It was a dream come true for Michael Reid of the Warrenton Wolfpack Rugby Club, when he played for the USA High School All American Team at the Las Vegas 7s International Tournament Feb 12-13. For the All Americans this is their first venture into sevens rugby and the start of their program aimed ultimately at the 2016 Olympics.
“I got to meet a whole bunch of people with a lot of new talent. The first day was a training day and about just getting to know each other,” said Reid, a scrum half from Purcellville who attends Wakefield School, and is originally from South Africa. “Over time we became a family and had a lot of fun — which is what rugby is all about.”
The USA team defeated the Dog River Howlers of Canada, 10-5, to win the Age Grade Elite 7s championship. The All-Americans came from behind to score its two tries late in the second half.
“It was a lot of fun. Really intense,” said Reid, who was cheering on his team when he wasn’t playing. “When I was on the sidelines, I was having twice as much fun as the guys on the field.”
For videos from the All-American games or information about the Wolfpack, which draws its players from Fauquier, Culpeper, Rappahannock, Prince William and Loudoun counties, visit the Wolfpack Rugby Web site or Facebook page.
Reid has been training physically and mentally to play for the USA team for several months. He was selected as an All American in July last year at the age of 14 and named to the team in January, after the Winter Selection Camp in Santa Barbara, California in late December. Even at a young age, he has proven himself on the field while competing among players who are normally 17 and 18 years old.
“Michael is very young,” said Eric Tabor, team manager for the All-Americans. “He has been competing against players three years older than him and he has represented himself very well.”
The Wolfpack coaches have also been impressed. “I’m very proud of his playing for the All-Americans,” said Warrenton Coach Greg Hicks. “He scored a try and he made some saving tackles. He’s got a ways to go, but he will certainly be a starter on that team.”
As team captain of the Wolfpack, Reid, now 15, can bring back his experience for the benefit of his teammates, many who have been with him for the past four years. He contributes with drills he learned from the USA club which expects all players to have a solid grasp of rugby fundamentals.
“This certainly makes our program legitimate,” said Hicks. “We have the many facets of training to give these kids opportunities if they are committed to rugby.”
The HSAA program is designed to help find the best players in the nation as part of the USA Rugby’s elite player pathway. The program also allows for selection flexibility in terms of player age.
The selection staff normally observes players at the seven Regional All-Star Tournaments. Players can also be nominated by individual coaches to the HSAA coaches or the age grade director. Forty five players were chosen to attend the winter camp. Michael Reid and Jack Mcauliffe from Gonzaga College High School were the only two to be invited from Virginia. The next All-American competition will be in South Africa in July.