With a lot of hard work and perseverance, dreams can come true. Just ask Rye High School senior Mike Kamer and his brother Cameron, an RHS sophomore. In September 2013, they appealed to the Board of Ed to sanction a Rye High Rugby Club.
By Melanie Cane
With a lot of hard work and perseverance, dreams can come true. Just ask Rye High School senior Mike Kamer and his brother Cameron, an RHS sophomore. In September 2013, they appealed to the Board of Ed to sanction a Rye High Rugby Club. Despite being turned down, Mike and Cameron created an unofficial club that practiced and competed in a few games last spring. They also continued their tireless efforts to gain Board approval.
On March 10, 2015, the Rye City Board of Ed approved the club by a vote of 7-0. The Kamer brothers said they are excited and relieved that their year-and-a-half-long efforts came to fruition. Mike said, “I’m very pleased with the outcome. Cam and I worked so hard for this, and this year is an unbelievable start to this new program.”
As for what swayed the Board of Ed, “I think the self-sufficient club was the most convincing. Also, we took care of insurance and paid for a trainer to be at all practices and games,” said Mike. The club is completely self-funded. Under the umbrella of the Rye Youth Rugby booster club, they raise funds through the cost of registration, fundraisers, and donations.
Anticipating Board approval, Athletic Director Rob Castagna advertised for coaches within the District and immediately received applications from three excellent and eager respondents.
Lara Vivolo, who also coaches the Boys’ swim team, will head up the coaching, assisted by RHS guidance counselor Jim O’Hara and RMS social studies teacher Jim Rinaldi.
“I fell in love with rugby when I started playing in college at SUNY Cortland, where I had a successful college career,” said Vivolo, a Mamaroneck High School grad. After graduation, I played for the New York Rugby Club from 1999-2010. We won two national championships and numerous Northeast all-star championships, before playing professionally for the USA Women’s national team from 2007-2010. The highlight was playing in the World Cup in 2010 in England,” she recalled.
While Vivolo says she misses playing every day, but when Rob Castagna offered me the opportunity to coach at Rye High, I nearly fell out of my chair from sheer excitement.”
Rye High is now one of only two public high schools in New York (New Rochelle is the other) with an official rugby program. Rye’s club currently has 52 members, 18 of whom are girls, and is anticipating that more will join. The rugby teams will be comprised of Boys’ A and B, and a Girls’ team, which will practice together (except for contact) three times a week. So far, they have seven games on their schedule this spring. Their first is against Keio Academy in White Plains on March 26.