TWO CATS IN TO INTERNATIONAL DUTY


 

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EJ Freeman heads to the Netherlands to represent the USA, while Ted Champion recently wrapped camp with Canada. (Photo credits: Catherine Regan, Todd Packer

July 8- Two of Arizona's brightest young stars have caught the eyes of national team selectors at the Under-20 level as Ted Champion and EJ Freeman head out on international duty. 

 

Freeman, a rising Junior and last year's Mark Shively Award winner as the team's Freshman of the Year, heads to Amsterdam with the USA as they take on Belgium (July 9), Czech Republic (Jul 13), and the Netherlands (Jul 16). The athletic openside Flanker and Sedbergh School (UK) graduate from Frankfurt, Germany was a key part of the Wildcats this season, earning first team All PAC-12 and also adding Sevens to his resume, helping the Wildcats to a Cup round finish at National Championships.

"EJ is an interesting guy that approaches the game differently than some. He thinks through his own development but also thinks how he can bring his teammates along and make them better. That's what leaders do. I'm excited to see him play on the international stage again and then bring that experience back to Tucson next month" said Director of Rugby Sean Duffy.

 

Champion, a rising Sophomore from Haliburton, Ontario is a story of perseverance this season having overcome injuries to make a major impact late in the year, emerging as a starter in the Sevens National Championship run. The 6-2, 205 pound former Shawnigan Lake School standout recently completed camp with Canada, earning selection for the coming test series in August where they will take on Zimbabwe, Uruguay, and Portugal. 

 

"Ted's work to come back from injury and not just become a reliable player but also one of our growing leaders speaks to his character. To build on that and represent us so well in Canada then make the side means that others are starting to take notice of what he's capable of and we're thrilled to see that" said Duffy.

 

Champion and Freeman are just two of a number of athletes to earn recognition in the weeks since the season ended. If not for injury, the Wildcats would have another heading to Amsterdam as Wing Jacob Broselle's strong season earned him an invitation to the USA under-23 side. Senior Wing Kyle Fulton recently earned a call-up to USA Falcons camp, the development side one step below the Senior Men's National team, while Lock James Rivers featured in last week's Collegiate Rugby Shield on Fox Sports. Rivers and Freeman were joined by Hooker Zach Barker in the All PAC-12 side, giving the Wildcats three forwards to build around in 2023.