse, and Helena all having registered wins, but the big victory is of a more important kind.

Missoula-based high school rugby Julia and Jake Riekena, students at Big Sky High School, organized the 3rd Annual Jack Riekena Memorial and Suicide Awareness Tournament, which was held last weekend. Julia is a member of the Missoula Valley Vixens and Jake is a member of the Missoula Mud Dogs. The Missoula Valley Vixen and Missoula Mud Dogs have players from all four of the High Schools in Missoula. Jack Riekena, their brother played for the Missoula Mud Dogs and was the inspiration for the other three Riekena kids to take up rugby.  Jason Riekena who hosted the inaugural tournament went on to play rugby at Life University after graduating from Big Sky.  In December 2012 Jack Riekena committed suicide. This tragedy was unexpected, and while many can understand the signs of suicide, often the don't become obvious until tragedy has struck.

The process of learning about these inspired the Riekena family to bring a greater awareness to the community to help others recognize them so they can help friends and family in need.

Unfortunately in November 2015 teen suicide once again struck the Missoula County High School community. Fortunately we do have a support program and a suicide prevention hot line offered to all of Missoula County through the Missoula City-County Health Department. However, to make a bigger difference in ending Suicide in the Missoula Community we need your cooperation to help end this pervasive social problem.

So the Missoula Youth Rugby Community hosted a 7s tournament at Washington Grizzly Stadium on April 9. The purpose of the tournament was to continue to raise the public’s awareness and financial resources to help support suicide prevention in Montana. The message was, to teens who might be contemplating suicide, there are outlets for support for them and their families. Over the past two years Missoula Youth Rugby has been able to help support the Missoula City-County Health Department with funds for setting up a texting hot line. Your financial support would be greatly appreciated to continue our efforts to support suicide awareness and prevention.

Those attending were asked to make a donation to help support the Missoula City-County Health Department in providing support and resources to suicide prevention. 

As for the games, the Spokane Goth won the boys division, Bitterroot Koa-Wahines won for the girls division, and Helena and Kalispell Junior High tied in the juniors division.


See also: Helena Honors Teammate with State Win