USA Rugby officially announced today the changes to the structure of the 2008 High School National Championships as part of a long term transition to reshape the high school rugby game in America. The goal of the reorganization is to support the development of rugby as a mainstream high school sport.
The changes for 2008 include the creation of a Boys High School Championship for single high school teams, and a Boys U19 club championship for multi-school teams. There will be an eight team competition for participant teams whose players all attend one school and an eight team competition for teams with players from multiple schools or U19 Club teams. The participants on the U19 Clubs must still be enrolled in high school and follow all current eligibility regulations.
Another major change for 2008 includes the introduction of a Girls Under-19 Championship for high school players. The addition of the U-19 Girls Championship reflects the growth in the game and quality of play at the Girls U-19 National Invitational Tournament. The Girls U-19 Championship will include an eight team bracket with TU seed representation to be determined. As the game for girls develops and more single high school teams are created, USA Rugby will add a High School Championship similar to the boys.
“The strategic goal for USA Rugby is to have rugby formally recognized and supported by High Schools,” said Peter Steinberg, Age-Grade Manager for USA Rugby. “The new championship structure will support this goal by encouraging the formation of single high school teams, while allowing multi-school club teams to continue to compete. The end of the transition will include separate tracks for high school and club teams so the game can be as inclusive as possible.”
The original date for the 2008 High School Championships was announced as Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26th, 2008. However, there were major concerns about travel implications of hosting an event on this weekend, and following a vote of the Territorial Union Presidents, the date of the Boys & Girls High School & U19 Championships has been officially changed to June 6 - 8, 2008.
USA Rugby will partner with the Pittsburgh Harlequins and Visit Pittsburgh as they will act as first-time hosts for this event at Founders Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association has organized and staffed inner-city youth mentoring programs in the Pittsburgh region for the past 12 years and represent over 500 currently active players, coaches, mentors and volunteers, most of which will contribute to providing the best possible experience for both players and spectators alike during the Championship weekend.
“It is with great pride in what the Harlequins have accomplished in the Pittsburgh community and for rugby in the U.S., that we accept the invitation to host the 2008 High School/U-19 Girls and Boys Championships,” Matt Rosemeyer, Director of Operations for the Pittsburgh Harlequins said. “I think the mission statement of our association – ‘For the youth of our community, for the love of the sport’ -- is a testament to what everyone can expect from the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Club.”
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