After a year in which everything stopped, an exciting new era of rugby is underway with the RugbyTown Crossover Academy.
The RugbyTown Crossover Academy is an initiative that director of rugby Mark Bullock and his team have had their eyes on for quite some time. The new program is designed to put elite athletes from other sports into a full-time rugby training environment for several months out of the year.
The idea behind it all is to inject the national player pool with elite athletes and untapped talent and ultimately help the United States win the Rugby World Cup.
After pouring through nearly 4,000 athletes, Bullock and his team of experienced coaches invited 30 athletes to the RugbyTown National Training Center for a week-long tryout. 24 players accepted contracts and reported back to Infinity Park in early January to train for a domestic season. The team will temporarily compete as the Colorado XOs.
This is not an easy endeavor to undertake in the era of COVID-19, and a significant amount of time and energy has been spent planning to ensure the safety of players and staff members. Players will train in small groups and will be tested twice a week from early January until late May when players will break for the summer.
This initiative would not be possible without the help of some of the most knowledgeable rugby minds in the United States. Bullock’s team includes head coach Pete Borlase, defense coach Luke Gross, recruiting director Peter Pasque, data analyst Travis Haugen, manager Allie Schrenker, and welcomes the additions of specialist coach Sarah Chobot, attack coach Mose Timoteo, and strength and conditioning coach Jacob Nelson.
Chobot, Timoteo, and Nelson all have connections to Glendale, and will use their unparalleled rugby experience to help the program grow. Chobot brings with her to the XOs 25 caps for the United States and a 2014 Rugby World Cup appearance. Timoteo brings 32 caps for the United States to the table along with an appearance in the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2001 and 2005 Rugby World Cup of Sevens. Nelson brings a plethora of qualifications and certifications in the strength and conditioning department to the XOs. Nelson has worked with youth athletes, Olympains, and everything in between. In addition to his CSCS designation, he is certified in Functional Movement Screening, WeckMethod, and is a licensed coach through USA Weightlifting, USA kettlebell Lifting, and USA Rugby.