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USRF Announces the 2016 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Recipients

By United States Rugby Foundation, 12/28/16, 12:00PM CST

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The USRF has announced the recipients of the 2016 Kevin Higgins College Scholarships. The $1,000 scholarships, named in honor of one of the all-time great U.S. players, Kevin Higgins, (pictured), are awarded to graduating high school seniors who have gone on to continue their education and rugby at the collegiate level.This year's recipients brings the total to 82 Higgins Scholarship winners since the program was established in 2008.

"Selecting this year's recipients of the Kevin Higgins College Scholarships was another difficult task," said USRF Executive Director Brian Vizard. "We received applications from a number of outstanding young student athletes and the Selection Committee thought long and hard before finally deciding on this year's 10 recipients. As you'll read in the writeups, the 10 chosen are all outstanding individuals. I do want to thank all those who sent in applications and I know I speak for the rest of the USRF in wishing them all the best for the future."

The 2016 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship winners are:

Andrew Baldado attributes rugby to teaching him character values that lead to success both on and off the pitch. The three-year varsity starter, two-time 15’s state champion, and three-time 7’s state champion from St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio has taken his rugby values and applied them to his everyday life, excelling in both academics and athletics. He graduated in 2016 with a 3.95 GPA and volunteered with many local groups. The most notable achievement on Andrew’s rugby resume is his most recent play for the Philippines Jr. National U19/U20 team in Manila…Read more about Andrew Baldado.

Hannah Beagley watched her first girl’s rugby game in her freshman year of high school and thought to herself, “I could totally play this sport.” She worked with the boy’s coach at her school to establish a girl’s team for the following season. Hannah’s leadership and passion for the game led her to turn a crumbling multi-school club into a thriving single-school rugby club that would go on and play for a state championship title. Hannah graduated from Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho with a 4.0 GPA. She is a member of the National Honor Society and completed over thirty hours of community service annually to make a difference in her community…Read more about Hannah Beagley.

Christopher Costa dreams of representing the United States of America like many other young ruggers, but his dream is slightly different. While it is Costa’s dream to represent the U.S. as a U20 All-American, an Eagle, and an Olympian, he intends on utilizing his rugby background to help him succeed in the United States Army. In 2012, he was an inaugural member of the St. John Bosco High School Varsity Rugby 15’s team, who went on to win their division in the same year…Read more about Chris Costa.

Malik Hearon began playing rugby with Memphis Inner City Rugby as a freshman in high school. Rugby has impacted Malik’s life in ways that he cannot explain, but rather in ways he demonstrates in his everyday life. Malik’s natural leadership skills are what had earned him team MVP honors in just his second season of play and a West Tennessee All-Star team selection. He is a promising young rugby player who prides himself on never giving up and working toward his goals. Off the field, he has been an active participant in the Memphis Bar Association summer program in preparation for a future as an attorney. He will have the opportunity to continue his rugby career at the collegiate level for the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders…Read more about Malik Hearon.

Martin Keuchkerian knew rugby would become his biggest passion from the moment he was introduced to the sport. Martin says that rugby has taught him dedication and discipline that has been applicable to every aspect of his life. “Before rugby I was an average student, not bad but nothing impressive either. But once I started studying like I played rugby everything changed.” He excelled in the classroom, graduating from Revere High School in Revere, Massachusetts in 2016 with a 3.97 GPA and ranked 38 out of 408 students in his class. Martin even received the President’s Award for Educational Excellence…Read more about Martin Keuchkerian.

Dante Lopresti originally set his sights on the baseball field, but instead began playing rugby on the freshman team at Gonzaga High School in Washington, DC after his high school rugby coaches convinced him to give the game a try. The three-year varsity starter led Gonzaga to a third consecutive national championship as team captain in his senior year. Dante is eager to evolve into the best player he can be on and off the field while continuing his rugby career at Notre Dame College…Read more about Dante Lopresti.

Ryan Maxfield says that rugby has given him many valuable life experiences, but his favorite is being a part of a tight-knit community. He was a four-year member of the Regis Jesuit High School Rugby Club varsity side in Aurora, Colorado and led his team to win the Colorado Division I Championship title in 2016. He will continue his rugby career at the collegiate level at Loyola University Chicago in the fall of 2016. Ryan has played in several out of state locations, like Philadelphia and Victoria, but he would love to play in rugby meccas like South Africa, Australia, or New Zealand, while he participates in a study abroad program…Read more about Ryan Maxfield.

Kyle Patmore played rugby for Brighton High School in Brighton, Michigan for four seasons, where the scholar-athlete was a four-time varsity player, three-time varsity captain, state quarter-finalist and state champion. He graduated from Brighton with a 3.8 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. Kyle is just as dedicated to academics as he is to rugby; as he was a four-year honor roll student, academic letter recipient, academic all-state selection, and KLAA scholar athlete. In addition to rugby, he also played football and wrestled for Brighton. His continuous excellence and dedication to the game has earned him a spot on the University of Michigan Rugby team in fall of 2016…Read more about Kyle Patmore.

Megan Rose describes the rugby pitch as her place of peace and safe haven. She was a standout member for Summit High School in Frisco, Colorado, receiving a team captain nod, team MVP honors, a two-time All-State First Team and Academic All-State First Teams selections, a Tiger Award, and Coach’s Award. In her senior year of high school, she was jumpstarted into her career path and passed the Colorado State Certified Nursing Assistant Exam. After continuing her rugby career and graduating from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut she wishes to join the Nurses Without Borders program and travel around the world to different clinics to help those in need…Read more about Megan Rose.

Becca Jane Rosko has had the opportunity to make history as a member of the inaugural Youth Olympic Rugby Team in Nanjing, China in 2014. Rugby is much more than a sport to Rosko, but rather a stronghold and way of life. The pitch is her second home! Rosko graduated from Summit High School in Frisco, Colorado with a 3.8 GPA and played varsity soccer and basketball in addition to rugby. She intends on pursuing a career in the medical field and would love to incorporate her rugby background into her career, saying, “Who knows? Maybe I will study blood patterns on and off the rugby pitch.”…Read more about Becca Rosko.

The USRF would like to congratulate its 2016 recipients of the Kevin Higgins College Scholarships and thank all those who applied.