Rugby America

Rugby News & Views From an American Perspective

Atlantic Coast Names All-Conference Teams

Greensboro, NC — April 22, 2011 — Six University of Maryland players, including freshman Matias Cima who was named Atlantic Coast Rugby League Co-Player of the Year, headline the inaugural All-ACRL First Team announced today. Cima is joined by University of North Carolina senior Alex Lee as conference Co-Player of the Year.

After Maryland’s six first team selections, North Carolina, Virginia, and Virginia Tech followed with two first team selections apiece. The conference’s head coaches chose the All-ACRL teams.

Coaches were permitted to vote for only one of their own players. The conference announced an All-ACRL First Team, Honorable Mention All-ACRL, and an ACRL All-Academic Team.

Former University of North Carolina head coach Mike Groenewald was named the 2011 Atlantic Coast Rugby League Coach of the Year. Groenewald, who wasn’t even on the ballot after having to step away from his coaching role after the first game of the league season, was a write-in vote by six of the conference’s nine head coaches. No other coach received more than one vote.

After defeating University of Maryland in the only ACRL match in which Groenewald coached the Tar Heels this season, Carolina ran off five more victories to finish the regular season in first place with a 6-0 record.

ACRL Commissioner Patrick Kane said of the conference naming Groenewald Coach of the Year, “I think the other coaches recognized that even though Coach Groenewald wasn’t on the sidelines for most of the season, North Carolina’s success was directly attributable to those kids having been coached by Mike for the last 18 months. He instilled in them the desire and ability to succeed, and the fact that they were able to come together after his unexpected departure and run the table was evidence of how great of a job he had done in molding these young men into a team.”

The 2011 Atlantic Coast Rugby League season will conclude on Saturday, as #6 North Carolina (6-0) rematches with #10 Maryland (5-1) in the conference championship game in Charlotte, NC. The ACRL Championship is presented by World Rugby Shop, adidas ®, and the Charlotte RFC.

The game features a total of 13 players named to either the All-ACRL First Team or Honorable Mention. The winner will advance to the USA Rugby Division I Round of 16 next weekend in Bowling Green, OH to face #4 University of Florida.

The Atlantic Coast Rugby League is not endorsed by, affiliated with, or sponsored by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

ACRL Co-Players of the Year: Alex Lee, North Carolina; Matias Cima, Maryland

ACRL Coach of the Year: Mike Groenewald, North Carolina

First Team All-ACRL

  • Prop: Sage Winn, Fr., Maryland
  • Prop: Jacob Rierson, Sr., North Carolina
  • Hooker: John Curtin, Sr., Virginia
  • Lock: Keith Sneddon, So., Maryland
  • Lock: Ron Pelkey, So., Virginia Tech
  • Loose Forward: Alex Lee, Sr., North Carolina
  • Loose Forward: Matt Pace, Jr., North Carolina St.
  • Loose Forward: Richard Hwang, Sr., Maryland
  • Scrumhalf: Tyler Thompson, Jr., Clemson
  • Flyhalf: Matias Cima, Fr., Maryland
  • Center: Matt Heitzer, Jr., Virginia Tech
  • Center: Julian Henderson, Jr., Virginia
  • Wing: Trevor Tanifum, Jr., Maryland
  • Wing: Matt Reilly, Fr., Maryland
  • Fullback: Johnny McMurray, So., Wake Forest

Honorable Mention All-ACRL

  • Prop: Abe Harman, Jr., North Carolina St.
  • Prop: Ty Pierce, So., Wake Forest
  • Hooker: Tyler Mattler, Sr., Clemson
  • Hooker: Nate Young, So., Georgia Tech
  • Lock: Walter Thorne, Sr., Virginia
  • Lock: Ben Mohar, Jr., North Carolina
  • Loose Forward: Robert Whelen, Sr., Georgia Tech
  • Loose Forward: Greg Moye, Jr., North Carolina
  • Scrumhalf: John Davis, Fr., Maryland
  • Scrumhalf: Rory Makhema, Fr., Duke
  • Flyhalf: Gregor Maclennan, Jr., North Carolina
  • Center: Evan Rose, Sr., North Carolina
  • Center: Phil Burcal, Sr., North Carolina St.
  • Center: Ryan Tacon, Fr., Wake Forest
  • Wing: Evan Burch, So., Virginia
  • Wing: Robbie Anthony, Fr., Clemson
  • Fullback: Brett Keyes, Sr., Virginia Tech

ACRL All-Academic Team

  • James Landau, Clemson, Jr., Electrical Engineering, 3.78 GPA
  • Jason Liao, Duke, Jr., Public Policy, 3.68 GPA
  • Alvin Chen, Georgia Tech, Sr., Mechanical Engineering, 4.0 GPA
  • Brandon Mosiman, North Carolina State, Sr., Civil Engineering, 4.0 GPA
  • Alik Belokopytov, North Carolina, So., Mathematics and Economics, 4.0 GPA
  • Hamilton Craig, Maryland, Jr., Government and Philosophy, 3.92 GPA
  • Jeff Perkowski, Virginia, Sr., Economics and Financial Mathematics, 3.906 GPA
  • Dave Wisda, Virginia Tech, So., Aerospace Engineering, 3.95 GPA
  • Brandon Turner, Wake Forest, Jr., Biophysics, 3.86 GPA
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5 comments on “Atlantic Coast Names All-Conference Teams

  1. Young
    April 22, 2011

    It is interesting to see the number of freshmen and sophomores on this list. Definitely evidence of how the high school game is feeding the college game with quality players. Maryland obviously finally started to reap the benefits of the vibrant youth rugby programs in the DC area.

  2. Andy Richards
    April 22, 2011

    All the ACRL teams are benefiting from HS rugby programs one way or another.

  3. But still
    April 22, 2011

    Good point Andy, but Maryland has a unique opportunity being located smack in the middle of some of the most competitive HS rugby leagues on the east coast. Of course there’s Gonzaga in DC, but the MIAA in the Baltimore metro area is littered with quality teams and players ever year. As more of these players start funneling into UMD each year, I think they’ll continue to stay competitive year in and year out. I feel like other ACRL teams in the south don’t have the same influx of talented high school players, but hey I could be wrong.

    • Flex
      April 22, 2011

      Completely true about maryland, probably 75% or more of the team played in high school. Definitely helps to have a big connection to gonzaga, but also a fair amount of MIAA kids, SJC, and the u19 teams around md are putting out talent.

      Helps to not have to deal with the universal problem of kids who pick up the sport in college and might become a quality player by senior years.

    • Young
      April 22, 2011

      Maryland definitely has the best ability to recruit-affordable state school with realistic admission hopes for many players in a hotbed of high school rugby. NC State gets the most players from the NC high schools for same reason. Clemson will start getting very good recruiting classes as the high school rugby in SC grows and their coach is very connected with the Eagles age grade programs.

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2011 by in College Rugby, Collegiate Men, Featured, Rugby News.
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