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Mount makes men’s rugby program a premier team sport

Staff report
Frederick News Post

Mount St. Mary’s University promoted the men’s rugby program from a club program to premier team sport status, a commitment that involves making Mount head coach Jay Myles a full-time university employee, providing scholarships and increasing the program’s budget.

mount-rugby-jay-myles.jpgUnder Myles, the team won the 2016 National Small College Rugby Organization’s national championship. Since then, the program has moved into the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference, a Division I-AA conference under USA Rugby. The Mount finished second in its inaugural season in the conference in 2016-17.

In addition, the 7s team competed in and won the Philadelphia region of the Collegiate Rugby Championship to qualify for the 2018 National Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s tournament in the Premier Division.

In elevating the program to premier status, the university is committing more resources to the program through operating funds and scholarships, which will come through alumni contributions. The addition of scholarships will allow Myles to recruit and develop some of the best rugby athletes in the country. The increased budget will permit the program to grow its roster to have three competitive sides. The roster-building process began in 2017, when the team added 20 freshmen.

Myles, who has been a part of Mount rugby for 20 years, is the first full-time “on staff” coach of the program, which began in 1973.

Since 2014, Myles has focused on developing the team into a more cohesive unit and building a strong reputation. Myles’ coaching staff has implemented team weight lifting sessions, more structured practices, discipline and dedication to the team and a focus on community service.

“This has helped the team become more cohesive, which aids them during matches,” Myles said.

Myles’ players are committed to honing their rugby skills. For several years the team has benefitted from the professional, international coaching staff of Global Rugby Group, led by Neil Tunnah.

Last summer, six Mount ruggers and assistant coach Tyler Myles traveled to Ngongotaha, New Zealand, to train for two months. The trip, organized by Dean Wharekura, a native New Zealander who is head coach of the Baltimore-Chesapeake Rugby Football Club, allowed the players to learn a looser and free-flowing yet faster and harder Southern Hemisphere style of play.

Staff report
Frederick News Post