News and Announcements
Schuylkill River RFC, Philadelphia Women’s RFC, and the North Philadelphia Nomads RFC are proud to announce year two of their summer rugby program at the NE Frankford Boys and Girls Club. Building off of the success of last year’s summer camp the ten week program sees coaches, players, and administrators from all three teams continue to give back to the community and help develop the game on the grassroots level.
The Clubs plan to make this year’s program even bigger and better than last year’s with Kate Hallinan of Philadelphia Women’s RFC stepping into the role of Director of Rugby for the Boys and Girls Club. Hallinan, who has previously been involved in rugby programs at other youth organizations such as Philly Girls in Motion, brings a wealth of experience to the position. “As the kids continued to grow and develop as rugby players during last year’s summer program and beyond it became clear that they were ready to take the next step and see a more nuanced approach to the game” Hallinan stated. She added “it’s my intention to monitor their progress this summer and tailor the sessions to give them the best experience they can have as beginning rugby players while developing their skills.”
Helping out with the program is North Philadelphia Nomads RFC coach James Brunson who is also known to his peers as the overall heart and soul of Philadelphia rugby. Brunson was a founder of the Nomads program who has made a positive impact on countless lives through his dedication to the game and the community. According to Brunson “The partnership with the Boys and Girls Club gives members of the Nomads an opportunity to build bonds with, and mentor, youth and help grow the game in our city.”
Schuylkill River Board Member Ryan McHugh, who is also a coach for Roman Catholic high school and the Wissahickon Braves youth program is another of the volunteers for this program with substantial youth development experience and strong ties to the Philadelphia rugby community. McHugh had this to say, “As my teammates know, this is where I grew up and I’m excited to have the opportunity to give back to my community and help teach these kids the greatest sport on earth. I really can’t express how much I appreciate working with Rafiq, Donald, and Denise from the Club to help provide an opportunity for these kids."
Schuylkill River President Dave Codell, who is also involved with the Narberth Otters and the Wandering Warriors rugby teams, believes this staff might be one of the strongest youth rugby groups in the entire country. “Look around at all of the talent we have involved: Kate Hallinan just Captained and Player-Coached Philly Women to Nationals in 7s and 15s, she’s Philadelphia’s most accomplished rugby player overall at this moment and deserves credit for her status nationally. Brunson founded a club from scratch and their story was so good that they made a movie about it (which Brunson and I both happen to be in so make sure you see Nomads when it comes out!) while McHugh has twenty years of playing experience, is a D1 starter in 15s and a player-coach in 7s while also being involved in a total of 4 youth programs when you factor in Schuylkill River’s U-19 team in addition to his work with Wissahickon, Roman Catholic, and the Boys and Girls Club and that’s just a small sample of who we’ve got coaching the program this year. There’s also Greg Mininger who has overseas playing experience and various select side/all-star coaching experience and several other players from each of the Clubs mentioned. Nobody else is out there rolling out this kind of talent, that is a fact and it’s why this program is so successful and the kids enjoy it so much. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
The Club is anticipating that as many as 130 kids will participate in their summer program and the Club’s hours are expanding from 15 hours per week in the school year to over 40 hours per week in the summer which makes this a great opportunity for the teams to lend a hand where it’s needed and help provide these kids with a summer that they’ll never forget.
The Narberth Otters (http://narberthrugbyclub.teamsnapsites.com) held their annual award ceremony recently to honor an extremely talented group, in particular the senior class which piled up a record of 20-2 over the past two seasons.
The Most Valuable Player this year was Cameron McKendrick. Cam is the total package as a rugby player. He’s a talented front row with a ton of experience and his knowledge of the game basically makes him a coach on the field. This is Cameron’s second year in a row winning the MVP award and it is well deserved. In addition to his work in the set piece and breakdown Cam continued to build pace into his game this year which made him a nightmare for opposing teams in the open field and he regularly set the tone early on in Narberth’s matches by crashing penalty taps through the opposing line.
The Rookie of the Year was Ryan Kreiser. Ryan is one of the more dedicated players that we’ve seen on the youth level. His status as an Eagle Scout and future West Point cadet was apparent in the way that he always brought maximum effort regardless of the conditions including when he participated in multiple practices despite having a broken foot. Ryan wasn’t an obvious rugby talent at the beginning of the year but he spent the entire season doing every single thing the coaching staff asked of him and by the end of the season he was a key component in the set piece and a sure tackler as well as a leader on the field.
Best Forward was awarded to George May. George, the newest member of Nova Nation where Schuylkill has a bit of a history, is an athletic front row who is just as comfortable running around someone as he is running through them. In his second season with the team things really started to click for George and he started adding facets to his game on a weekly basis. We are really looking forward to watching George continue to grow under the tutelage of Schuylkill River hall of famer Steve Green at Villanova.
Best Back was awarded to Jack Torbeck. Jack is a flyhalf with a fullback’s skillset and a prop’s mindset. Jack is a tough player who is more than willing to press his physical advantage and attack right through the heart of the defense. A more than willing tackler, Jack also set the tone for the backline’s defense and provided great leadership.
Comeback Player of the Year was awarded to Nick Merriam. Nick played for the Narberth U13 and U15 teams before deciding to quit rugby prior to 9th grade due to a belief that he was not a good enough player. Nick took two seasons off before returning to the team last year where he made a few contributions but was part of a crowded backline. This season Nick had a position in the first XV from start to finish and he made the most of his opportunity. Nick is particularly good at hacking the ball off the ground and racing into it for the finish having scored 3 tries this way just in the playoffs alone this season.
Great job to all of the Narberth players, coaches, and administrative staff on another successful season. Can’t wait to see what next year brings.
Our teammate Matt McKnight has recently written a children’s book so we decided to ask him a few questions about it and share the info on where you can find Matt online and where you can purchase the book.
1. What is this book about?
The Animal Alphabet is a fun way to learn the English alphabet through an assortment of colorful characters.
2. Why write this book in particular?
I wrote this book because, when I was a little kid, I was very shy and didn’t have a lot of friends. The way I connected with the world was through my art. People would see me drawing, so I played a game where I asked them, “What is your favorite animal? What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Then I would combined their answers and make a drawing completely tailored to that person. It helped me learn about people. I’ve always been very curious on what makes people tick, what motivates them, and what they want to do every day they wake up. I believe that we are an accumulation of all the people we have met and we can learn a lot from each other.
3. Who would you say is the target audience for this book?
Ideally children, anyone looking to learn the English Alphabet, and people who enjoy colors and/or animal drawings. I aim more for the younger audience because they are sponges, always taking to new things and learning from them.
4. Where can we get this book?
You can go to my shop set up on Blurb – here’s the link http://www.blurb.com/b/8681453-the-animal-alphabet
5. If someone reaches out to you and buys a book will you do a custom inscription?
Absolutely. If you want me to sign your book, Ill happily oblige and do a little doodle. Makes me feel all fuzzy wuzzy inside :)
6. Where can people find you online and on social media?
You can also go to my website – www.mattmcknightart.com – or shoot me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – You can checkout my Facebook page " Matt McKnight Art " or follow me on Instagram – @mattymcknut – I post a lot of art, a lot of the time. If you’re looking for commissioned work or prints of other work, don hesitate to reach out :)
7. What can we expect from Matt McKnight in the future?
I definitely know I will be drawing a lot more, making more art, and working on my next book (As I type this answer). Updates will be posted on my social media and websites, GO FOLLOW NOW :D
Schuylkill River’s John Hines has recently launched his fitness brand alongside some of his family members. We’ve asked John a few questions so that you can decide if Hines Fit is right for you. Find them on Instagram at hinesfit or e-mail John at hinesjohnathan14(at)yahoo.com to get started!
1. So what exactly is Hines Fit?
Hines fit is a movement thought up while we (me, my brother Vaughn and my cousin Rajohn) were doing Uncle Rob Fitness (which is a workout series at my Uncle Rob’s home gym). We’ve been talking about it for a while and I just decided to make it a reality.
2. Who is involved with Hines Fit?
So far on the team we have me, Vaughn and Rajohn. You can actually even include uncle Rob because he’s a Hines and he always posts that he’s active and working. We are a growing team, Vaughn had his first client recently and we have a few prospective clients. We are looking for even more members to further push and build the movement and brand.
3. What are your credentials?
We don’t have any schooling credentials but we have plenty of experience. I’ve been working out since about 2013 and I also was the strength and conditioning coach of St. Bonaventure University’s women’s rugby team in the 2014 season (state champs!!). Vaughn has been lifting since about 2014, his freshman year of High school, with the St. Joe’s Prep football team. He’s been super enthusiastic about working out since he’s gotten the first of his gains and even pushed himself further than the already rigorous football workout routines. Rajohn’s been working out for a while now. He and his wife weren’t happy with how they looked and felt and they decided to jump head first into the health and fitness world to continue their progress and to help others.
4. What’s the pricing structure for Hines Fit?
Right now, we’re starting small. We do personal training sessions for $10 per hour and we do group sessions at the gym and even outside, when the weather is nice, for $10 per person. This is distance specific as defined below.
5. Where are you located?
We travel to accommodate to our trainees because we want to reach as many people as possible, however, our home gyms are Planet fitness on 24th and Oregon Ave, Planet fitness on Island and Lindbergh Blvd and also, for LA fitness members, LA fitness on 24th and Oregon.
6. What services are provided?
At the moment we only really advertise workouts and training but we’re working on dietary advice and movement apparel.
7. Do you travel to clients, and if so, what’s the fee?
As stated above, we do travel to our trainees if need be. The rate is $5 for travels between 35 and 49 minutes and $10 for anything exceeding 50 minutes.
8. What is your fitness philosophy?
My fitness philosophy isI just encouraging others to always strive to be a better version of themselves. Fitness is a great representation of that because during your fitness journey you can learn important attributes like patience and perseverance, which carry over into other facets of your life.
9. It’s a good thing you’ve been spending so much time getting fit because I hear you’re going to be in a movie pretty soon about the North Philadelphia Nomads U19 rugby team. Tell us a little about that.
The Nomads movie is gonna be so awesome! I’m having so much fun being a part of this project! Anywho, I’m just a Special Abilities Extra (I prefer Rugby Extraordinaire). That’s all I can really say at the moment, as that’s all I know.
Schuylkill River had another big weekend at the Collegiate Rugby Championship (https://www.usasevenscrc.com) in Chester PA two weeks ago following up on last year’s tournament which featured four coaches and twelve players with connections to our club. This time around the numbers were even higher for Philadelphia rugby’s flagship 7s tean as an incredible eight coaches and fifteen players with previous involvement in our program competed in the event.
In the Freedom Division the Villanova Wildcats were coached by River U23 Academy coach Biddy Boyle alongside Schuylkill Hall of Famer Steve Green and were led on the field by PJ Maher and Matt Hughes. Drexel also participated in the Freedom Division with River 7s head coach Mike Burch and 2017 All-American Kyle Kent leading the way. Last but not least, West Chester was coached by Schuylkill old boy Bjorn Haglid and current Schuylkill 7s player Tyler Anderson with players Paul Diorio and John King taking the field.
In the Championship division the University of Delaware Blue Hens were coached by Schuylkill old boy Stru Murray alongside current Schuylkill 7s player Mitch Vannoy and on the field featured a quarter of Schuylkill players including John McCurdy, Joe Osinubi, Grayson Haynes, and Matt Ramires. Kutztown was also in the Championship division and matched UDel with a quarter of their own with Jason DeNofa, Sam Devine, Angel Santiago, and Brandon Boon led by legendary KU coach and Schuylkill manager Doc Jones. Also competing in the Championship division were Boston College and Riley Curtain as well as St. Joes and Chris Curcio.
This of course is in addition to the fact that Schuylkill’s new U19 team made their debut with twelve players at the high school division of this event and was coached by five active Schuylkill players including Greg Mininger, Ben Janssen, Dan Deal, Ryan McHugh, and Dave Codell. Schuylkill River is proud of what all of these great players have accomplished and we are happy that our 7s program has helped them along the way. We look forward to developing even more talent in the summer of 2018 and continuing to work on our grass roots Philadelphia rugby initiatives.