Northeast Academy Roster for Tobago International Sevens Tournament
December 2, 2015 New York, NY; – Fresh on the heels of its title run at NY Sevens over Thanksgiving weekend, the Northeast Academy is traveling to sunny Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) for the Tobago International Rugby Sevens Tournament. Kicking off Saturday Dec. 5th, this event is developing into one of the classic events on the Academy’s annual circuit. Since 2011, the tournament has grown from just 12 men’s teams representing four countries, to a 28 team men’s and women’s event with clubs from eleven different nation states. Northeast Academy is sending one team in each division to the event, which will be the final Sevens tournament of 2015 for the designated pathway organization.
In the women’s division, Tobago will have two pools of six teams each. Advancing out of the group into Cup contention will mean dealing a blow to one of the pool favorites, the Aptoella Angels (Can) and the Arongatahi Women’s Rugby 7’s (NZ), who won the Las Vegas Invitational’s Open Division last year. Also dangerous in the group are the Nassau Renegades, T&T Police and Venezuela’s National Team-B side. On the other side of the women’s bracket our US compatriots from Atlantis and Scion will be facing the Howlers from Canada, Heidi’s Swifts from the UK, Venezuela’s A side and Team Jamaica. There is no doubt Tobago will be the most difficult tournament the Academy women have played since Elite City last August.
Pool stages spread the talent out a bit wider in the men’s division, with 16 teams in four groups. Day two’s knockout rounds should prove to be the real deal though, with high end rugby on display. The Northeast Academy men are in Group D and are probably the favorites to advance, but they won’t be getting ahead of themselves. They won the tournament in 2013 and then were beaten in 2014’s cup semis by the eventual champion, Esher (UK). They will undoubtedly be considered the favorites in Group A, with Atlantis (USA) a close second. Group B’s Aesculapians (UK) and Group C’s Rugby Quebec, who were defeated in semifinal action by the Academy men last week will also bring their heavy hitters and should top their groups as well.
Answering the bell, Northeast Academy has chosen sides that are a bit more experienced than those at the NY Sevens event. Only one change has been made to the Women 1sts side, with the addition of Nicole Heavirland from Army-West Point. The newly signed OTC resident is an exciting, young all-around talent who already has US National Team experience on her resume. The Men’s side includes five changes to the squad that went undefeated at Randall’s Island last week. All of the men’s additions have significant playing time with the Academy over the past two years, including Eric Duechle of the US Armed Forces World Class Athlete Program and Connor Wallace-Sims, who at only 20 was named the tournament MVP at NY Sevens last week.
The Tobago Sevens is no longer a small tournament on the worldwide radar. With $15,000 of prize money at stake and one of the most beautiful venues you can find this time of year, it’s no wonder why. Tournament organizer Brian Stollmeyer said, “Our aim is to further develop the Women’s Division by adding 4 new teams each year over the next 3 years. We also plan to add a second event – which would include Under 18s – in neighboring Barbados.” The Academy teams in particular have had this event circled on their calendars for a long time. The event’s hospitality and entertainment package is top-notch of course, but so too is the talent on the field. The Academy men want their cup back, and current Head Coach Dom Wareing is keeping the lads focused on what they need to do in training and at rest with their travel day now upon them. The women’s Academy side has also seen consistent improvement since its inaugural event this summer and will be looking to take another large step against the heady competition at this year’s Tobago Sevens event.
Northeast Academy Rosters for the Tobago International Rugby Sevens Tournament:
1.Nate Brakeley (NYAC), 2. Dylan Carrion (Arkansas State & OBNY), 3. Jared Collinson (Mystic River), 4. Eric Duechle (US Armed Forces WCAP), 5. Kyle Granby (NYAC), 6. Marcus Henderson (OBNY), 7. Harry Higgins (OBNY), 8. Rick Kirkland (OBNY), 9. Sean McGarrity (CT Bulldogs), 10. Alex Schwarz (OBNY), 11. Michael St. Claire (OBNY), 12. Connor Wallace-Sims (OBNY) Coaches: Dominic Wareing and Sean Horan
1.Lucy Oswald (NYRC), 2. Rosalie MacGowan (NYRC), 3. Paige Stathopoulos (Boston University & BWRFC), 4. Morgan Roberts (BWRFC), 5. Nicole Heavirland (Army West Point), 6. Danielle Walko-Siua (Notre Dame College & OBNY), 7. Miranda Wakimoto (BWRFC), 8. Tiana Stroughter (NYRC), 9. Sarah Buonopane (Beantown Rugby), 10. Deanna Nash (BWRFC), 11. Lisa Roselin (NYRC), 12. Kat Phelan (Beantown Rugby) Coaches: Tom Feury and Stephen Lewis
The Northeast 7s Academy, with training squads in New York City and Boston, is a National Development Academy that has been sanctioned by USA Rugby as the official Academy (Men & Women) in the Northeast of America and as a designated pathway to the USA Eagles National Team selection. The purpose of the Academy is to identify, develop and prepare Sevens rugby players with the intention of placing ambitious athletes onto the USA National teams and future USA Olympic teams. The Academy will provide athletes with top level coaching, physical preparation, and playing competition to accelerate their personal development as Sevens players in line with current USA Eagles High Performance criteria.