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Alex Rayton has quickly established himself as a key piece in the Wildcats young Forwards. (Photo Credit: Nikki Adams).

Sept 19- Arizona Rugby announced a very special award winner today as Alex Rayton is the 2018 recipient of the Lauren Townsend Award. The award is bestowed upon the Freshman each year who achieves the highest grade point average. "Very proud of Alex and the work he's put in on the field but more importantly in the classroom" said Head Coach Sean Duffy.

Rayton, a blindside flanker from Woodlands HS (TX), is currently a Pre-Business major in the Eller College of Management with hopes of pursuing a degree in Management & Information Systems. A former HS All American, Rayton has also showed great promise on the field as one of the many up and coming young Forwards in the program. Upon graduation Alex hopes to work with computers, possibly in the oil industry. 

The Lauren Townsend Award has been an Arizona Rugby tradition for 19 years, starting in 2000 with Eddie Miguel. The recipient is selected to honor the daughter of alumnus Bruce Beck. Lauren was a valedictorian of the class of 1999 at Columbine High School, an honor she received posthumously after her death. Lauren was one of thirteen murdered at Columbine on April 20, 1999. Last year's winner, Zach Biggs, along with 2016's winner Garrett Walker have continued to shine in the classroom since their recognition the past two years.

"It is an honor to receive this award in honor of Lauren Townsend. Maintaining a healthy balance between academics, atheltics, and social life has always been very important to me so it is very meaningful for me" said Rayton. "Rugby has been an important part of my life since I started six years ago, and it has helped build my character to make me the man I am today and has taken me all over the world."

"This is a special part of our program, and we're honored to keep Lauren's memory alive with this award. We were blessed to have Bruce speak to the team last year and they came away with a great deal of respect and reverence towards this tradition and Lauren's memory" said Duffy. 

Rayton and the Wildcats currently are in their preseason with both Sevens and Fifteens programming preparing them for the 2019 season. 

Lauren Townsend Award winners

2000- Eddie Miguel

2001- Jonathan Straka & Kyle Hoertz

2002- Justin Kunz

2003- Hamed Beytollah

2004- Matt Buppert

2005- Matt Stewart

2006- Sal Bonnano

2007- Tim Moxness

2008- Jason Fass

2009- Michael Haley

2010- David Rader

2011- Cody Naber

2016- Garrett Walker

2017- Zach Biggs

2018- Alex Rayton

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