One Click And HS Rugby Star Gets His USA Shot

The US Olympic Committee, in conjunction with sponsor 24-Hour Fitness and NBC, this weekend selected a group of young athletes to train with their respective sport’s Olympic program, and the rugby player is Las Vegas Blackhawks product Devin Short.

Short first came to prominence in the rugby world last spring. He took up the sport just that spring season, and led the Blackhawks to a Nevada high school state title.

His skills and athleticism, combined with a strong desire to get better, saw him play with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy SoCal team that won at the Rocky Mountain Challenge, and he was also selected to the HS All Americans.

See more on Short’s meteoric rise here

Player Spotlight Devin Short

But fans also knew that as new as he was to rugby, Short was going to be lost again. He had accepted a football scholarship at Adams State in Colorado. But as luck (good or bad, depending on your outlook) would have it, Short suffered a shoulder injury, and was unable to play football at Adams. It seemed like a sign, and Short dropped out and returned to Las Vegas.

Pretty soon he was talking to his old high school rugby coach, Leonard Nell, and Nell suggested Short get back to rugby when he got healthy.

And that’s what happened. Short started playing with the Las Vegas Irish men’s team, and the hard-running No. 8 outstanding.

“The injury made me miss rugby,” Short told FloRugby. “I wasn’t really happy and my heart wasn’t in it. My heart was in rugby and I was trying to find any way I could to play. When I came home, I got a job and played for the Irish.”

And then a big moment came. Short saw on social media about the Olympic Hopefuls program.

“I saw it and kind of scrolled past it at first,” he said. “I figured it was just an ad. But then I figured, I might as well fill out the application. What was the worst that could happen?”

About 20 athletes from each sport involved were chosen to be finalists, and then put through a series of demanding tests.

“It was really tough,” said Short. “The fitness tests were really hard, and there was a lot of pressure, training in front of [USA player] Carlin Isles and [USA Coach] Mike Friday. But I loved it. I saw it as my redemption.”

“I think Devin is going to make it all the way to the USA 7s team, and hopefully to the 15s Eagles team too,” said Nell. “He made a good impression on Mike Friday. I am so proud to be his first rugby coach and to have introduced him to the best sport in the world.”

And on Friday, August 25, Short was named as the Olympic Hopeful for rugby. What that means is Short will move to Chula Vista, CA on August 30 to train for three months with the USA 7s team. It’s an enormous opportunity.

“I am super-excited,” said Short. “I don’t know how it’s going to go or what’s next after this, but I will do everything I can to make them to want me to stay.”

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