In this week’s episode of our informational live series ‘The RATL Roundup,’ Rugby ATL invited three more members of our Summer Residency to share their backgrounds with the game, and their first encounters with the professional environment here at Rugby ATL. For episode twelve, VPO Kevin McCorry got to sit down and chat with Kyle Peter of Western Washington University, Dez Maiava of Western Michigan University, and Gordon Smilanich of Central Washington University, to talk about their experience with camp before its conclusion.
Kyles Peter’s background before rugby was mainly in football and wrestling, though he tried as many sports as possible when he was a kid. He first started playing rugby in his sophomore year of high school, when he never thought that he would end up playing college rugby. He was actually committed to play college football, but through the concerted efforts of the coaching staff at Western Washington University, Kyle found his courage and made the jump.
Dez Maiava was born in Hawaii, and also had a background with football and wrestling, picking up rugby in his last year of high school. He got to Western Washington University through the dedicated effort of his coach in high school to push him to the next level. With it being only his second year in the sport, this camp has served as a catalyst for him, in honing his skills and bearing witness to the professionalism required to succeed in the game as a professional.
Gordon Smilanich has played the game for a lot longer than his fellow peers that sat at the panel, starting before he entered high school, now entering his second year in college at Central Washington University. His presence in such an established program has been mutually beneficial, as he’s learned from seasoned rugby minds like head coach Todd Thornley. That wealth of experience has fostered his development through his first year with the team, and following this camp, Gordon sits poised to return to his club and deliver for his program through his athletic performance.
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