The Rudy Scholz Award has announced its five finalists for the top individual honor in men's D1 college rugby: Nick Feakes of Lindenwood; Vili Helu of Saint Mary's; Jake Lachina of West Point, Connor McNerney of the US Naval Academy; Kyle Rogers of Arizona.
Sponsored by the Washington Athletic Club of Seattle, the Scholz Award is named after Rudy Scholz, who played rugby at Santa Clara, fought in two world wars, and won two Olympic Gold Medals for the USA in rugby, in 1920 and 1924.
In 2016, Dylan Audsley of Saint Mary's was the inaugural winner. In 2017, Bryce Campbell of Indiana won the award.
Those two actually started for the USA together at inside center (Campbell) and outside center (Audsley) in the Americas Rugby Championship this year.
Normally a list of four players, this list was expanded to five because the voting was so close. Fans and the general rugby public were asked to vote for the 10 nominees, and in a separate poll, coaches were asked to cast a vote representing their team's vote.
Those votes were weighed equally (that means that a smaller number of coach votes would have as much impact as a large number of fan votes), but the fans' top vote-getter and the coaches' top vote-getter received automatic spots in the list of finalists.
Nick Feakes, flyhalf for Lindenwood University
Vili Helu, No. 8 for Saint Mary's College
Jake Lachina, fullback/wing/center for Army
Connor McNerney, No. 8 for Navy
Kyle Rogers, fullback for Arizona
A panel of coaches, USA Rugby representatives, and media will select the winner in the next couple of weeks. The winner will be honored at a gala dinner June 9 at the Washington Athletic Club in Seattle.