It's boasted to be the biggest rugby party of the year. As the fifth stop on this year's HSBC Sevens World Series, the world’s best rugby players will br invading Las Vegas for three days where 16 countries will play 44 matches, and ruggers from all over the country to come together to party and watch games. If you are not lucky enough to be able to trave this year, you can at least catch the games on NBC this weekend. I know a lot of people who are heading out to Nevada this weekend for fun and rugby but I also had the chance to speak with two people who will be playing in the games.
Peter Tiberio is from Naperville and attended Waubonsie Valley High School. Tiberio started playing rugby in college after being an active athlete in high school. He had a few friends in high school who played rugby and tried to get him to play, but it wasn't until his first year in college where he found that University of Arizona had a team and decided to give it a shot. It turned out that he was a n excellent player and is excited to be playing this weekend in Vegas in front of family and friends, as recent games have been over seas. Tiberio told me that being a part of the Las Vegas 7s is a great experience for USA rugby and growing the game throughout the country.
I was selected to my first USA 7s camp after playing for U of A, southern California all star team, Tempe, and the collegiate all Americans. I just kept playing well for each team and saw more and more opportunities open up. It's hard to say what I'm looking forward to most with the Vegas 7s. Every part of it is exciting to think about. I'm most excited about playing in front of my home crowd. It's going to be an amazing experience playing in front of so many family and friends. The whole U of A rugby program with be there as well, that is very exciting to think about.
Peter Tiberio has also been selected to be a part of the USA Olympic Training facility. For the first time this has allowed the team to train together full time throughout the season. Tiberio believes it will pay huge dividends to the USA team's game since in the past the team would have only had a week together before tournaments. Being able to train together will help the team in so many ways as they'll really get to grow and know their teammates. The Olympic Training Center is a dream for another Chicagoan, Malcolm May.
Malcolm is just 15 years old and is headed to Vegas for his first time to play with the USA Rugby team. Malcolm began playing his freshman year of high school at St. Ignatius College Prep. He is now a Junior at St. Ignatius and is looking to make rugby a part of his search in college choices. Malcolm was scouted for the USA camp after playing for the Illinois Tornadoes during a Midwest Tournament. I talked with Malcolm and his mother Angela about this weekends games. Malcolm says
I am really excited about the Vegas 7's tournament. It's amazing how just one year ago I was in Vegas watching the 7's tourney and now I'm going to be in Vegas playing in the 7's.
Malcolm will also be traveling to England with the USA U-19 Team and is excited as it will be his first time out of the country and told me it's been his dream for sometime to do that. Traveling to Vegas and internationally can be hard on a student as well as on the parents. Angela Miller-May, Malcolm's mother, told me that every day she feels overjoyed and overwhelmed by her son's accomplishment as a young teen.
I am so excited for Malcolm. He has found something that he excels at and is very passionate about. Not to mention that he will follow in my shoes as a St. Ignatius graduate. He is an outstanding athlete and student, but I am most proud of the man that he is becoming, An All-American. Wow.
The traveling has been a little stressful in that he is only 15 and it's still hard for me to even let him out of my sight, out of the neighborhood, out of the city and oh my god, out of the country. It's more of a challenge emotionally for both me and his father. He's growing up so fast. It is also challenging financially in that either my husband or myself want to accompany Malcolm and also remain just as present and a 110% involved in Malcolm's brother, Nicholas, activities.
St. Ignatius has been helping Malcolm with making sure he gets all of his assignments and arranging his class work with his teachers. The school has also helped him financially, with some people donating to his travels as well as his team organizing a fundraiser to get him to the next level of play.
So an you are either watching the games live in Vegas or watching them this weekend on NBC keep an eye out for your friends in teh crowd and these two Chicago men playing their hearts out to advance the sport of rugby!
Tags: 2016 Olympics, Argentina, Australia, BBC, Brazil, Canada, chicago, england, Fiji, france, japan, Kenya, Las Vegas, malcolm may, Naperville, NBC, New Zealand, olympics, party, peter tibero, rugby, Samoa, scotland, South Africa, St. Ignatius College Prep, Uruguray, USA, USA Rugby, wales, Waubonsie Valley High School