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Mount Saint Mary's High Performance Academy Takes 2nd in CRC

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Mount Saint Mary's High Performance Academy Takes 2nd in CRC

The Mount Saint Mary’s University Men’s Rugby High Performance Academy finished second in the High School 7s Rugby Championship at the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships May 31 through June 2 outside of Philadelphia. 

Jay Myles, Directory of Rugby at Mount St. Mary’s stated, “It was just an incredible opportunity for these young players to showcase their talent at such a professionally run event!”

The Mount Rugby HPA team traveled to Philadelphia Thursday evening for a brief training session before their weekend tournament. The team drew players from across the Mid-Atlantic region, representing five different states.  Despite their lack of practice time together, the Mount Rugby HPA team came out clicking on the first day of tournament play. The side posted a 3-0 record, beating Schuylkill, West Chester and Simon Gratz with a point differential of 105 at the Greater Chester Valley Soccer Association Fields in Malvern. Day 2 play moved to the Academy Fields at Talen Energy Stadium where the Mount Rugby HPA beat Gorilla Rugby 24-5 in the quarterfinals and Atlantis Rugby 15-0 in the semifinals to advance to Sunday’s final.  The final, held in Talen Energy Stadium, saw the Mount Rugby HPA take on defending champions Bishop Shanahan from Philadelphia.  The match was a tough battle, with Shanahan holding off the Mount Rugby HPA 17-12 to retain the championship title. The weekend was a rousing success for the Mount Rugby HPA program, who finished the weekend with a 5-1 record.

Developed last fall by Myles, the Mount Rugby HPA looks to create a unique pathway for high school rugby student athletes.  The Mount Rugby HPA allows the student athletes to experience elite level competition and coaching under the Mount Rugby banner.  Jon Grasso and Mike Williams were selected as coaches of the Mount Rugby HPA team.  Grasso is a highly respected sevens coach who has coached for Beltway Elite and Stars Rugby in the past.  His strategic and developmental expertise provide the technical and fundamental foundation for the program. Williams is a Mount St. Mary’s graduate, class of 2001, and former captain and stand out player for the Mount. He comes to the program with close ties to the Philadelphia rugby community where he has coached in the high school program of the Media Rugby Football Club.  The coaches work to identify potential members of the team based on talent, work ethic and character. As assistant coach Mike Williams said, “We are able to have success because we bring in hard working guys that really care about winning and are willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the team.”  

“I think it’s important to remember that none of this would be possible without the incredible support of our University!”  The Mount Rugby HPA team is fully supported financially by the University," said Myles. "The Mount’s commitment to rugby has expanded to the high school ranks, with many of the Mount Rugby HPA student athletes committed to attend the University in the fall.  Mount Vice President of University Advancement, Bob Brennan, observed the team over the weekend and could not hide his excitement for the future.  Brennan said, “Spending time with our HPA players and families at the CRC’s was a great opportunity to see the future of Mount rugby.  The level of play and the confidence of these young men was something I have not seen from high school players in the past.  Coach Jay Myles has done an exceptional job of assembling a group of talented players and quickly forging them into a team that not only competes but enjoys the process.”   

Prior to the CRCs the Mount Rugby HPA had competed in a local Rugby Pennsylvania Tournament and the New York Sevens Tournament last fall.  Moving forward, the Mount Rugby HPA looks to continue generating momentum and growing competitive rugby. As coach Jon Grasso said, “The Mount Rugby HPA has the potential for greatly increasing the rugby skills and knowledge of top-level High School players in the Mid-Atlantic regions, and I’m looking forward to being part of this new venture.”