EXPERIENCE AND ATHLETICISM IN ARIZONA SEVENS POOL
Shane Dempsey '17 is one of 10 returners from last year's CRC team that will focus on Sevens this Fall.
Sept 16- Arizona has announced the preliminary Sevens pool for the Fall 2016 preseason with several returners back on campus from the team that finished 3rd at the Collegiate Rugby Championships in June. All but two players from that team return, while a number of players join the training squad in the initial player pool. This year's pool also features an influx of youth, as some of the Wildcats top Freshmen from their 2016 recruiting class are named to the squad.
In the returners, Seniors Shane Dempsey and Bryce Mantell start their final years for the Wildcats, with each having participated in the last two CRC campaigns. Kyle Rogers, a 2016 Second Team All American Sevens player joins Ben Joseph and Jake Rice in the junior class, where they're joined by the 6'4" pair of Ryan Hudson and 2016 USA Under-20 Sean Coleman. "I've been really impressed with our big men" said Head Coach Sean Duffy "both Ryan and Sean have been good in the air but just as important have really bought in to the grueling pace and their attitudes are top notch." Rounding out the class is key playmaker Jonah Eldridge, one of the country's fastest rising stars in their Sevens platform.
In the youngsters, a number of last year's strong freshmen return, with all having featured in last year's CRC run. Two New Yorkers (Xavier HS) return to the fold in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jack San Pietro, while Lou MacLaughlin, Matt Rogers, and Garrett Walker all are named after strong first seasons in Tucson. This year's initial pool features eight freshmen, as they have quickly picked up the program and been selected for the squad. In the forwards, Anton Grigoriou (CA), Jake Hedge (AUS), Zach Heisterkamp (OH), Ben Scoular (UK) and USA Under-20 Bronson Teles (TX) are named to the training group. In the backline Korbin Miller (GA), Luke Thayer (CA), and Hadleigh Tucker (BM) are selected. "This is a strong freshmen class, perhaps one of the strongest I've ever seen, and in sevens they're showing their skills" said Duffy "in addition a number of them are able to contribute in both the backline and the forwards like Grigoriou and this is a great time to get reps in both areas as they develop."
The Wildcats' selection criteria was rigorous, but Duffy pointed to the critical Fall fifteens games and training as being the pathway for players not initially selected to work their way in. "It's an exciting but competitive time to be a sevens player at Arizona, as we have more matches in Fall then we've ever had and that means more opportunities for players to show they deserve to be training with our Sevens group. We've moved players in and out each year and this will be no different" said Duffy. In addition, injured players could feature later in the year, with talented athletes such as Wings Jeremy Fleet and Dante Weeks returning over the course of the Fall and Flanker Sam Peri returning in Spring. Duffy will be assisted on the Sevens staff by former captain Jack Arnold, who has proven critical to the Wildcats' success both as a player and now as a coach.
The Wildcats will kick off their Sevens preseason Oct 22-23 in San Francisco at the West Coast Sevens before hosting the PAC Rugby Sevens Championship at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson Nov 12-13. More information on the weekend, including ticketing and hotel packages, are to be revealed shortly.
ARIZONA SEVENS PLAYER POOL