News and Announcements
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.
With the first MAC qualifier of the season coming up this weekend Ben Janssen has been named Captain of Schuylkill River’s 7s program. To get to know more about Ben’s background and what he brings to the table check out the interview he recently did for us.
1. What is your rugby background?
I first played in high school with Coatesville Rugby Club, a club that unfortunately received no support from the school and has since disbanded, during that time I also played with Brandywine Men’s Club and eventually found my way to Penn State Men’s Rugby Club. Penn State opened the door to the select sides of Atlantis and representing Philadelphia in the Select Cities tournament in Houston where I met Pudge (Chris Ryan). After the Select Cities tournament, I knew I wanted to play on whatever team he was coaching and that brought me to Schuylkill River.
2. What notable accomplishments do you have in 7s and what sort of select side representation have you been involved in?
As mentioned above I played with Atlantis and Philadelphia Selects but I was also back-to-back first team Big Ten and had the privileged of competing in the first 5 CRCs.
3. What are you going to bring to the table as the Captain of Schuylkill’s 7s program and how would you describe your leadership style?
Well first and foremost I think everyone on the team, the rugby community, possibly the planet knows how much I hate losing so I think that will drive performance but I also bring a solid range of knowledge and a never say die work ethic to the team. When I’m on the field I’m running as hard and as fast as I can till the game ends or you pull me from the field. In the really gritty minutes of sevens I think guys respect a person who lays it on the line for the team.
4. Schuylkill’s 7s program is much more than just the Premier side. How do you intend to help develop the players on the U-23 side and help the less experienced players learn the game?
Aside from recently taking up coaching our U19 program, I start with recruiting. It’s really sad to me that there are not more Penn State Men’s club Alumni in the Philly area willing to play high level rugby so I go after players from my alma mater first. From PSU I move onto the connections I have made throughout my rugby career to pull in as many players as possible. Then comes development, I believe one of the greatest ways elevate your play is to play against higher competition. Collegiate athletes, recent graduates and less experienced players can come to Schuylkill knowing they will get better because they will be competing against a nationally competitive side every practice. Our coaching staff and senior players are exceptional at explaining our style of play and will field any question a younger or less experienced player may have. Schuylkill also has the advantage of entering multiple teams into tournaments and frequently get to watch one another play. This gives the more experienced players an opportunity to watch the U23 side play and critique their individual and team play, conversely the U23 and open sides get to watch the premier at a high level and learn from our mistakes and what we do well.
5. Speaking of helping less experienced players learn the game, you recently helped coach Schuylkill’s first ever U-19 team at the High School Rugby Championship as part of the Collegiate Rugby Championship that takes place in Chester every year. How would you describe that experience and what have you learned from it?
Being a first time coach was incredible. Teaching our U19 players the game I love and seeing their ability to learn and fall in love with it was an experience I will never forget and hope to continue to do. I learned areas where I need to improve as a player and a teacher and learned somehow I am more psychotic on the sidelines as a coach than on the field as a player…… definitely an area for improvement.
6. What do you most look forward to as a member of Schuylkill’s 7s program?
I love everything about sevens; the fitness, the training, all day tournaments, the brotherhood you form with your teammates, and especially winning. My wife has six national championships (four 15s and two 7s) and I have 0, SRE 7s puts me I a solid position to attempt to narrow that gap as we’re nationally completive every year.
7. If someone was on the fence about coming to play 7s for Schuylkill River what would you want them to know?
If you want to become a better rugby player, come play with us. Even if you do not have the premier side time commitment we can accommodate whatever level of 7s you are looking to play but I can guarantee you will get significantly better throughout the summer. No other program in the area will develop your game like Schuylkill.
Bonus Question: You scored a match winning try for Penn State at the Collegiate Rugby Championship against Ohio State and Nate Ebner who currently plays for the New England Patriots. Is it true that the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Superbowl 52 with a backup quarterback and are currently the defending Superbowl champs?
It is in fact true, I like to believe the seeds of the patriots defeat were created that day in 2011. I’m sure the tale of a PA team snatching victory from the jaws of defeat of a “better” team spread far and wide and shook the patriots team to the core.