Pelham Examiner

Pelham varsity rugby program sets players up for athletic success

North Westall carried the ball for St Bonaventure University.

North Westall carried the ball for St Bonaventure University.

North Westall carried the ball for St Bonaventure University.

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Since it became a varsity sport in 2015, Pelham rugby has proven itself to be a remarkably successful program, claiming two state titles and sending almost two dozen graduates on to play for college programs.

“Pelham rugby has produced a significant number of college rugby players,” said Matt Persanis, the rugby director. “Each year, Pelham has sent players off to play significant roles on their college teams. Some of these players were highly recruited and offered scholarships, some joined the team when they got there, but many are making a big impact. These players are now starting for their college teams.”

Luke Persanis, who is the son of the varsity coach and now plays for the University of Delaware, is one of many Pelhamites who have earned honors and scholarships for their talents as rugby players. In high school, Persanis was captain of his team for three years, a two-time state champion and a three-time New York State All-Star. On the national level, he earned USA High School All-American Honors twice. Persanis also played for a U.S. team against Canada and for Atlantis Rugby, an all-star team encompassed of players from all over the U.S.

“Playing for Pelham, a very good high school program, gave me an advantage that many other players did not have,” said Persanis.

In his senior year of high school, Luke was recruited and received an athletic scholarship to play at the University of Delaware. In the 2017-18 school year, he was a starting player in every game. Persanis was selected to play in the College Rugby Championships on ESPN and was recently named vice captain at UD for the coming school year. In addition, he has been recommended for the USA College All-Americans.

Majoring in public policy with a minor in conservation, Persanis is part of the honors program at UD.

“Professionally or not, continuing to play the sport I love as long as I possibly can is my ultimate goal,” Persanis said.

Pelham Rugby players who have gone on to play in college include:

2015 graduates

Josh Quinn, Lindenwood University

Harry Fanning, Tulane University

Henry Brown, St. Lawrence University

Andres Samulio, Roger Williams University

2016 graduates

North Westall, St Bonaventure University

Kevin Ndou, Penn State University

Joe Nelson, Columbia University

Ryan Killeen, University of Delaware

Riley Burke, Iona College

Matt Scampoli, University of Binghamton

Morgan Collins, University of Delaware

J.T. Perez, Arizona State University

Moriyah Tulloch, Canisius College

Jake Galiani, University of Delaware

Cian Burns, University of Albany

2017 graduates

Luke Persanis, University of Delaware

Moises Soto, Franklin and Marshall College

Sam Louman, Washington and Lee University

David Monaco, Fordham University

Michael Kenny, Fordham University

About the Writer
Ella Stern, Politics Editor

Ella Stern is a rising senior at Pelham Memorial High School. She is a captain on the varsity track and field team, an avid member of several clubs, and associate features editor on the high school’s newspaper The Pel Mel. Ella thoroughly enjoys reporting and is excited about the launch of the student-run Pelham Examiner.

1 Comment

One Response to “Pelham varsity rugby program sets players up for athletic success”

  1. Mike Dolen on July 24th, 2018 10:32 am

    The Pelham Rugby team seems to be doing a great job promoting itself. I often hear of scholarship opportunities associated with the promotion of Pelham Rugby. What I was looking for in this piece was a more in depth comparison;how many scholarships versus other sports in Pelham? A comprehensive list of student athletes by sport would be a start.

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Pelham varsity rugby program sets players up for athletic success