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RugbyNY News & Updates

2023 Patel Scholarship awarded to Orchard Park's Mia Popp

The winner of the 2023 Kamil Patel Memorial Scholarship is Mia Popp of Orchard Park Girls Rugby.

2023 Patel Scholarship winner Mia Popp standing with her coach, Lisa Henrich
2023 Patel Scholarship winner Mia Popp with Coach Lisa Henrich

From Mia's essay,"Rugby means everything to me. I genuinely don’t think I would be who I am today without rugby. I have always wanted to play contact sports. I wanted to wrestle and play football, but my parents never let me and there is very limited opportunity in these sports for women. I had a friend tell me to try out rugby and even though I knew absolutely nothing about it, I attended a practice. From the very first day, I fell in love with it."

"Mia is so devoted to the team on and off the pitch. She is the first to arrive for any community service event - whether it is helping the Town of Orchard Park at Santaland or Winterfest at Chestnut Ridge Park, teaching rugby to local youth and "try rugby" days or setting up baskets at the club's fundraiser. Mia is the type of athlete that every coach wants on a team" - Lisa Henrich, Coach Orchard Park Girls Rugby
Mia Popp running with the ball against Hamburg Rugby
Mia in action vs. Hamburg

Mia will be continuing her rugby this fall at St. Bonaventure University.

Other 2023 Nominees

  • Michael Sample nominated by Matthew Persanis, Head coach Pelham High School

  • Anthony Zambrano nominated by Cynthia Kouril Coach Fresh Meadows Rugby Academy

  • Finn McArdle nominated by Cynthia Kouril Coach-FMRA

  • Jayden Johnson nominated by Robert McGee Head Coach Corning Rugby Club

  • Alex Vega nominated by William Schell Rugby Coach Brooklyn Tech Rugby Club

About the scholarship

The Buffalo Rugby Club and the Patel family have established The Kamil Patel - Buffalo Rugby Scholarship dedicated to honoring the memory of Kamil Patel. The scholarship was created in the spring of 2018 to assist high school rugby players who plan to continue their education in college while playing rugby. Scholarships of up to $2000 are offered each year for full-time study at an accredited institution of the student's choice. Read More


RugbyNY is the governing body for youth and high school rugby in the state of New York. They are a member of USA Youth & High School Rugby's Northeast region and are an officially recognized State Youth Rugby Organization (SYRO) by USA Rugby.

RugbyNY is registered with the New York State Department of State as a not-for-profit corporation and is recognized by the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

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