The local rugby community hosted the first ever Youth Rugby Camp in St. Helena this past weekend.

A little mud didn’t stop more than 30 kids, ages 6-12, to come together and learn a sport highly reliant on teamwork. With the help of outstanding volunteer coaches, the kids were able to learn the rules and gameplay of rugby. With this camp being a “two-hand touch” version of a tackle sport, the kids picked up the rules and the different play style very quickly.

The idea started once the youth soccer season ended in early November. Two under-10 soccer coaches, Danny Brink and Jason Loring, saw that there wasn’t another sport for these kids until basketball season starts in 2020. They realized that there’s not much opportunity, especially in a small town, to play what many consider to be an uncommon sports in an organized setting at a young age.

So, they teamed up with Carson Heywood to give the kids a chance to learn and play the sport of rugby.

With the help of St. Helena Veterinary Hospital and Centric General Contractors, the cost of the camp was free to the kids, and they were able to go home with a camp shirt and their own rugby ball each.

The camp was topped off with The Oddfellows barbecuing burgers and hot dogs for all of the kids and coaches. The event was not organized or run through the Parks and Recreation Department, but instead put on by Brink, Heywood and other local rugby players. They hope to do more similar events in the future.

McClain, Reilly recognized by school board

St. Helena cross country stars Harper McClain and Jordan Reilly were honored by the St. Helena Unified School District Board of Trustees at the board’s meeting on Thursday.

Reilly, a senior, and McClain, a junior, both qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) State Championships two weeks ago. They were the first St. Helena High cross country athletes to qualify for the state meet in over a decade and their appearance marked the first time in school history that two athletes qualified.

McClain further made history by winning the Division 5 state title, the first cross country state title in school history.

Reilly placed 58th out of a field of 200 runners.

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