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Rugby: Dougie Searles ready to win championships

Penn Rugby’s Dougie Searles has made some big moves in the rugby world recently. He participated in the renowned World Schools Festival (WSF) in Thailand in December, and in November he committed to the University of Louisville to continue his rugby career.

Searles said that his WSF experience was great.

“I had a fun time and met a lot of new people, all while doing what I love – playing rugby!” Searles said.

When it comes to playing in the WSF, there was difficulty and changes that players faced.

“The main difference in the type of play was the amount of knowledge everyone had,” Searles said. “While rugby is growing in America, it has been around for a lot longer in other countries, so they know a lot more about the game, therefore those players had skills I’ve never seen before.”

Challenges for Searles included playing in his first competition after suffering a knee injury, competing in temperatures that soared around 100 degrees Fahrenheit every single day, and learning to adapt and play with people he has never spoken to before in his life. The challenges were worth the experience for Searles.

“If you ever get the chance to play the sport you love overseas, then do it!” Searles said. “It was a great experience and I’ll never forget it!”

On the topic of his commitment to Louisville, it means a lot to him personally.

“I am the first ever Penn Rugby player to attend the University of Louisville!” Searles said. “It’s a great honor to be the first, now I want to grow that number.

“I am very excited to meet a whole lot of new people and make new friendships. I am also excited to show my skills at the next level and compete. One thing I’m nervous for is the skill level change, going from high school to college I will be expected to know more about the game and have greater skills.”

Choosing a college to continue your career at is a huge decision for high school athletes.

“The reason I picked Louisville was the atmosphere when I attended my first game,” Searles said. “How welcoming the players and coaches were before they even knew I was going to commit there was the main reason I chose Louisville!”

Along with rugby, academics will always come first and also factored into play when it came time for Searles to choose a college. Searles intends to major in Physical Therapy.

Before he wears the Red and Black colors of Louisville, Searles is eager to compete for a championship at Penn.

“I am looking forward to playing my senior season with no regrets,” Searles said. “My goal is to give 100 percent at all times and leave everything out there on the field, and I know my teammates will do the same. Let’s go win some championships!”

Penn Rugby’s Maddex Reynolds said that he respects Searles as a person, and how he represents Penn Rugby in addition to his forward skill set.

“I think one of the biggest things that sets (Searles) apart from anyone else in the program is his natural leadership ability and (friendliness),” Reynolds said. “When he went down last year with his season-ending injury we all rallied around him and wrote ‘4doug’ on our wrist tape and he showed up to the rest of our matches in his wheelchair and he just has an amazing attitude and personality, something that shows a lot for a leader. For his skill set, he has very nice catch-pass skills which is nice for someone of his size. He has a very solid build, very strong and stocky. His game management IQ is also very nice including situational awareness. When healthy, he’s definitely a big problem for other teams.”

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