The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Announces Finalists for Its 4th Annual Life of Significance Award, to Be Presented at the 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship

Nation's Top College Rugby Sevens Squads Compete June 1-3 at Talen Energy Stadium in Philadelphia

The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company has announced the 21 finalists for the 2018 Life of Significance Award, which will be presented during the upcoming Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, set for Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3, at Talen Energy Stadium in suburban Philadelphia.

The 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is set for Friday, June 1, through Sunday, June 3, at Talen Energy Stadium in suburban Philadelphia.  Reserved and field-level tickets to the “World’s Largest Collegiate Rugby Festival” are available online at Single-day reserved tickets are $90 and field-level tickets are $63, and full weekend reserved tickets are $132 and field-level tickets are $79.

Each year, Penn Mutual presents the Life of Significance Award to a collegiate student-athlete participating in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship to honor the values of both the rugby community and Penn Mutual. The contenders exemplify notable values – such as integrity, respect and loyalty – not only on the rugby pitch but off as well by serving as a mentor, giving back to the community or working with a charitable organization.

The genesis of The Penn Mutual Life of Significance Award comes from the book, “Living a Life of Significance” by Joseph Jordan, which focuses on how the life insurance industry positively impacts society.

Following are brief highlights about the nominees:

  • Abraham Asante, The Claremont Colleges, from Newark, New Jersey, faced adversity from his earliest days growing up in a single-parent household in Ghana. After his mother remarried and moved his family to the United States, his stepfather passed away. Abraham quickly stepped up to help raise his two sisters. He delayed graduation by a year to improve his grades, was accepted to Pimona College and has become a leader and support system for the rugby team.
  • Nick Carey, Harvard University, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has traveled throughout the United States each summer since middle school serving underprivileged communities. He has worked with Meals-on-Wheels, volunteered with a special education gym class, assisted in the development of a peer counseling program for Orphans in Swaziland and spent this spring break on a relief trip to Puerto Rico working with Mar Azul to rebuild the community of Arecibo after the devastating hurricane.
  • Scout Cheeks, Pennsylvania State University, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is known for her true sense of integrity. Scout spent her spring break building homes with Habitat for Humanity and has participated in other humanitarian efforts.
  • Matthew Crowe, Iona College, from Malverne, New York, serves as the Campus Minister at Iona College and organizes 30 students a month to do a Midnight Run in NYC that distributes clothes and food to the homeless. A leader of Iona College Life Talk, he's had Mariano Rivera come on campus multiple times to discuss faith, attracting members from different religious groups. Matt is a participant in My Fellow Campus Ministers which initiates projects that deal with helping orphans, retired priests and the elderly and has organized an event for Iona Rugby in which players helped children, whose parents are incarcerated, with their schoolwork.
  • Riley Curtin, Boston College, from Malvern, Pennsylvania, spent the last academic year working at James Otis Elementary School in Boston. Every week, Riley would devote an entire day there to spend time with the kids during lunch, play with them during recess and teach them subjects to help them become successful, productive and responsible citizens in society.
  • Mark Dombroski, Saint Joseph’s University, from Media, Pennsylvania, was nominated in Memoriam due to the lasting impact he had on the community. Mark died tragically this spring during a rugby tournament in Bermuda and the response from the rugby community was indicative of his quality of character and charm. Mark spent time volunteering for Habitat for Humanity helping improve the lives of others and left a lasting impact on those around him.
  • Jonathan DiBacco, California Maritime Academy, from San Pedro, California, has worked with Hands of Mercy for the past 11 years, building hundreds of homes for those without in Ensenda, Mexico. On campus, he is a leader in InterVarsity helping students cope with college struggles.
  • Caring De Freitas, Lindenwood University, from Caracas, Venezuela, faced poverty and oppression throughout her childhood and despite this, became the youngest player to reach the Venezuela National team. Working two jobs to pay for school at Lindenwood, she finds time to balance her academic requirements and rugby commitments and still manages to volunteer with local groups like Girls on the Run and Rookie Rugby in St. Louis. De Freitas has also participated in “Rugby Para Todos” or “Rugby for All,” which takes rugby to severely impoverished neighborhoods in her native Venezuela.
  • Tess Feury, Penn State University, from Morristown, New Jersey, is an active member of THON, a student-run philanthropy group at Penn State committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer. Their yearlong effort culminates in a 46-hour dance marathon, one in which Tess danced all 46 hours straight to raise money for the cause.
  • Gardy Lebon, United States Naval Academy, from Greenwich, Connecticut, is a leader for the Navy Rugby team on and off the pitch. Gardy spearheads all the fund-raising initiatives with the Midshipmen and organizes their charity commitments, including the Travis Manion Foundation where he recently spent the day teaching young kids to play rugby.
  • Marc Lerebours, Endicott College, from Norwalk, Connecticut, was raised by a single mother and is the first member of his family to attend college. He's currently on the verge of obtaining his M.B.A degree from Endicott's graduate school and is the epitome of a student-athlete, exemplifying maturity, respect, sportsmanship and a high level of character wherever he goes.
  • Jesse Linsenmeyer, Mount St. Mary’s University, from Glenelg, Maryland, has organized team service work with local children’s hospitals, Pennies for the Poor and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes. Every night, he returns home to attend to his ailing grandmother and is often an outlet for his teammates that are struggling because of his focus on others.
  • Timothy Marra, Christendom College, from Clifton Park, New York, spent his last two spring breaks on mission trips to the Dominican Republic and Peru, spending time rebuilding homes and improving community infrastructure. He also participates in Sports Are for Everyone (SAFE) where he helps disabled children learn and play baseball.
  • Patrick McMahon, University of Notre Dame, from Oakton, Virginia, has been captain of the Notre Dame Rugby team for the past three seasons. Known for his kind nature and genuine leadership skills, Patrick’s impact on the rugby team has been felt on and off the pitch.
  • Elizabeth Pittman, United States Naval Academy, from Garner, North Carolina, was involved with Relay for Life, volunteered at YMCA and participated in mission trips to New Orleans and Virginia that served underprivileged communities and helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Upon arrival at the Naval Academy, Liz continued to give back by participating in Wreaths Across America and Girls on the Run.
  • Jason Riekena, Life University, from Missoula, Montana, was introduced to rugby by his brother Jack. Jason and his family suffered a tremendous loss when Jack committed suicide at age 15. Jason turned his grief into a passion for building suicide prevention awareness by creating the annual Jack Riekena Memorial Rugby 7s tournament in his hometown. In its fourth installment, the tournament raised $8,000 towards suicide prevention.
  • Raaqim Rispress, United States Military Academy, from Columbia, South Carolina, earned the Lt. General Hal Moore Award, which is given to two cadets who closely exemplify the characteristics of Lt. General Moore, who led the 7th Cavalry Regiment into combat during the Vietnam War. Known for outstanding work ethic, Rispress spent two years on a mission trip in Mozambique and after returning has taken initiative to mentor younger cadets.
  • Cristian Rodriguez, Lindenwood University, from Hawaiian Gardens, California, used rugby to remove himself from a dangerous area and establish a life at Lindenwood University. He has worked with the Alternative to Gangs Membership Program (ATGM) to help kids from his neighborhood avoid going down a bad path. After graduation, he plans to return and get involved with the group more extensively.
  • Earl Smith, New Mexico Highlands University, from Las Vegas, New Mexico, has been volunteering at a local nursing home spending time with elderly. He has also spent time at Corner Stone church helping with the youth at bible study where has been mentoring kids about life and been a positive force for good.
  • Robert N. Waterman, United States Air Force Academy, from Highland Park, Texas, set an example of perseverance and dedication by remaining a positive force on the team despite suffering from cancer. In 2017, he took precious time off to accompany a young lady with cerebral palsy to her senior prom back in his hometown. Serving as an eagle scout, he helped complete a landscape project for a therapeutic horseback riding center and has volunteered with the Special Olympics and other charitable organizations.
  • Isayah Young-Burke, Susquehanna University, from New York, New York, is a talented member of the University Choir and an active member of the Black Student Union, advocating for racial equality and social justice. Isayah serves as a liaison to student government, participating on several committees to address student and faculty concerns related to residential life and dedicates at least 25 hours a semester to serving the Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, community.

The chosen recipient will be recognized at the 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, and upon winning the award, a $5,000 contribution will be made to a charity of the athlete’s choice. The winner’s college rugby program will also receive $1,000 in Rhino Rugby gear for equipment needs.

The 2018 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship will be televised live by the ESPN family of networks and will feature the most television and digital coverage in the tournament’s history.

The three-day rugby event is one of the largest gatherings of collegiate and high school rugby teams in the world. Penn Mutual is in the fourth year of a title sponsorship for the event.

This year marks the eighth consecutive year that the event has been held in Philadelphia and at Talen Energy Stadium. The annual event features not only the nation’s top 24 men’s collegiate rugby 7s teams but also the top 16 women’s teams, as well as the Freedom Cup regional competition with a six-team field vying for a spot in next year’s main bracket. Action also includes the National Small College Rugby Organization national championship and a national high school tournament with both boys’ and girls’ teams.

The interest in Rugby Sevens (also known as Sevens Rugby) continues to grow after the return to the Olympic Games in 2016, following a 92-year hiatus. The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship is America’s national sevens championship and serves as the centerpiece of a nationwide effort to build American rugby talent for competition on the international stage. Over the past eight years, the event has produced over 31 players who have gone on to play for the U.S. National teams.

About United World Sports:

United World Sports (UWS) is the largest commercial rugby entity in the United States and the owner and operator of a growing portfolio of dynamic sports, media and apparel brands, including the USA Sevens Rugby international tournament, the largest professional rugby event in North America, the Silicon Valley Sevens, an elite international championship, and the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship, the premier college 7s rugby championship. Through its apparel division, UWS owns the exclusive North and South American license for Rhino Rugby, one of the world's leading rugby apparel and equipment brands. UWS also owns and operates, the largest and most widely read media destination dedicated to American rugby. Additional information is available at

About Penn Mutual:

Since 1847, Penn Mutual has been committed to helping people live life with confidence. At the heart of this purpose is the belief that life insurance is central to a sound financial plan. Through our network of trusted advisers, we are dedicated to helping individuals, families and businesses achieve their dreams. Penn Mutual supports its advisers with retirement and investment services through Hornor, Townsend & Kent Inc. Registered Investment Advisor and wholly owned subsidiary. Member FINRA/SIPC. We are proud to work together in a values-driven and relationship-based culture. Visit Penn Mutual at

Media Contacts:

Joe Favorito, 201-746-0005,

Jim DeLorenzo, 215-266-5943,

Source: Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship

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