BOULDER, Colo. – Now that the Mid-South and West have both reached their midway points in the 2014 season, it is time to recognize players around the country who have been playing at a high level, as well as hand out some midseason awards.
Midseason Forward of the Year:Angus MacLellan – Davenport
An All-American in 2013, MacLellan spent the past summer in Australia and fall in Ireland improving his game. The hard work has shown, as MacLellan has been more than a handful, even for the formidable front rows of the Mid-South.
Midseason Back of the Year:Joe Cowley – Life
This was a coin toss between Life’s flyhalf and Garrett Brewer of Saint Mary’s. Brewer has more experienced weapons around him, which makes Cowley’s job that much more difficult.
Midseason Coach of the Year:JD Stephenson – Lindenwood
The nod for Coach of the Year could have easily gone to Tim O’Brien of Saint Mary’s or Dan Payne of Life. After all, the two coach the top two ranked teams in D1A after losing multiple All-Americans due to graduation. However, Stephenson has seamlessly guided Lindenwood into its inaugural D1A season after taking over for Ron Laszewski.
The Lions were expected to go through the growing pains of joining the country’s best conference, but they’ve exceeded expectations. While still looking up at Life and Arkansas State in the standings, Lindenwood gave both teams all they could handle after 80 minutes. The Lions are playing with a ton of confidence, and that is in great part due to the belief that Stephenson has instilled throughout his talented roster.
Midseason’s 1st Team All-D1A
Jake Anderson, Lock – Life: Scored two tries in Life’s opening match against Arkansas State, and provides muscles behind a strong front row.
Jackson Bristol, Number Eight – Air Force: The All-American and captain of the Zoomies is having another tremendous season. Most recently, he put in a hat trick against Colorado.
Connor Cook, Lock – Arkansas State: Missed the Red Wolves’ match against Davenport, but was arguably the team’s best forward in its first two Mid-South matches.
Harry Higgins, Lock – Arkansas State: One of Head Coach Man Delabatkiki’s most reliable players on a team that has plenty of consistent performers.
Paris Hollis, Prop – Life: Plays with strength from his prop position, but also versatile with ball in hand as he showed at the College 7s National Championship.
Stephen Karas, Prop – Colorado State: On a Rams team that lacks size, Karas provides Colorado State with plenty of punch in the scrum.
Jermey Leber, Hooker – Lindenwood: The young front rower has not backed down from his stiff competition, and brings swagger to the confident Lions.
Angus MacLellan, Prop – Davenport: The Panthers are winless in the Mid-South, but not because of its play upfront. MacLellan is one of the best props in the country, and a big reason why Davenport has been so successful in the scrums.
Glen Maricelli, Hooker – Life: Maricelli might just be the most valuable unit in the three-headed monster that is Life’s front row.
Kevin O’Connor, Number 8 – Saint Mary’s: Equally valuable on offense and defense, O’Connor has had several huge games this spring.
Tamatasi Paogofie-Buyten, Flanker – Lindenwood: Has size, athleticism and skills. One of the many young, good players on Lindenwood’s roster.
Shaun Potgieter, Number Eight – Arkansas State: The All-American is a monster on defense, and probably the Red Wolves’ most valuable player.
Ryan Pratt, Prop – Saint Mary’s: Brings size and physicality to a Saint Mary’s team that is often unfairly noted for its ball-handling and team speed.
Gabe Sochanek, Hooker – Davenport: A returning All-American for the Panthers, Sochanek is a key unit to one of the best packs in the country.
Zach Walker, Prop – Life: While Hollis and Maricelli are more dynamic in the loose, Walker is the sturdy anchor at tighthead, and his hard work earned him an invite to a recent Eagles camp.
Sondai Adjei, Center – Davenport: Just a freshman, Adjei has a good combination of size and speed. With Mike Houston now back from injury and playing inside center, Adjei will see even more opportunities to exploit defenses.
Michael Al-Jiboori, Flyhalf – Oklahoma: The most explosive player in the ARC, Al-Jiboori has scored seven tries in three conference matches.
Dylan Audsley, Center – Saint Mary’s: With injuries limiting Bubba Jones’ playing time, Audsley has stepped up as a runner as well as the Gaels’ go-to guy when kicking to the posts.
Garrett Brewer, Flyhalf – Saint Mary’s: Another recent invitee to the Eagles domestic camp, Brewer can do it all: run, pass, tackle and contest in the air.
Will Campuzano, Center – Cal Poly: The Mustangs’ most dangerous offensive player, Campuzano is also an aggressive defender. The freshman plays like a seasoned upperclassman.
Dylan Carrion, Scrumhalf – Arkansas State: The Red Wolves’ backline took a major hit when Zinzan Elan-Puttick suffered a season-ending injury, but Carrion continues to be a consistent performer for D1A’s No. 3-ranked team.
Joe Cowley, Flyhalf – Life: The Running Eagles’ co-captain has been on the Men’s Eagles’ radar for a number of years. Has a strong, accurate boot that has helped guide No. 2-ranked Life to multiple wins.
Kyle Dunne, Center – Santa Clara: Not only has Dunne scored a number of tries for the undefeated Broncos, but he has dotted down late in matches to seal key victories.
Sean Kilfoyle, Scrumhalf – Colorado: Mr. All-Everything for Colorado. When the Buffs’ scrummy is not scoring tries, he is setting up teammates to reach the in-goal. Kilfoyle also handles the kicking duties for the first place team in the West.
Kalei Konrad – Flyhalf – San Diego State: A solid runner, gifted passer and team leader, Konrad is best known for an effective foot in the loose.
Kingsley McGowan, Center – Saint Mary’s: In a backline full of potent weapons, McGowan is the most dangerous.
Wesley Mitchell, Flyhalf – Texas Tech: The Red Raiders are one win away from the ARC crown in large part to Mitchell’s play. Against Texas A&M, the flyhalf accounted for 25 points.
James Poli, Center – Lindenwood: Gabe Farley’s participation with the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans opened the door for Poli to have a bigger role on the team, and he has taken the opportunity and is running downhill with it.
Lunaile Tshuma, Fullback – Lindenwood: With national team experience already under his belt playing for his native Zimbabwe, Tshuma is a smooth runner and accurate kicker.
Stormy Weiss, Fullback – Baylor: On a team lacking upperclassmen, Weiss was the senior leader for the youth-driven Bears.
Midseason’s 2nd Team All-D1A
Dominique Baily, 8 Man – Davenport
Dom Bisogni, Prop – Arkansas State
Jayce Crowder, Hooker – Oklahoma
Chris Frazier, Flanker – Texas A&M
Facundo Gatica, Number 8 – Oklahoma
Sebastian Kalm, Number 8 – Lindenwood
Daniel Kramer, Flanker – Lindenwood
Mickey O’Crowley, Hooker – Cal Poly
Tim O’Hara, Lock – Santa Clara
Michael O’Neill, Hooker – Saint Mary’s
Anthony Oreglia, 8 Man – UC Davis
Jake Poliakoff, Hooker – San Diego State
Luke Sauser, Lock – Saint Mary’s
Austin Tijerina, Prop – Lindenwood
Dino Waldren, Prop – Saint Mary’s
Mason Baum, Wing – Davenport
Dale Bates, Wing – Arkansas State
Gavin Brown, Wing – Arkansas State
Reece Czarnecki, Wing – Davenport
Luke Engelhaupt, Center – Colorado State
Sione Fangaiuiha, Center – Lindenwood
John Holmgren, Wing – Santa Clara
Taylor Honnette, Flyhalf – Cal Poly
Calvin Johnson, Center – Air Force
Alex Knowles, Scrumhalf – Wyoming
Cooper Maloney, Fullback – Saint Mary’s
Joey Reavey, Scrumhalf – Saint Mary’s
Takura Tela, Center – Life
Brian Wanless, Center – Colorado
Bobby Watkins, Center – Wyoming
Alex Asturias, Scrumhalf – UC Santa Barbara
Christian Bempong, Wing – Sacramento State
Michael Cunningham, Fullback – Santa Clara
Robert Dowlearn, Wing – Texas A&M
Pete Hamm, Number 8 – Baylor
Travis Haugen, Number 8 – Sacramento State
Tom Haussrer, Fullback – Arkansas State
Mike Houston, Center – Davenport
Sam Jacobs, Prop – Wyoming
Connor Kissler, Flanker – Colorado
Kyle Kulka, Center – Texas Tech
Kolton Nelson, Wing – Lindenwood
Michael Madrid, Flanker – Texas Tech
Blaine Mcllroy, Flyhalf – Life
Gavin Moscone, Hooker – Colorado
Nick Prudhomme, Flyhalf – Wyoming
Joe Rippe, Flyhalf – Air Force
Mikey Sanders, Wing – Life
Zach Savage, Center – Colorado
James Summer, Center – Santa Clara
David Talley, Prop – Texas Tech
Jean-Claude Trublet, Flanker – Colorado
Tyler White, Scrumhalf – Life
Brendon Winbrock, Scrumhalf – San Diego State