No lack of talent on Mid-South All-Conference Teams

D1A Rugby: No lack of talent on Mid-South All-Conference Teams
Photo Credit: Steve Zomberg and Connie Hatfield (right)

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – There’s little argument around college rugby circles that the Mid-South is the deepest conference in the country. Each of the five teams are blessed with impressive coaching staffs, and are fortunate to receive more administrative support from their university than the average college rugby team. Still, every Mid-South team is in the Canterbury D1A Top 20 because of the extremely talented players that make up their rosters.

Life University, which won the Mid-South Conference title in undefeated fashion for the fourth consecutive season, leads all teams with seven 1st Team selections and 12 total picks to the All-Conference Teams.

Mid-South All-Conference 1st Team

Chance Wenglewski, prop, Lindenwood: Wenglewski’s selection to the Mid-South All-Conference Team comes a week after the prop was selected for U20 All-American duties for a second year in a row.

Alex Maughan, hooker, Life: A natural prop, Maughan showed his versatility this season by playing hooker, as well. The once-capped Eagle was an All-Conference standout in 2016 too.

Estevan Florez, prop, Life: Like his teammate in the front row, Flores was on the All Mid-South squad last year. He has now started in three National Championship matches, putting in a very solid shift in this year’s lost to Saint Mary’s in the D1A Final.

Mike Islava, lock, Life: Another Running Eagle with loads of starting experience behind him, Islava cracks the All-Conference for the first time for his work in the lineout and toughness on defense.

Chris Schoeman, lock, Lindenwood: Schoeman was doing something right in the engine room this season. The junior from South Africa caught the attention of opposing coaches, and had a hat trick in a win against Davenport.

Blace Walser, loose forward, Arkansas State: The former Division I wrestling has turn himself into a very good flanker. As Arkansas State’s match day captain, Walser led from the front.

Wesley White, loose forward, Lindenwood: The loss of loose forward Wes Parker to injury was less damaging thanks to the emergence of White. Just a freshman, the eight man found the try zone six times in six Mid-South matches.

Maciu Koroi, loose forward, Life: Not just one of the better loose forwards in the conference, Koroi was one of the best eight mans in the entire country. He looked powerful against BYU’s large pack in the D1A Semifinals, and appeared athletic and quick against Saint Mary’s fast forwards in the National Championship game.

Gio Falco, scrum half, Lindenwood: A three-year starter at Lindenwood, Falco makes his first All-Conference Team after providing fly half Nick Feakes with consistently clean ball all season.

Zach Young, fly half, Arkansas State: Pick your poison when it comes to defending Young. He can beat you with his feet or his hands.

Mickey Bateman, center, Lindewood: Not your prototypical crash ball-type inside center, Bateman made for a perfect No. 12 in a Lindenwood backline filled with dangers ball-runners for New Zealander to distribute to.

Harley Davidson, center, Life: An All-Conference flanker in 2016, Davidson returns to the team but as a center. A downhill runner with a burst, Davidson struck fear in defenses.

Sam Cowley, wing, Life: Cowley officially removed himself from the shadow of his All-American older brother. The junior scored 60 points during the regular season.

Harley Wheeler, wing, Life: The Running Eagles are blessed to have a pair of standout wings. Wheeler, a former football player, has speed to burn but you get the sense he’d prefer to run over his opposite number.

Brady Gent, full back, Davenport: Gent was consistently superb during an inconsistent season for the Panthers. Capable of playing several positions, Gent’s ability to attack the line is well-suited for full back.

 

Mid-South All-Conference 2nd Team

  1. Toma Ghattas – Lindenwood
  2. Brian Muntanga – Life
  3. Tanner Pope – Arkansas State
  4. Thomas Cheslek – Davenport
  5. Alexander MacDonald – Life
  6. Justin Johnson – Life
  7. Jason Damm – Clemson
  8. Dominique Bailey – Davenport
  9. Ryan Rees – Life
  10. Nick Feakes – Lindenwood
  11. Preston Weigel – Arkansas State
  12. Dylan Goulding – Clemson
  13. Sione Fangaiuiha – Arkansas State
  14. Cristian Rodriguez – Lindenwood
  15. Mitch Wilson – Life

Forward of the Year – Maciu Koroi, Life:
The former Junior All-American has all the tools. He can run, pass, tackle and plays the game the right way. There was a reason the Running Eagles made sure to get Koroi 12-15 carries a game.

Back of the Year – Mickey Bateman, Lindenwood:
Bateman has played a few different positions during his time in St. Charles, MO, but had his best season wearing the No. 12 jumper for the Lions. He didn’t fill up the stat sheet as vigorously as some of his teammates, but he was still the best performer in a Lindenwood backline loaded with talent.

Player of the Year – Harley Davidson, Life:
Davidson epitomizes the Life Rugby program. He’s a hard-working player capable of playing a number of positions, and he does the little things right. The All-American will be missed when he departs Marietta, Ga. after a remarkable career at Life, but Davidson’s impact will likely carry-on due to the number of underclassman who gained something by watching him operate.