BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Recent Harvey School graduate Christian Artuso of Katonah was selected most valuable player of the Empire City team after a weekend of regional rugby competition in Pittsburgh.
Artuso and Mark Brandon, Harvey’s athletic director and assistant rugby coach, were invited to participate on the regional Empire City all-star team that represented the southern region of Rugby New York in the two-day tournament Saturday and Sunday, June 21-22.
After three weeks of practice, the team traveled to Pittsburgh to compete against other all-star teams from the Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard in the annual Challenge Cup hosted by Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Club. The Challenge Cup acts as a player- and coach selection-vehicle for USA Rugby High Performance and the Junior Eagle programs (Boys and Girls High School All Americans -- HSAA). Players were drawn from New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.
Artuso, who captained The Harvey School’s 2014 Tier 2 State Championship team and starred at the scrum-half position, was selected at fly-half for the Empire City team, while Brandon acted as team manager and assistant coach.
While Empire City lost its first two games in the tournament, Artuso performed well at a new position and scored a try in a 19-14 loss to Maryland.
On the second day of the tournament Empire City played Virginia in the final game. After giving up an early try, the southern New York team dominated the remainder of the game to earn a 45-5 victory.
Brandon said Empire City head coaches Mark Griffin and Ryszard Chadwick selected Artuso as the team MVP because “they were both impressed by Artuso’s effort and his team-first attitude and ability to adapt to playing a new position.”
Brandon said Artuso was most deserving of the award. “Christian worked extremely hard to learn a new position and played with his usual energy and intelligence. It was wonderful for him to be recognized as the team’s MVP for his efforts.”
Brandon said both he and Artuso benefited greatly by the experience. “Coach Griffin and coach Chadwick from Play Rugby USA are excellent coaches, and working with them has made me a better coach and Christian a better player. “