Youth Olympic Games Rugby Sevens teams announced

Youth Olympic Games Rugby Sevens teams announced

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee announced the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team to compete at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Monday, July 7.

Twelve men and 12 women have been selected to represent the U.S. in China in Rugby Sevens, the first time the sport will feature at an Olympic Games since its inclusion on the Games Program in 2009. All players were born during 1996 or 1997.

Eleven of the 12 men selected have been members of the USA Rugby Boys High School All-Americans, who have successfully toured Europe and South America in the past two years in both the sevens and 15s code of rugby. Junior Helu, Vili Helu, Sione Masoe, Malcolm May, Suwaiter Poch and Jojo Tikoisuva have been named to the BHSAA squad for this month’s tour of Argentina.

All-time IRB HSBC Sevens World Series points-scorer Ben Gollings will coach the men’s team at the Youth Olympic Games, while BHSAA Head Coach Salty Thompson will serve as the team leader.

“It’s always going to be hard with only 12 spots available and it’s been a tough selection process,” Gollings said. “Good players are going to miss out, but we have the players to do the job.

“The Youth Olympic Games is a great opportunity for those involved and will be a great stepping stone with the Rio Games around the corner.”

Men’s and Women’s Eagles Sevens Assistant Coach Richie Walker was named head coach of the women’s Youth Olympic Games team and will be assisted by Team Leader Kellie Cavalier. Highlighting the women’s roster are selections from the 2013 and 2014 Regional All-Star Tournaments, the USA Rugby AIG Women’s Junior All-Americans’ 2014 regional camps, last year’s Stars and Stripes Camp, and multiple USA Rugby Academy camps powered by Serevi.

“I was very excited to talk to national coaches, club coaches, school coaches, parents, and even teammates of players I had to choose for the team that will compete at the Youth Olympic Games in China,” Walker said. “There were a lot of great girl rugby players to choose from, which is great for the sport in the U.S., but also made my job very hard as a selector.

“Some of the girls on the team, like Tess Feury and Richelle Stephens, have been invited to camps at the Olympic Training Center with Women’s Eagles Sevens Head Coach Ric Suggitt. There are some girls who are High School All-Americans, some are from some of the best teams in the nation who compete at nationals, and we have had girls who have played with great sevens clubs like Tiger Rugby, Atlantis, and Serevi Selects.”

The U.S.’s men’s team will play a round-robin competition with Argentina, Fiji, France, Japan, and Kenya Aug. 17-19 before the Finals are played Aug. 20. The women’s team will follow the same timetable with Australia, Canada, China, Spain, and Tunisia.

Both teams will arrive in China Aug. 12 and stay throughout the entirety of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Following the tournament, the teams will engage in a series of cultural events wrapped around Olympic ideals and support other American athletes in competition.

Coverage of the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team can be found at TeamUSA.org and Twitter.com/USOlympic utilizing the #2014YOG hashtag.

Click here to view a complete roster of the 2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team.

2014 Youth Olympic Games – By the Numbers

  • 3,800+ athletes
  • 204 National Olympic Committees from all five continents
  • 222 medal events
  • 28 sports, 30 disciplines
  • 13 competition days
  • 27 competition venues

2014 U.S. Youth Olympic Team – Notes

  • 94 athletes (48 males, 46 females)
  • 22 disciplines across 20 sports
  • 34 athletes speak a foreign language, including two who speak Chinese – Laura Zeng (rhythmic gymnastics) and Lily Zhang (table tennis)
  • 30 states represented (by hometown); California leads with 26 athletes, followed by Florida (8) and New Jersey (7)
  • 28 high school graduates

The YOG Effect

  • Table tennis player Lily Zhang previously represented Team USA at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She is the first American to compete at the Olympic Games prior to competing at the Youth Olympic Games and the 10th U.S. athlete to compete at both versions of the Games. Other U.S. athletes include:

Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games > London 2012 Olympic Games:
Ariel Hsing (table tennis)
Miranda Leek (archery)
Alex Massialas (fencing)
Savannah Vinsant (gymnastics)

Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games > Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games:
Aaron Blunck (freestyle skiing)
Summer Britcher (luge)
Sean Doherty (biathlon)
Arielle Gold (snowboarding)
Tucker West (luge)

Family Ties

  • Long jumper Rhesa Foster is the daughter of two-time Olympic hurdler Robert Foster, who represented Jamaica at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games
  • Men’s 800-meter runner Myles Marshall is the son of John Marshall, who represented Team USA in the same event at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games
  • Rugby player Sione Masoe is the nephew of three-time Olympic boxer Maselino Masoe (1988, 1992, 1996)
  • Fencer Sabrina Massialas is the daughter of three-time Olympic fencer Gregory Massialas (1980, 1984, 1988) and the sister of 2012 Olympic fencer Alexander Massialas, who represented Team USA at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
  • High jumper Janae Moffitt is the daughter of Latrese Johnson-Moffitt, who was an alternate for Team USA in the high jump at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games
  • Swimmer Courtney Mykkanen is the daughter of Olympian John Mykkanen, who at age 17 claimed silver in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games

About the Youth Olympic Games:
The Youth Olympic Games are an international multi-sport event held in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee that take place every four years consistent with the current format of the Olympic Games. The Youth Olympic Games are designed to integrate sport with education and culture, inspiring participants to live by the Olympic values and become ambassadors of Olympism. The Nanjing 2014 Games will run from Aug. 16-28, with an expected 3,800 athletes from 204 nations. The sport program will encompass all 28 sports that will be featured at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For more information on the Games, visit Nanjing2014.com.


U.S. Youth Olympic Games Women's Rugby Sevens Team

NameHeightWeight (lbs)Age (as of 7 July 2014)Hometown
Tess Feury5'6"14018Denville, NJ
Haley Langan6'0"16518South Burlington, VT
Appau Mailau5'7"16217Salt Lake City, UT
Michel Navarro5'5"14717Fallbrook, CA
Dana Olsen5'3"12818Fort Collins, CO
Tiffany Person5'8"13517Alexandria, VA
Emily Prentice5'7"13516Kent, WA
Kat Ramage5'4"14617Ledgewood, NJ
Becca Jane Rosko5'3"11716Dillon, CO
Richelle Stephens5'7"13517Fallbrook, CA
Danielle Walko-Siua5'0"12518Hilo, HI
Whitney Wilson5'4"12717Kingwood, TX

U.S. Youth Olympic Games Men's Rugby Sevens Team

NameHeightWeight (lbs)Age (as of 7 July 2014)Hometown
Cian Barry5'8"15118Point Lookout, NY
Hanco Germishuys6'1"21517Omaha, NE
Brian Hannon5'10"18017Indianapolis, IN
Junior Helu6'0"20018Union City, CA
Vili Helu6'4"23318San Ramon, CA
Sione Masoe6'0"18518Garden Grove, CA
Aaron Matthews5'9"18517Irvine, CA
Malcolm May6'1"21518Chicago, IL
Suwaiter Poch6'0"22517Hilo, HI
Tyler Sousley5'1"19018Osceola, IN
Austin Taefu5'7"16117Phoenix, AZ
Jojo Tikoisuva5'11"17618Sacramento, CA
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