It felt like a November Saturday morning in Colorado for the sixth and final day of the RugbyTown Crossover Academy’s inaugural camp.

The chilly, blue-bird morning was the perfect way to top off a camp that was a resounding success. While several players had travel arrangements that prevented them from participating in the final day of the camp, the energy from the 21 remaining players didn’t suffer and they capped on their week with a lighter, more fun practice to finish off the week.

With the rapidly-changing COVID restrictions preventing the camp from finishing with a scrimmage, the players remained in their three small groups and played a handful of fun conditioning games instead. The games focused on the lessons that were instilled throughout the week.

Players that attended the first-ever RugbyTown Crossover Academy camp are included below.

  1. Addie Brown
  2. Cameron Marshall
  3. Charles Okeze
  4. Chase Stehling
  5. Dan Herlihy
  6. Dan Stone
  7. DaQuan Patton
  8. Darryl Tolson
  9. David Bond
  10. Daytwon Sheridan
  11. Ed Paris
  12. Franklin Agbasimere
  13. Garrald McDowell
  14. Gelen Robinson
  15. Jarrell-Arell Patterson
  16. Kyle Abrom
  17. LaDarius Gallaway
  18. Line Latu
  19. Malik Bryant
  20. Mandel Dixon
  21. Michael Bandy
  22. Nathaniel Hney II
  23. Norvel Stewart
  24. Ryan Cloud
  25. Sam Taylor
  26. Stephen Bowers
  27. Tre Smalls
  28. Zach Nelson
Mandel Dixon rests after a drill at the RugbyTown Crossover Academy’s November camp. (Photo: Justin Purdy)

You won’t find one member of Glendale’s rugby department that will say that the camp was anything but a smashing success. It was a feat to reach out to as many players as they did. You could argue that this initiative was a success when they started getting people to agree to come give the camp a try.

With around 30 driven, open-minded players in attendance, they were able to put on a safe camp that helped these elite athletes catch the itch for rugby.

That’s what American rugby needs and Glendale has proven that their model can work. Now, the attention shifts to the next move. Of the 30 players that attended the camp, 24 have expressed interest in coming back for an extended program during the spring. Before that, the department is organizing one-off workouts to continue to build up the program throughout the coming months.

From my perspective, everything about the camp was awesome. The athletes at this camp were unlike any I had seen on the rugby pitch before, and it was fun to watch them fall in love with the sport.

It was also fun to watch them leave their comfort zone to learn something new. Not only is it rare for people to do that, but it’s also rare to give someone like me a front-row seat to watch it all happen and then talk to me about it afterwards.

I’m excited to see where this program goes over the next few months and into the spring, and I think once people see the progress, they will be excited too.


Colton Strickler is a Colorado guy through and through. He is a Wheat Ridge Farmer and a Colorado State Ram. He has been involved in the Colorado rugby community in some capacity since 2011. He was Major League Rugby's lead writer in 2018 and 2019 before joining DNVR Rugby.