In a country full of home-runs, three pointers and the cherished hole-in-one, there is a lot of debate as to what sports are more popular than others. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), rugby is currently the nation’s fastest growing team sport in the United States, and it is taking off successfully in the state of Maryland.
North Bay Rugby, a local club rugby team with players from Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties, competes within the state for pre-season games, league games, friendlies and for nationals in their post-season schedules. North Bay Rugby is comprised of a men’s team as well as high school boys and girls’ teams. The club originated in 2000 and began with only eight players. 17 years later, North Bay has over 90 players throughout the various teams that compete in the Rugby Maryland League.
Ellen Hickey, North Bay Rugby’s Youth and High School Commissioner stated, “We have experienced so much success at North Bay. We had five players that have played at an international level. Our high school girls team is ranked top 20 in the nation and our boys team is ranked top 50. Our boys team also traveled to Ireland in 2007, 2010 and 2014 to train, compete and tour the country. All of the players who went with us tell us it was one of the greatest experiences of their lives.”
Hickey also stated, “Each year we award a $1,000 scholarship to a boy and a girl rugby player. We have raised and awarded over $17,000 in scholarships to previous players who have gone on to distinguish themselves on their respective collegiate rugby teams.”