LAFAYETTE, Colo. - It is time for the USA Rugby community to rally behind one of Team USA's Olympians, a World Cup Eagle, a teammate, a partner, and a friend in Jillion Potter, who has been diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma.
Following her Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 campaign in France, Jillion took time away from rugby to receive care for the rare form of cancer. Over the course of six months, she underwent aggressive chemotherapy - all the while fitting in exercise and workouts - and eventually beat cancer to return to the Eagles. A year later, she was selected to Team USA's Rio 2016 Rugby Sevens squad.
Jillion has been more than just an ambassador for USA Rugby and the global game," USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne said. "As we all know, she's brave; a courageous teammate in and out of rugby and an inspiration to all.
"This latest development, though heartbreaking, is an opportunity for the community to again stand behind one of our own as she fights cancer a second time. Like she plays on the field, Jillion will give her all, and we will be there with her every step of the way."
Jillion will be relocating to Houston, Texas, to seek treatment options for her latest bout with cancer. To support Jillion and wife Carol in this fight, please consider offering financial assistance via Jillion's YouCaring page. The USA Rugby community was instrumental the last time around, raising a surplus of donations that allowed Jillion to successfully get through treatments and donate to The Sarcoma Foundation of America.
"Jillion has an army of USA Rugby fans," Payne said. "Or, more appropriately, an army of Jillion Potter fans, of which I am one. I know I speak for the community when I say we're standing right behind her."
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via Howard Kent
Another Denver 7s player is a US Eagle!
Congratulations to Ke'von Williams, who is going to Dubai & South Africa for the World Rugby 7s series with the USA 7s.
Ke'von, joins Denver 7s players Martin Iosefo & Ben Pinkelman (currently rehabbing an injury ) on the US team.
Ke'von is an alum of New Mexico Highlands University, and has also been an impact player for the Denver Barbarians in recent years.
Article by Nick Sero | Originally published at usarugby.org
UPDATE (6/19): Kelly Griffin named team captain, Cheta Emba and Nicole Heavirland added as travel reserves.
USA Rugby has announced the 12 athletes and eight staff members who will represent Team USA in the first Rugby Sevens competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
"It is an exciting time for USA Rugby and I am very honored to name the first USA Women's Sevens rugby team to compete in the Olympics," said Walker. "Most of the players that I have selected have a considerable amount of experience. Every player has played on the Sevens World Series and some players have played 15s for the USA, as well."
This will also mark the first time women's rugby will be played at the Olympics, with all matches to be played at Deodoro Stadium Aug. 6-8. Head Coach Richie Walker's team includes veterans such as Texas native Jillion Potter, Kelly Griffin of California and Victoria Folayan of Massachusetts, while Richelle Stephens - the youngest player in the squad - has already represented her country on the Olympic stage at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Article by Nick Sero | Originally published at usarugby.org
UPDATE: Nate Augspurger, Martin Iosefo, Shalom Suniula selected as travel replacements.
LAFAYETTE, Colo. - USA Rugby Men's Sevens Head Coach Mike Friday has selected the 12 athletes and his seven staff to represent Team USA in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The diverse roster includes athletes from across the country, international rugby stars and an NFL Super Bowl Champion.
Rugby was last played in the Olympics by the men in 1924, when the USA won gold in the standard 15-a-side version of the game. This will mark the first time Rugby Sevens will be played in the Olympic Games.
"It's a huge honor to represent your country at any time in your life, but to be given the responsibility at the Olympic Games - the biggest sporting event on the planet - makes it even more special," said Friday. "The fact that we will be part of Team USA and that as a result we will be exposing the USA sporting public to another team sport they can engage with and enjoy watching, as well as passionately support their country, is immense.
"The boys fully appreciate the accountability that comes with that responsibility and are looking forward with confidence to those challenges. While we are not the pre-tournament favorites like Fiji who have to play with that expectation, we are a team who are hugely respected and feared by all other countries as genuine contenders. We know that on any given Sunday we have the power, pace and physicality to match and beat anyone. The boys recognize the magnitude of the task but are confident that we can be medal contenders if we play to our ability. We will represent the people of the USA in a way that they expect and deserve, exhibiting the characteristics that will make them proud."
Mike Tolkin’s Eagles will prepare for a three-match tour to South America, the Pacific Nations Cup, and the upcoming Rugby World Cup in England and its buildup matches with a spring camp in Sunrise, Fla., Feb. 26 to March 1.
Thirty-three domestic-based athletes, including Todd Clever (unaffiliated) and Mike Petri of New York Athletic Club, as well as two international-based, capped Eagles in Ronnie McLean and John Quill, have been called to assemble at long-time Eagle training venue KICS Facility.
John Cullen, Tim Stanfill, Ben Tarr, and Matt Trouville will head to Florida having gained their first test caps last fall in matches against Fiji, New Zealand, Romania, and Tonga. The Eagles’ tour was highlighted by the sold-out crowd of 61,500 at Soldier Fieldin Chicago for the Eagles’ match against the All Blacks.
Tolkin and staff, including Assistant Coach Justin Fitzpatrick, held a forwards camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., earlier in February with 20 pool players, which gave the staff time to work with players in specific set piece scenarios. An Eagles Select XV squad will be chosen from this weekend’s camp to play three A-side matches against Uruguay and Argentina Jaguars in South America in April and May.
“After a long time apart, our Spring Camp always serves as an opportunity to get the Eagle pool players back on page with how we operate, and it also serves to introduce any new tactics that we’re looking to implement for the upcoming international season,” Tolkin said. “Moreover, it provides a venue for some talented new and younger players to be seen and evaluated for the first time at this level.”
Boys High School All-American and AIG Men’s Junior All-American Ben Cima, currently enrolled and playing rugby at University of Maryland, earns his second call to an Eagles camp, with his first coming prior to the Eagles Select XV’s Americas Rugby Championship campaign last October.
Eagles November squad member Angus MacLellan and Kutztown University’s Niku Kruger and Mike Lawrenson – the latter now attending Palmer College – also represent the college ranks in the Spring Camp roster. Alec Gletzer of University of California and Kyle Sumsion of Brigham Young University were unavailable for selection.
“It is an exciting time as our pool continues to grow in numbers and talent, and both of these factors present our staff with greater opportunity as well as greater challenges,” Tolkin said.
While Tolkin welcomes back Toby L’Estrange from an injury sustained in early 2014, the Eagles will be without Adam Siddall, who has retired from international rugby. The fly half started seven of his eight international tests with the Eagles, including his debut against Canada in Edmonton May 25, 2013. His 52 points from eight conversions and 12 penalty goals helped the Eagles to three wins, including a latevictory against Georgia Nov. 16, 2013.
Life University graduate and current club standout AJ MacGinty will get his first taste of an Eagles assembly in Florida. The American Rugby Premiership’s leading scorer with 75 points is now eligible to represent the United States at the test level.
Danny Barrett, who missed out on the majority of the match against the All Blacks due to an injury sustained in the first few minutes, is one of five Men’s Eagles Sevens representatives at the Spring Camp. Folau Niua of 12 caps and Andrew Durutalo and Zack Test, called upon for the ARC, will travel to Sunrise with Barrett and Maka Unufe. The sevens team is coming off of its first Cup Semifinal of a World Rugby HSBC Sevens World Series leg since 2010 at USA Sevens Valentine’s Day weekend.
“The Spring Camp takes on further significance as we look towards selecting players for the development tour to South America in April,” Tolkin said. “The camp is also the starting point for building the Rugby World Cup squad later this summer. There’s quite a lot of competition for spots among the domestic players alone, so the way players go about their business on and off the field, no matter their longevity with the Eagles, will be incredibly important in how they are evaluated by the staff.
“I’d like to personally thank the clubs and universities for the use of their players, some during the competitive season, and I would like to thank the Men’s Eagles Sevens program for their cooperation and participation in our camp.”
KICS Facility, adjacent to Sawgrass Grand Hotel, affords the players and staff the unique opportunity to walk directly from the hotel to the training field, maximizing the on-field time over the course of the weekend as well as minimizing ground transportation costs. Fort Lauderdale Rugby Club will also support the Eagles with equipment and operational needs during camp.
The Eagles Select XV’s matches in South America begin in Montevideo against Uruguay Thursday, April 23, before two against Argentina Jaguars Tuesday, April 28, and Saturday, May 2, in Buenos Aires and Mendoza, respectively.
Men's Eagles Spring Camp
PLAYER | CLUB/SCHOOL
Danny Barrett | Men's Eagles Sevens
Chris Baumann | Santa Monica Dolphins / New York Athletic
Ben Cima | University of Maryland
Todd Clever | Unaffiliated
John Cullen | Seattle Saracens
Andrew Durutalo | Men's Eagles Sevens
Zach Fenoglio | Glendale Raptors
Lemoto Filikitonga | Metropolis Rugby
Troy Hall | New York Athletic
Seamus Kelly | San Francisco Golden Gate / New York Athletic
Olive Kilifi | Seattle Saracens
Niku Kruger | Kutztown University
Ben Landry | Seattle Saracens / Milwaukee Barbarians
Mike Lawrenson | Palmer Dragons
Toby L'Estrange | New York Athletic Club
Chad London | Glendale Raptors
Angus MacLellan | Davenport University
Al McFarland | New York Athletic
AJ MacGinty | Life Running Eagles
Ronnie McLean | Ealing Trailfinders
Folau Niua | Men's Eagles Sevens
Brodie Orth | Glendale Raptors / Boston Rugby
Mike Petri | New York Athletic
Ben Pinkelman | Denver Barbarians / Colorado State University
John Quill | Dolphin Rugby (Ireland)
Jope Ravolaca | Seattle Saracens
Mike Shepherd | Seattle Saracens
Tim Stanfill | Seattle Saracens
Shalom Suniula | Seattle Saracens
Ben Tarr | Glendale Raptors
Zack Test | Men's Eagles Sevens
Phil Thiel | Life Rugby
Matt Trouville | Seattle Saracens
Maka Unufe | Men's Eagles Sevens
Nick Wallace | Glendale Raptors
Unavailable for selection
Alec Gletzer - University of California
Kyle Sumsion - Brigham Young University
Louis Stanfill - Seattle Saracens Rugby Football Club
Men's Eagles Coach Staff | Spring Camp
Mike Tolkin - Head Coach
Justin Fitzpatrick - Assistant Coach, Forwards
Nate Osborne - Assistant Coach, Backs/Attack
Phil Bailey - Assistant Coach, Defense
Neil McMillan - Strength & Conditioning Coach
Chris O'Brien - Assistant Coach/Video Analyst
Richard Quincy - Physiotherapist
Zach Vyhnanek - Physiotherapist
Marc Kowalsky - Doctor
Sean Lindersmith - Assistant Manager
Tristan Lewis - Team Manager
Tocabe - An American Indian Eatery
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