GCU PREVIEW: JUNIOR VARSITY LOOKS TO START YEAR STRONG AGAINST THE LOPES

 

Arizona JV vs Grand Canyon JV

Saturday, October 1st

Grand Canyon University

2:00 PM

 

 

Number Eight Charlie Harden starts in the back row for the Wildcats after a strong performance in the Developmental Side's victory  over UTEP last month.

Sept 29- Arizona's Junior Varsity kicks off their season this weekend and they have named the side that will travel to Phoenix to take on Grand Canyon University JV on Saturday.

 

The Wildats' Second XV will feature a team of mostly Freshmen, with a number of players selected from last month's 50-15 Developmental Side victory over UTEP. Captaining the side then and this weekend is Hooker Zach Biggs, a player that has impressed early with his ability and his approach. "Zach's been such a great addition to the program in a number of ways" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "and this includes his ability as a young Hooker, a very crucial and difficult position and one that he's really excelling at."

 

Joining Biggs in the Forwards is group of strong, athletic players, with a front row pairing of Props Cody Hunt and Reed Hirshman. At Lock, Carter Harris and Zachary Knobbe-Hewitt provide a big, strong duo. In the Back Row, Patrick Evans, Zach Heisterkamp, and Charlie Harden provide an exciting look in to the future of the program. "This is the deepest our program has been since I've been here, and nowhere is that seen more than in the Forwards where guys are really starting to turn the corner" said Duffy. "This Lock combo of Harris and Knobbe-Hewitt is a pair of high workrate guys in the engine room that I'm looking forward to seeing."

 

In the backline, the Freshmen pairing of Calvin Brannon and Kristian Sanchez moves up from the Developmental Side together, where they're joined by Centers Doug Neary and JT Perez. On the outside, the explosive group of Luke Thayer, Hadleigh Tucker, and Korbin Miller all make their debuts as Wildcats. "This is exciting for this back three group and Perez because it's their first time wearing the jersey. Thayer, Tucker, and Miller have demonstrated a great deal of pace and athleticism early this year so we're looking forward to seeing what they can do against another team for the first time" said Duffy.

 

In the reserves, a number of talented players are ready if called upon, with Hooker Jake Van Order, Prop/Hooker Chris McBride, and Prop Karl Steffany providing front row cover. High school teammates Eddie Wood and Chris Napoli (Back Bay RFC- CA) line up as reserves at Lock and Flanker, respectively. In the backline, halfbacks Thomas Villalobos and John Chang make the side along with Center Lucas Bartzis and Center/Wing Luke Vakasisikakala

 

For the Wildcats, this will be the debut for a number of players, and the season kick off for their second side, also known as the Junior Varsity or Second XV. This JV player pool will embark on a challenging three game set the next few weeks, as they take on Arizona State JV and Northern Arizona University in Tucson following their battle with the Lopes. "The goal of this is twofold: number one to introduce our youngsters to Arizona Rugby, and what it means to wear the Block A and how they play thanks to those that came before them. Number two, to develop them using matches against high quality opposition for our all-important Spring season" said Duffy. 

 

Not lost on the Wildcats are the Arizona connections on the GCU sideline, as Head Coach Ryan Kelly and Assistants Merrick Firestone and Adam Muszyinski all are Arizona alumni. GCU is a D1-AA program who competes in the Gold Coast Conference, and has become a great addition to the Wildcats' yearly schedule. Arizona got the better of their in-state foe last year in all three contests, winning their preseason clash as well as the teams' Spring matches.

 

 

 

GCU Lineup (click for bio)

1. Cody Hunt

2. Zach Biggs (C)

3. Reed Hirshman

4. Carter Harris

5. Zachary Knobbe-Hewitt

6. Patrick Evans

7. Zach Heisterkamp

8. Charlie Harden

9. Calvin Brannon

10. Kristian Sanchez

11. Luke Thayer

12. Doug Neary

13. JT Perez

14. Hadleigh Tucker

15. Korbin Miller

--

16. Jake Van Order

17. Christopher McBride

18. Karl Steffany

19. Eddie Wood

20. Chris Napoli

21. John Chang

22. Lucas Bartzis

23. Luke Vakasisikakala

24. Thomas Villalobos

 

 

 

 

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