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Bender Called Up for NZ Sevens
CHULA VISTA, Calif. -- Garrett Bender has been added to the squad traveling to New Zealand for the fourth leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series on Feb. 3-4, replacing Matt Hawkins on the traveling squad. The team will train in New Zealand for the week leading up to the tournament.
Bender is one of the 11 athletes currently contracted to train full-time at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. New Zealand will be his first international sevens tournament.
Bender is a former linebacker from St. Cloud State University but has a rugby background, winning the Minnesota High School state championship his senior year of high school in 2010. He was an outstanding football player in high school, recording 101 solo tackles in his senior year.
Recently he played for the Eastside Banshees in the 2011 Emirates Airline USA Rugby Men's Club Sevens National Championship. His performance attracted the attention of national team selectors, and put him on the path to receiving a full-time contract.
The USA team will play South Africa, England, and the Cook Islands in Pool B in New Zealand.