Captains

SENIOR

Jack Edwards

Jack is currently a Senior and started playing Rugby at the age of 13. He played for the Westport PAL club in 7th and 8th grade during their first ever years, followed by 3 years at Staples High School. He was the starting Hooker of the 2021 Staples team that came 4th at Nationals in Kansas City.

Jack has also played Football since 2nd grade and is currently a Captain; he also has wrestled since 4th grade. Coming off a successful season last year, Jack looks to accomplish even more during the regular season this year into the State playoffs and Nationals. Jack hopes to continue both his football and rugby career during college.

SENIOR

George Engels

George is currently a Senior and started playing Rugby at the age of 11. He started playing with the Fairfield Rugby Club in 6th grade and transferred over to the Westport PAL rugby team in 7th and 8th grade.

During his Freshman year at Staples, he was a member of the 2019 Freshman Connecticut State Championship team. George played Lock for the 2021 Staples National High School Rugby Championship team that came 4th at Nationals in 2021. During the offseason, George attended the U18 USA Rugby camp and was a part 2021 EIRA rugby team who played in Spain and competed against the Spanish National team. He is looking forward to another successful season in 2022 and bringing home a State Championship and a National title.

SENIOR

Nick Novello

Nick is currently a Senior and started playing Rugby at the age of 12 on the Westport 7th Grade P.A.L. Rugby team and has loved the sport since. Nick continued playing P.A.L. Rugby in 8th Grade and has played 3 seasons with the Staples High School team. He was a key member of the Staples 2019 Freshman Connecticut State Championship team.

Although 2020 was a down year due to Covid restrictions, Nick used his time training on the field conditioning and in the weight room with teammates to get ready for the 2021 season. Nick played Flanker for the 2021 Staples National High School Rugby Championship team and is looking forward to another successful season in 2022 with his teammates. Nick plans to continue playing Rugby in college.

SENIOR

Devon Saunders

Devon is currently a Senior at Staples High School and began playing Rugby at the age of 8. His Rugby career began at Aspetuck where he played for 5 seasons. He then went on to join the Westport P.A.L. Rugby team in Westport which is where Westport rugby success started to begin. During Devon's Freshman year the team went undefeated taking home the State Championship.

During the off season Devon played in Europe at the Wasps and Ealing Trail Finders camp. After missing the Sophomore year season (due to Covid) he came back as a Junior to assist in ranking Staples 4th at Nationals. Devon's love of the sport comes from the energy that radiates from each individual player on the field.

SENIOR

Brandon Saunders

Brandon is currently a Senior at Staples High School. He started playing Rugby at the age of 8 with the Aspetuck Rugby Team with his father coaching him and his brother Devon. This season will be Brandon’s 4th year on the Staples team but he has been in the Westport program for 6 as he played for the Westport PAL team also. He went undefeated in his Freshman year while also playing with the Varsity team on occasion.

In the last few years, Brandon excelled by playing for Staples Rugby at Nationals and contributing to Staples placing 4th, while also having an undefeated State season. He can’t wait for the team to have another amazing season.

SENIOR

Lane Schanzer

Lane is currently a Senior at Staples High School. A devoted student, teammate, and captain. This may be her first experience playing rugby but she is no stranger to athletics. Growing up she has played a number of sports. Beginning with gymnastics from a young age to soccer for seven years and basketball. Lane is also a committed officer for her school's Best Buddies club. In 2019 Lane sought to play her schools first girls rugby team, after training hard COVID hit and unfortunately her first season was canceled. The passion, community and technique involved in rugby drew Lane in. She was recently selected as a New England Free Jacks regional player of interest. Lane looks forward to playing this year for her team as a strong and dedicated captain.

JUNIOR

Jeni von Bartheld

Jeni is currently a Junior at Wilton High School. Although this is her first endeavor playing rugby, this is not her first experience in athletics. Jeni started gymnastics in Norwalk, CT at the age of 3 and competed in Wilton when she was 10 (2016). Jeni competed at the YMCA level for 2 years and both YMCA and USAG for another two years. Over the course of four years she competed at over 30 competitions. COVID-19 caused her final season to be cut short where she would’ve competed at her third national competition. Jeni has gone to two regional and national competitions and brought home a title at each. She is very competitive and always tries to be the best at everything she does, so when she saw her cousin playing rugby for Marist College last fall she immediately knew she wanted to play. When COVID cut the season short last year, Jeni knew she had to work harder this year to make this season count. She was recently selected as a Free Jacks Regional player of interest and is very excited to play and to lead the girls team in their first season.