The Navy men’s rugby team is celebrating the selection of Lewis Gray and Ben Haugh as nominees for the 2023 Rudy Scholz Award. This annual honor, presented by the Washington Athletic Club, is given to the top men’s college rugby player in the United States.

Gray and Haugh are among 15 players nominated for the award, which will be narrowed down to four finalists by a panel of experts. A public vote will choose the winner and will be announced at a gala event hosted by the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, Washington on June 10.

Credit: U.S. Naval Academy

“We sincerely hope one of our nominees can follow in the footsteps of previous Rudy Schulz recipient, Conor McNerney, captain of our 2018 team,” said director of rugby Gavin Hickie. “It is an honor and just a reward to have two Navy rugby players nominated for the Rudy Schulz Award.”

Lewis Gray, a senior, has been a scoring machine for Navy’s undefeated season. He leads the team in tries scored, conversion kicks, and points scored. Gray was named First Team All-Rugby East and finished as the top scorer in the conference during the fall season. He also led the league with 25 conversion kicks and was the only player in Rugby East play to score at least 100 points in the fall. Hickie praised Gray’s consistent performances, noting that he sets a high bar for himself and the team.

“I believe Lewis is the best collegiate player in the country this year,” added Hickie. “He has been the heartbeat of our team and his consistent performances have been key to our team’s success.”

Ben Haugh, a junior, is Navy’s second-best try scorer with 13 tries and ranks third on the team in scoring with 65 points this season. He earned first-team distinction from Rugby East and finished second in the conference with nine tries scored. Hickie noted Haugh’s impressive ball carrying and defense and said that he continues to develop into a dangerous player for the team.

Gray or Haugh could become the first Mid to win the award since Conor McNerney in 2018.

Rudy Scholz, for whom the award is named, was a scrum half for the United States National Rugby Team that won gold medals at the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games. He also served in both World Wars and played professional rugby while serving as the Secretary for the Northern California Rugby Association. Scholz played his final game at 83 years old, making him the oldest player ever to play competitive rugby. The award for the nation’s best men’s rugby player was named after him in 2015.

2023 Rudy Scholz Award Nominees
EJ Freeman, Arizona
Tiaan Mosconi, Army
Ollie Corbett, Brown
Taysan Hammer, BYU
Wyatt Parry, BYU
Max Schumacher, California
Alex Null, Davenport
Isaiah Kruse, Fresno State
Peyton Wall, Indiana
Orrin Bizer, Life
Nic Hardrict II, Lindenwood
Lewis Gray, Navy
Ben Haugh, Navy

Sean Moran, Notre Dame
Joe Marchant, Saint Mary’s

Rudy Scholz Award Winners
2016: Dylan Audsley, Saint Mary’s
2017: Bryce Campbell, Indiana
2018: Connor McNerney, Navy
2019: Harley Wheeler, Life
2020: Payton Telea-Ilalio, Saint Mary’s
2021: Emmanuel Albert, Lindenwood
2022: Larry Williams, Army

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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