Hard work earns local athlete spot on All-American rugby team

Most of Owen Duvall’s days start early and end late.

Much of the year, by 6 a.m. he’s in the weight room. Then it’s typically a full day of school at Cathedral Catholic, followed by either rugby practice or endurance training. Not to mention, there’s also homework to complete.

But his dedication has paid off. Duvall, 16, recently earned a spot on the high school All-American rugby team. And he has a 4.3 grade-point average.

“I’m really excited by it,” Duvall said of the All-American team selection. On March 28, the team will compete in France and then travel to Belgium.

Duvall plays tight-head prop, which many rugby enthusiasts say is the most important position on the field. For one, the tight-head prop anchors scrums — players packing together in a battle to gain control of the ball.

“I make sure we don’t get blown back,” Duvall said.

Duvall lives in Carlsbad and is on the Coastal Dragons Rugby team, which is based in Encinitas. He said he hopes to play rugby in college and then professionally.

“That’s the dream,” he said.

“No one works harder than him,” said Coastal Dragons president Edward Petersen, who has coached Duvall for five years.

Petersen said Duvall will have “a lot of colleges knocking on his door” in light of his rugby talent and academic record.

To make the team, Duvall had to try out more than a month ago. Even being invited is an honor, Petersen said.

Duvall first received recognition from national coaches when he played on a Southern California all-star rugby team.

Petersen said that Encinitas is becoming a hotbed for rugby. He added that talented players like Duvall are fueling that growth.

Nick Duvall said he’s pleased with his son’s success on and off the field.

“To maintain his grade-point average and then get selected for this team, I’m very proud of him,” Nick Duvall said.

Coastal Dragons Rugby, founded in 2009, has U8 through U18 divisions. To learn more, visit coastaldragonsrugby.com.

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