The Jump

Former TWHS rugby star Kieran Farmer goes pro

Farmer was a star for TWHS, winning the MVP four times. Houston Sabercats

Jumping directly from high school to the pros doesn’t happen anymore.

Even the best high school players in their respective sports have to trudge through the minor leagues or play at least a mandatory season of college before joining “The Show.”

Having just turned 19-years-old, Kieran Farmer has made the jump from playing high school rugby in 2017 to making the official roster of Major League Rugby’s Houston Sabercats.

Farmer was named best back in Texas Rugby in 2016 and 2017. It was during the high school championship match last May where Sabercats’ coach Justin Fitzpatrick first noticed Farmer playing the fly-half position.

“Kieran had a great weekend for The Woodlands and they ultimately won the championship,” said Fitzpatrick, on VYPE’s Locker Talk Radio podcast. “I made a note of who this kid was and when we invited him to our summer (rugby) combines he did very well.

“At the international level, it’s not unusual to see younger athletes make the jump to professionals as a 19 or 20-year-old. International rugby is little bit different in that regard to American football.”

Farmer’s international journey came from a Scottish upbringing.

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, his father worked in the energy industry. As a result, his family moved to Azerbaijan when Farmer was only six. It was there where Farmer was invited to play for a friends’ team made up of Scottish expatriates.

Farmer brought his athletic skills to The Woodlands in the sixth grade and ended up playing for the local youth rugby club. Farmer would excel at the club level before making the ultimate jump to the professional Sabercats, whose exhibition season started in January.

“Obviously the level of play is a lot higher at this level with speed and strength,” said Farmer, a four-time MVP for The Woodlands. “These are grown men who are smart with their tactics and how they manage their game. It has been a big adjustment.”

Farmer had the advantage of playing for a highly-organized and developed squad during his high school years under coach Phil Beck and club director Frank Rizzo.

“Kieran came to us as a highly- skilled youth athlete where he was able to dominate immediately from the fly-half position,” said Rizzo. “But his true asset came with his leadership skills through encouragement and work ethic.

“When you’re the best player and you’re the hardest worker on the team, there’s no better motivation from a coaching perspective.”

Rizzo believes Farmer is in a great situation with the Sabercats, where success will ultimately come with time and practice.

“Coach Fitzpatrick is the greatest coach in the world when it comes to strategy and player development,” Rizzo said. “Kieran’s fan base is going to grow outside of The Woodlands very quickly and I believe he has the potential to be an outstanding international player within a few years. He’s that talented.”

The Houston Sabercats are part of the newly formed Major League Rugby whose inaugural season begins April 21.

For more information on the Houston Sabercats, visit their website at HoustonSabercats.com.  Feature photo provided by Houston Sabercats.

This article appears in the March Issue of VYPE Magazine. Pick up your copy at any one of our locations today!

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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