TELES LEADS ELEVEN WILDCATS IN CONFERENCE honors
Bronson Teles' final season in Tucson ends with the Co-Player of the Year award for the conference. (Photo credits: Nikki Adams)
Apr 28- While the College Rugby season was cut short, postseason honors began today as eleven Wildcats have earned individual recognition, tying with Cal for most in the conference.
Leading the teams is the Co-Player of the Year, Bronson Teles. The Flanker from Houston shares the award with fellow back rower Sam Golla of Cal. This year marks the second Wildcat in three years, following in the footsteps of Kyle Rogers in 2018.
-Lock- Billy Esposito- The 6'4" Junior Lock emerged as a major player this season, dominating in the lineout while taking a leadership role in the forwards.
-Flanker- Bronson Teles- Arizona's captain and Co-Player of the Year once again led from the front, leading the team at nearly 19 rucks/game and finishing second in tackle rate (95%).
-Center- Lucas Bartzis- Long one of the conference's most dangerous attacking weapons, his defensive capabilities were on full display this season, leading the team in tackle rate (97%) while leading the backs in total tackles.
-Flyhalf- Robert Figley- In his second year in the #10 jersey, the Junior Flyhalf demonstrated a growing control of the attack, leading the side to over 47 points/game, their highest total in ten years.
-Wing- Kyle Fulton- The first-year starter continued his rise through the ranks as the Junior led the team in tries while continuing to add to his attacking and defensive skills.
-Prop- Raymond Weiner- The USA U18 emerged early as a Freshman and anchored the scrum against some of the nation's best, scoring four tries and providing fans a glimpse in to the team's future.
-Hooker- Christopher McBride- The standout front rower helped steer one of the nation's best lineouts while emerging as a force in the breakdown.
-Lock- James Rivers- The Hong Kong U20 was one of three Freshmen starters, leading the squad in lineout takes and teaming with Esposito to give the Wildcats one of the country's best Lock partnerships.
-Number Eight- Riley Kerr- In his first year as a starter, the Junior from Queensland showed his progress, leading the team in defenders beaten and tackle busts.
-Center- Louis MacLaughlin- The Senior capped off his career with a strong season, partnering with Bartzis to anchor the backline defense and helping lead the attack in a key inside center role.
-Fullback- Jon Rogers- The explosive Junior Fullback held down the #15 jersey and anchored the defense, emerging as a vocal leader in the backline and using his strong kicking game to put teams under pressure.
For the Wildcats, the recognition is a tribute to the team's overall growth, while the youth in the honored players is exciting for the team's future. "First off thrilled for these guys, especially our seniors, but also for a couple guys like Lou MacLaughlin and Jon Rogers who have battled through injuries. I felt a couple more could have earned some praise, with guys like Flanker Ben Scoular doing so much work as an unsung hero this season. But in a year like this, we are proud of our boys and excited to see them all continue to take the next step" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy. "We debated as a conference whether to proceed with these honors but in this season more than any other, it's important to recognize the work of the best players in one of the toughest conferences in the country."
Arizona concluded the pandemic-shortened season in strong form, reaching #10 in the nation and gearing up for what appeared to be another deep run in the D1A playoffs. Looking ahead, the Wildcats return a strong group of starters to go along with their up and coming talent in their reserve sides, while bringing in another deep recruiting class, putting them in strong position to compete again in 2021.