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!

LONE STAR CUP STANDINGS

2018-2019 UIL Lone Star Cup winners announced

Photo via: Vype

This article originally appeared on Vype.

AUSTIN, Texas – The University Interscholastic League announced the six winners of the 2018-19 UIL Lone Star Cup on Monday.

Southlake Carroll returned to the top of its class in Conference 6A, winning its seventh overall UIL Lone Star Cup. The Dragons won state championships in girls and boys swimming & diving, girls soccer and baseball, and placed teams in the top five at state in girls and boys cross-country, girls golf and spirit. The seventh Cup victory places the Dragons in a tie for third-most UIL Lone Star Cup wins.

In Conference 5A, Dallas Highland Park extended its lead of the most all-time UIL Lone Star Cup victories with its 11thwin. The Scots earned 124 points (tied with Argyle for most of any school in 2018-19) with state championships in football, girls soccer, boys golf and team tennis. Dallas Highland Park also had state bronze medal winners in academics, boys wrestling and boys swimming & diving.

Argyle extended its record streak by earning its eighth consecutive UIL Lone Star Cup victory. The Conference 4A winner took home state championships in academics, girls basketball and baseball, and earned state runners-up in marching band and boys golf. The win gives the Eagles a total of 10 Cup victories, which is the second most all-time.

Brock went back-to-back, winning its second consecutive UIL Lone Star Cup in Conference 3A. The Eagles were state silver medalists in boys basketball, state semifinalists in softball and made deep playoff runs in football, volleyball, girls basketball and baseball. This is the third time in school history that Brock has won back-to-back UIL Lone Star Cups (2009-10, 2015-16, 2018-19).

Mason captured its second UIL Lone Star Cup victory with a school-record 76 points in Conference 2A. The Punchers were state champions in football, state semifinalists in girls basketball and earned points for the most match wins at state tennis. Mason also earned points in academics by winning district, region and placing fifth at state.

In Conference 1A, Nazareth earned its third-consecutive UIL Lone State Cup. With a state championship in girls basketball, state semifinalist in boys basketball and third-place state team in girls cross-country, the Swifts earned 62 total points in 2018-19. Nazareth's academics, tennis, football and baseball teams also contributed points toward the victory.

The UIL Lone Star Cup recognizes six high schools (one in each of the six UIL conferences) based on their overall team achievement in a variety of sanctioned academic, athletic and music championships. All UIL member high schools in good standing are included for contention for the UIL Lone Star Cup. Trophy presentations will take place in the fall at events chosen by the winning schools.

The UIL Lone Star Cup program began during the 1997-98 school year.

Continue on Vype to see the Top 25 schools in each conference for this year's UIL Lone Star Cup standings.

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