Penn Mutual Coach of the Month – Thomas Clark

Congratulations to Thomas Clark (T.C), Director of Rugby for Tufts University Men’s Rugby Club on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month for January.

Coach Clark has been coaching for more than five years, is the Director of Rugby for Tufts University, the Operations Director for Northeast Academy-Boston, the Coach of Mystic River Rugby Club and the Varsity Coach, St. John’s Prep. T.C. was nominated for Coach of The Month his active engagement in the NCR Fall programming and his willingness to support and participate in future coach development opportunities.

He says “There is something about the sport of rugby that mirrors our life experiences. How players respond to adversity and success on the field can tell you a lot about their character and mental resiliency off the field.
At a small school like Tufts, building a successful program is measured not by wins and losses, but by the growth and development of our players as they embark on their life’s journey after college.
We are extremely excited that Liberty Conference made the decision to join National Collegiate Rugby (NCR). Tufts was a proud member of NSCRO for many years and we know firsthand the commitment of NCR to inspiring and fostering the growth and development of our student athletes and coaches.”

Nominate another deserving Coach

Announcing Women’s Small College Commissioner – Jessie Blitz

NCR is happy to announce Jessie Blitz as the Small College Commissioner for the NCR Women’s programs.  Jessie began her career with rugby as a child being a part of the sideline support for her fathers team at Occidental College and the Denver Harlequins Old Boys team.

She never really found her passion for the game until she started playing in College at Western Colorado University in Gunnison.  Jessie played and served as the team president her senior year and was selected as an NSCRO All-American in 2018.

In college Jessie needed an internship so she cold called the NSCRO Director of Women’s Rugby, and asked if there was any work he needed help with.

In 2018 Jessie helped organize and run the first Women’s All Star 7s Championship at Eckerd College in Florida. After the Championship 2020, she took on a more permanent role as Social Media Assistant through NSCRO’s transition into National Collegiate Rugby.

Jessie says she is excited to see how this spring progresses and can’t wait to get to know the women’s conferences and teams better and serve their needs within NCR.

NCR’s Interim Women’s Director Angela Smarto says “We are excited to have Jessie on board in her new role as Small College Commissioner. She is ready to take the next step in her career here with us at National Collegiate Rugby. Jessie brings a contagious enthusiasm that we will bring to collegiate women’s rugby.”

Welcome to the team Jessie, we are excited to have you on board!

Community Open Letter

 Jeremy A. Treece 

Chief Executive Officer 

230 N. Maple Ave. Suite B1 #295 

Marlton, NJ 08053-9412 

 

To the US Rugby Community, 

I am writing to you today to express my great appreciation for all you do to serve the game of rugby and to make you aware of our position with USA Rugby, our National Governing Body. In addition, I’d like to clear  up any miscommunications that are circulating around with referee organizations regarding NCR’s and  USAR’s relationship. 

NCR, formerly known as NSCRO, has been serving the college rugby community for over 13 years with  great success. With the uncertainty of USAR’s future due to bankruptcy last year, NCR needed to evolve our  processes to best serve our members. With the encouragement of USAR we established a registration  platform and insurance coverage in 2020.  

NCR believes that a NGB that partners and empowers its community groups is the best path forward for  the growth of rugby in the United States. Creating shared partnerships to grow the game, with independent  organizations like NCR, NIRA, MLR, LROs and USA Youth & High School Rugby, we believe, is essential to the  development of the game at all levels. These community groups provide the necessary services so USAR is  able to concentrate on the mission that a NGB should be focused on. All of this conforms with the committee  guidelines developed by the working group USAR empowered to find a way forward from their reorganization. 

NCR has embraced this mission and looks forward to contributing to the shared resources that all groups  need for the game to effectively operate. This includes, but is not limited to, the recruitment, training,  education and assisting of referees to develop a nationwide consistent approach to the game. NCR welcomes a partnership with USAR to assist them in these important areas. 

Therefore, NCR has sent a formal proposal to USAR on 12-15-2020 proposing a new community  partnership between our organizations. NCR has offered an annual $52,000 donation to be specifically earmarked for programs developed by USAR for the recruitment and development of referees and coaching development. 

NCR is currently awaiting USAR’s response. However, while we are waiting for their response, we will  continue our mission forward “to foster the on and off-field growth and development of collegiate rugby  teams, student athletes, referees and coaches.” 

Thank you again for all you do for the game, especially during these challenging times. We look forward  to the return of rugby and working with you in 2021. 

Respectfully, 

Jeremy A. Treece

2021 Women’s All Star Summit

NCR is hosting the 2021 All Star Summit THIS WEEKEND on Saturday and Sunday, January 16th and 17th.

Schedule and Speaker Details

We will be hosting the event on Ring Central. If you plan on joining us with your mobile phone, you will need to download the free Ring Central app, and if you plan on using your computer, you should use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge internet browsers. Use this link and ID to tune in on the presentations that interest you:

https://v.ringcentral.com/join/906370391

Meeting ID: 906370391

Here is the schedule for our All Star Summit Weekend: please keep in mind that all times are listed for Eastern Time Zone.

 

Saturday Jan. 16th

12pm EST – Creating and preparing your all star team – Angela Smarto

2pm EST – Coaching at the next level – Mike Geibel

4pm EST – Game Planning Process – Darryl Suasua (New Zealand Black Ferns)

 

Sunday Jan. 17th

12pm EST – Olympic Mentality – Kathryn Johnson

2pm EST – Player Panel – Leanna Munter, Stephie Franz, Ally Gallagher

RAFFLE

There will be a raffle at the end of the panel to give away some of our old NSCRO swag to those who attend. Participants can fill out the entry form that will be available during presentations to be entered win.

This event is for anyone who wants to know about what we offer at NCR or for anyone who wants delve into refereeing, playing, coaching, or administration in rugby.

Penn Mutual Student Leader of the Month – Brian Gannon

Congratulations to Brian Gannon, Center from Wheeling University Men’s Rugby Club, on his selection as the Penn Mutual Student Leader of the month for December.

The Senior from the Men’s Open Division with the NCR Allegheny Conference, Brian’s Coach Mike Geibel says “Brian is one of the strongest leaders I’ve seen in a collegiate player.”

Coach Geibel also commented that “through the university’s financial exigency in 2018, Brian stuck with the program. Brian was so invested in the program that he requested to sit on the hiring committee that eventually hired me. He helped lead the team last year, despite not being a senior, leading the team in scoring during our covid-shortened season. When we traveled to Nashville for the Mooseman 7s the week after the devastating tornado, Brian helped me to coordinate a cleanup effort for a family who lost everything in the storm. During the spring quarantine, he was instrumental in helping recruit and plan for the season. He spoke with recruits through social media, and this year has personally met and given tours to every on-campus visit we’ve had since reopening. He’s also the first to volunteer to drive the freshmen to Walmart or anywhere else they need to go off campus. He leads through example on the pitch and in the weight room, leading workouts in addition to our scheduled team activities and has taken the freshmen under his wing. Every Saturday morning, Brian leads a team workout even when I give them the day off. On campus, he leads through the Student Athlete Advisory Council and is one of the team leads in his nursing program. He has volunteered during his clinicals to serve in the Emergency Room and ICU wards. “

Penn Mutual Coach of the Month – Tyler Scott

Congratulations to Tyler Scott, Head Coach of Grace Colleges Women’s Rugby Club on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month for December.

Tyler got hooked on rugby during a summer abroad in Australia. During his senior year of college (2006) he joined the local club in Greenville, SC and played with them until he completed grad school in 2014. His first job was at Northwestern College in Orange City, IA where he was able to get a club started with Bryn Chivers. When he moved to Grace College in 2018, they were looking to expand their athletic programs and emphasized club sports. Being a full-time employee as a physics professor, made it easier for them to get the women’s rugby club started. Tyler has played rugby for about 10 years and has coached for about four.

Within the last year, Tyler has established a brand new program, recruited, and built a campus presence during the COVID19 pandemic. In the Fall 2020 season, not only did he lead his team to the #NCRVirtualRugbySeason playoffs, but he actually got his team on the field. The Grace College women played a 7s series with Tiffin University allowing their new team to maintain during its infancy.  Angela Smarto, NCR Interim Women’s Director, who nominated Tyler, said “creating a real and virtual rugby experience for a new team this season was so much work, and I admire his commitment to grow his team.”

Nominate another deserving Coach

Penn Mutual Student Leader of the Month – Jocelyn Pérez

NCR would like to congratulate Jocelyn Pérez (University of Chicago) on being selected as the Penn Mutual Small College Student-Leader of the Month for November 2020!

Jocelyn’s teammate who nominated her, Julia Gerdin says that, “Jocelyn Pérez is co-captain of our University of Chicago Women’s Rugby team. In addition to balancing rigorous academic coursework and her home life where she is responsible for taking care of her mother and sister, Jocelyn is an incredible captain and team leader. She is organized and efficient as a captain, but more importantly she genuinely cares about the sport and all of our players, taking the time to help rookies understand concepts and sending out emails of appreciation.”

Gerdin also says, “You might think going virtual would stop her enthusiasm, but she is just as/if not more active, keeping up with captain tasks, social media challenges, and fitness tasks while encouraging and motivating us to join her. Her love for the sport seeps through all her interactions as she constantly encourages everyone from strangers to classmates to join the Rugby team. Not only that, but she is also a star player on the team and essential in her role as a hooker. In fact, last season she was voted Most Valuable Player. “

Penn Mutual Coach of the Month – Jeremy Ognall

Congratulations to Jeremy Ognall, Head Coach of Claremont Colleges Men’s Rugby Clubs on his selection as the Penn Mutual Coach of the month for November.

Jeremy says:

“While I appreciate the award and the recognition from NCR that goes with it, I would like to say that it’s clearly an award earned over the past six years of NCSRO success for The Claremont Colleges rugby program. It’s due to the amazing support that I have had from my Associate Head Coach and lifelong friend, Scott Bracken, and the significant addition four years ago of Ray Egan who truly helped transform us. That support along with the rest of our amazing staff, Lauren Klein, Brandon Johnson and Zach Ognall and those before them made all things possible. But undoubtedly the biggest acknowledgment goes to our players who have never wavered and continually pursue excellence in all they do. Captains Grant Frazier, Sean Pyne, Brendan MacDonald, Conner Pederson and now Jeremy Seow, with all who played under them, made my role infinitely rewarding. It’s fitting that THEY get this award also. I would like to thank NCR for their continued pursuit of excellence in College Rugby, specifically the small college element, especially Steve Hiatt and Jeremy Treece who acknowledge the hard work that has gone into making Claremont so great and the Team of the Decade within NSCRO. Also thanks to all at NCR for keeping us engaged in rugby while COVID pervades, it’s nice to have hope.”

In his nomination, a former player states that Jeremy Ognall is not just a great rugby coach, he is an incredible motivator, administrator, friend and mentor.  When Jeremy took over as the Claremont Rugby coach in 2009, he put in place structures and instilled an attitude of professionalism that have set the standard for what it means to be a Claremont Rugby Lion.  He has been instrumental in building and improving every part of the program, from fundraising and alumni engagement to media/public relations and relations with each of The Claremont Colleges’ administrations.

Jeremy’s efforts have paid massive dividends over the last decade, as is evidenced by Claremont’s immense on the field success.  Claremont secured the USA Rugby Collegiate Division II 15s National Championship in 2010, the NSCRO 15s National Championship in 2017 and 2019, and the NSCRO 7s National Championship in 2018.  Claremont Rugby has also advanced to the 15s national Elite Eight or further seven times (2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and the 7s national Elite Eight or further seven times (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020).  During the 2015-16 season, Claremont became the first NSCRO team ever to qualify for both the NSCRO 15s Final 4 and the NSCRO 7s National Championship.

While the on-field success and administrative strides Jeremy has helped facilitate are no doubt important, his greatest influence on the program has been his impact on the players themselves.  From day one Jeremy has emphasized the importance of top-flight leadership at the player level, camaraderie, brotherhood, accountability, and legacy.  He not only preaches these things, but lives them, and it shows in the love his players have for him and for each other.  Therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising that many alums and current players consider Jeremy to be an extension of their families.  He supports his players in all their pursuits – academic, athletic, professional, and otherwise.

Nominate another deserving coach

USD Women’s Virtual Season Champion!

The Coyotes continued their strong performance through the Final Four and won the championship.

Congratulations, University of South Dakota, and well done!

Eden Liebenthal, President of the Women’s Rugby Club commented on the NCR virtual season and the team’s experience, In a climate full of social, physical, and wellness challenges, the virtual season gave us an opportunity to not just survive with a team intact, but thrive and grow by pushing ourselves more than this team has ever before. We are stronger physically, in our knowledge of the game, and in our connection together.

Rounding out the top four were University of Chicago, University of Northern Iowa and Winona State University. Great job showing this pandemic year won’t keep your teams down!

 

NCR Makes Big Addition to our Organization

National Collegiate Rugby has tabbed Pat Clifton as 7s Commissioner. He will be charged with overseeing NCR’s various 7s championships. 

Clifton comes to NCR having spent a decade with United World Sports, the owner and operator of the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship. He also brings more than a dozen years of administrative experience in grassroots rugby, including founding the Gateway Collegiate Rugby Conference, and running numerous 7s events and competitions, such as the Heart of America Classic, Fountain City 7s and Midnight Madness Indoor 7s. 

“College rugby, and in particular 7s, is very near and dear to my heart. It’s a space in which I’ve spent a lot of time and energy, and I’m incredibly grateful to NCR for the opportunity to get back into it,” said Clifton. 

Pat is also a certified and active referee and coach, serving as the director of rugby for the Kansas City Rugby Football Club, which recently founded the first girls high school program in the state of Kansas. 

“I’ve always been impressed with Pat Clifton’s passion for the college game, leadership and his ability to get the job done. I’m extremely excited to get to work with Pat on building the best sevens events in collegiate rugby.” NCR chief executive officer Jeremy Treece said. 

“NCR is leading from the front in a dynamic landscape. They’re blazing a trail. I’ve been very fortunate to work on trailblazing teams in this space before, and I’m excited to join another. NCR is the future of college rugby in America, and I will contribute whatever I can to making it a bright one. I aim to do so by prioritizing the player experience and working backwards from there.”