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Citadel News Service
24 Feb 2017

Three Citadel Rugby players to compete on national level with U.S. Army

By Regimental Public Affairs Officer Alexandria Guild, with Amie Parris, Graduate Assistant, OCM

Citadel Rugby Cadets

Cadets from The Citadel’s rubgy team will venture to Las Vegas, Nevada to compete on the national stage with the All-Army 7’s team from March 5-7. The All-Army 7’s Team is the cadets’ opportunity to try-out for the team and gain experience with a higher level of play. The three cadets selected for the prestigious opportunity include Ricky Tavarez, Michael McGaffic and Austin Bannister.

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Cadet Ricky Tavarez

Ricky Tavarez, a senior in Papa Company, has been playing for The Citadel’s rugby team since the second semester of his sophomore year, picking it up quickly and becoming a key player as a back for the team. A member of the National Guard and a criminal justice major and Spanish minor from Manhattan, New York, Tavarez plans to work for the federal government after graduation. “I am speechless and so proud to represent The Citadel on a national stage,” said Tavarez. “We’re here to compete, and put The Citadel on the map.”

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Cadet Michael McGaffic

Michael McGaffic, a junior in Mike Company, has been playing rugby for five years and started for the team his freshman year at The Citadel. He initially played as the scrum-half and became the back captain during his sophomore year at The Citadel. A civil engineering major from Manassas, Virginia, upon graduation McGaffic plans to commission as a Black Hawk pilot for the National Guard. “The opportunity to travel to Las Vegas and to represent The Citadel is exciting,” said McGaffic. “I will be combining two of my favorite things: the Army and rugby.”

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Cadet Austin Bannister

Austin Bannister, a senior in F-troop, started playing rugby for The Citadel his freshman year. He thought rugby looked like a challenging sport. He plays as a lock for the team and his favorite part about the sport is running the ball. As a criminal justice major from Dacula, Georgia, he plans to become a State Trooper after graduation.

Lt. Col. Bell is Hotel Company’s TAC officer and the coach for The Citadel’s rugby team. He has been coaching since 2001 and has been the head coach since 2003. After finishing the 2016 7’s season as the SoCon champions, Bell is looking forward to the strong competition they should face this year with a good chance at a repeat performance as champions. “It’s an amazing opportunity to improve personal skills and highlight what we’re doing with The Citadel’s rugby team,” said Bell.

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