Building Young Adults Into Tomorrow’s Leaders
NCR provides student-athletes with opportunities, inspiration and recognition.
National Collegiate Rugby (NCR) is focused solely on the growth and development of collegiate rugby teams, student-athletes, and coaches.
NCR evolved from the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO), founded in 2007. Initially created to support the growth and development of small college rugby, the organization now serves men’s and women’s college rugby programs of all sizes.
NCR runs five major national championship events including the men’s and women’s XVs National Championship at the conclusion of the Fall season, the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s in the Spring, and the mid-year All-Star Tournaments that bring together the best players in the nation.
NCR provides members with technology support, appropriate insurance, eligibility rules, and marketing. In addition, we offer national recognition programs including All Americans, Scholastic All Americans, monthly recognition programs, and more benefits.NCR is an independent Delaware Non-Stock Non-Profit corporation operating under section 220526 of the Ted Stevens Act as an amateur sports organization with exclusive jurisdiction over its constituent college players, coaches, and teams.
USA Rugby should be contacted for matters related to international amateur competition such as all matters pertaining to the United States' participation in the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, and the Pan-American Games, including representation of the United States in the games; and the organization of the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, and the Pan-American Games when held in the United States.
Board of Directors
Zahralddin is a shareholder and a member of the board of directors of the law firm Elliott Greenleaf, P.C. He is a former general counsel of a non-profit and has served on various non-profit boards. Zahralddin has been in the United States since the age of five and his mother was a foreign service officer from the Republic of Chile, where he spent time watching and playing rugby as a child. He served on the board of the Belmont Shore Rugby Football Club as a player representative and then as Belmont’s representative to the USA Rugby Super League where he was on the disciplinary committee. He also served as President of the Philadelphia-Whitemarsh Rugby Football Club where he was the chairman of the Army-Navy annual rugby match and the tournament director for the annual Surfside 7s tournament.
Pendergast is the Director of Athletics at Life University, a position she has held since 2016. She has seen the department grow exponentially with the addition of six new varsity athletics programs, and the overall growth of more than 450 student-athletes. Pendergast has also seen a vast increase in both academic and athletic accomplishments both at the conference level and national level. Nearly every sports program of the 19 earned an All-Conference honoree in 2018-2019. During her tenure, Life University student-athletes have nearly doubled their conference honors, All-Americans, and conference/national academic achievements.
From a rugby standpoint, the men’s collegiate rugby team has won back-to-back D1A 15s National Championships. The women’s 15s team has finished as the D1 Elite National Runner-Up the past two seasons as well. In addition to the varsity programs, Life University’s Men’s Club program has earned a Division II national championship and has returned to Division I this current academic year.
Pendergast began her career in college athletics as an undergraduate student at Miami University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science. She also holds a master’s degree in sport psychology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Pendergast is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), Women Leaders in College Sports, and Marietta Business Association.
Former Vice President of NCR, Steve Hiatt previously served this role for the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) as well. For the past number of years, Steve has been the PacWest Small College Men’s Commissioner, the head rugby coach at the Cal State University Maritime Academy and the NSCRO Pacific Coast Collegiate Grizzlies All-Star team manager.
Steve received his MBA from the Haas School of Business and his BA in Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent 18 years in the investment business, focusing on high yield and investment grade securities as well as municipal bonds in numerous sectors for Franklin Templeton Investments and Wells Fargo Bank. He became Head Coach at the Cal State University Maritime Academy in 2010.
Starting in high school and ending with the US National Team, Steve spent more than 15 years playing rugby. During that time, Steve won national championships with Cal, his men’s senior team the Old Blues, and the select side Pacific Coast Grizzlies. With the US Eagles, Steve earned 3 caps in the XVs format against Australia, Argentina and Canada and captained the National Team at the Japan 7s tournament.
Audrey has served in several non-profit organizations over the last 22 years helping in youth and women's program development from the ground up. Coming from a family of Rugby players, her love for the game led into becoming a Rugby administration in 2017. Her previous tenures included the Executive Director of Rugby Idaho and as a USA Rugby youth & high school congress member and Congress secretary 2019-2020. During the 2017-2018 tenure with Rugby Idaho she was instrumental in helping a local school district get girls' high school Rugby sanctioned as a permanent program under Title IX.
Currently, Audrey's involvement in Rugby is layered between youth, college and the MLR. Youth involvement includes the Executive Director of the Todd Clever Foundation, spearheading Star Parks and Recreation youth Rugby, working as the Vice President in grant management for American Youth Rugby, volunteering as a director for Liberty Boys Academy, a youth development project of the Utah Warriors, and Vice President of Cascade Rugby union.
In the adult arena Audrey serves as a Director at Rugby Schools Inc. which offers consulting on licensing & resale agreements for other Rugby organizations, and a health benefit consultant for the Austin Gilgronis MLR team.
Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Kyle played basketball and baseball in High School. In 2004, Kyle attended Elon University (in North Carolina) where he was first introduced to rugby. As a four year starter and club president for three years, he saw the program transform from an un-coached, social club to a well-respected State Champion. Graduating with a degree in Accounting and later a Master of Business Administration, Kyle spent his early career in public accounting where he became licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) before focusing his attention on internal audit in the healthcare industry. In 2015, Kyle re-joined his alma mater as a volunteer coach, where he was acquainted with the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO). Understanding the importance of an organization that focuses on small colleges, Kyle joined NSCRO as the Treasurer in early 2017.
Stephen is the former NCR President and CEO. He is educated as an Aeronautical Engineer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Steve worked as a mechanical engineer in the design and construction of power plants. He began playing rugby in 1969 and then became a full time referee. While refereeing for nearly 35 years he also held numerous rugby administrative leadership roles at the local, territorial and national levels. He created an East Coast College Division 2 Championship for men and women which led to the first National Championship in 1997. As a member of the USARFU Collegiate Committee he proposed that USARFU start its own Division 2 playoffs. In 2002 he created an East Coast College Division 3 Championship for men and women which led to the creation of NSCRO in 2007. As President of NSCRO he directed a responsive organization providing needed services which has resulted in significant annual membership growth, improved competition and school recognition for small college rugby clubs.
Kevin joined the National Senior Games Association as their Director of Marketing and Sponsorships in 2019. In this role, Kevin works with national brands on their marketing plans and sponsorship integrations within the NSGA. In addition, Kevin works with each host city and Local Organizing Committee on their corporate partnership structure for The Games.
Before landing at the NSGA, Kevin was the Events Manager at the Gainesville Sports Commission in Gainesville. Kevin oversaw multiple aspects of all hosted sporting events, which included developing a budget, event management, sponsor fulfillment, and creating reports for the Board of Directors and Alachua County Government Officials.
Kevin has worked at multiple local and nationally recognized organizations such as IRONMAN, Saint Leo University, United Soccer Leagues, and Saddlebrook Preparatory School. Kevin also holds an MBA in Sports Business from Saint Leo University and a Bachelor of Science in Sports Management from Waynesburg University. With over 10 years in the sports industry, Kevin is going to bring valuable experience and knowledge to National Collegiate Rugby.
Jenn is a versatile and strategic health care professional who uses her diverse skill set to guide and manage projects, research, communications, and analysis. With over 10 years of rugby administration experience, Jenn’s background enables her to make contributions in a variety of ways. She brings an elevated club experience at Penn State as well as her knowledge gained in her work in the East Penn RU in understanding the underlying issues of under-resourced clubs through her work at EPRU.
Currently working in Medicaid financing, Jenn has served as an administrator for a home health and hospice organization. In this role, she led the agency in its planning, development and administration of the organization. Simultaneously, Jenn was President of the Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union (EPRU), working with the NSCRO men’s and women’s teams within the region, and applying the same principles professionally as she did in her volunteer role leading the EPRU. Jenn continues to play with the Harrisburg Women’s Rugby Football Club in the Central PA area and is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
For the past 26 years, Appaneal has been an insurance executive with experiences in sales, management, and executive levels. Appaneal’s rugby experience spans three decades, beginning his career at an NSCRO member school, Bowdoin College, where he was a member of the 1991 NERFU Collegiate Championship team. After college, Appaneal went on to play for and serve as Captain for both the Pittsburgh Harlequins RFC and Washington Irish RFC. He was named “Most Valuable Forward” for the Irish in 2001 and led them to a Potomac RFU Championship in 2002. Appaneal is a founder and active Board of Directors member for the Pittsburgh Harlequins Rugby Football Association, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation, established to provide community rugby programs to disadvantaged youth and teen groups throughout Allegheny County, PA with the goal of instilling the values that team athletics can provide, including self-confidence, leadership, and integrity. In 2019, the Association has undertaken its 22nd year of uninterrupted Youth Mentoring Programs in the Pittsburgh Area. The 2019 Program includes 4 sites, 28 neighborhoods, 1500 volunteer hours, and over 200 youth from predominantly at-risk communities.
A Vancouver BC native, Anton played rugby as one of several sports in high school, where his modest efforts at outside center and wing helped his Carson Graham Eagles win two city championships. Anton did not come back to the game as a player until a brief stint in Japan in the mid-1990s. Then in 2013, having lived in the US for many years and recently moved to Atlanta, he found a small neighborhood group playing youth rugby. Anton signed up his two boys, joined as a coach and helped create a nonprofit Board, recruited members, and took the full reins of the club in 2015.
Since that time Atlanta Youth Rugby (“AYR”) has grown from 35 local kids to serving over 3000 in 12 neighborhoods, with over 45% identifying as female; 85% identifying as ethnic minorities, and 80% from underserved neighborhoods. Its founding partnership with Life U has grown to include not just student-athlete coaches but Board representation and professional experience with internships. MLR’s RugbyATL has become another key partner, along with Penn Mutual and Northside Hospital for the AYR-developed SafePlay program.
AYR is supported by Anton’s friend and past colleague Mayor Andre Dickens, who has provided this introduction.
Anton was elected President of Rugby Georgia for a 2-year term in 2016, serving its members with best practices leadership in strategy and operations as well as strengthening its balance sheet.
Anton has also held many volunteer leadership positions in the Boy Scouts of America; and served as a volunteer coach and Board member for InterAtlanta FC. He has also coached youth baseball, flag football and tennis. And of course continues to coach rugby for AYR and for the USA South Panthers.
In his professional life, Anton holds an MBA and has been an executive at several Fortune 500 companies; a nonprofit executive and advisor; as well as pursuing a parallel entrepreneurial path of technology and property investment since the early 2000s. He currently is a co-Founder and COO of SOAR Media, and partner in several other going concerns.
As an NCR Board member, Anton hopes to continue to support its strong leadership in college rugby, help NCR build bridges to youth clubs, and build the membership value proposition for NCR constituents.
Anton and his wife Victoria (‘Tori’) have two boys aged 19 and 17 and as a family have traveled to over 30 countries. Anton is a dedicated downhill skier, car enthusiast, coach and mentor.
For over 20 years, Bjorklund has been the President and CEO of several construction equipment sales and service dealerships in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. He is also an active member of his local town’s youth sports association and is currently serving as their Vice-President. In addition, Bjorklund has served on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Siena College, in Loudonville, NY for more than 12 years and currently holds an executive level position on their board. He is also very active with the Siena College Rugby Program and the college’s recent initiatives to expand the men’s and women’s programs.
Lewis, a USA Level 400 coach, with significant experience at every level of the American game, is one of a handful of coaches equally adept in both 15’s and 7’s and has a proven track record of developing international players. He is currently the Head Coach of the USA Rugby Men’s Collegiate All-Americans 7’s program and the Bulldogs Mens 7’s program as well as working with the Army West Point Women’s program. He also founded and still coaches the Northeast Academy program which has graduated numerous Eagles 7’s players. In addition, Lewis serves on USA Rugby’s Performance Game Board and is the Northeast Collegiate representative on the USA Rugby Congress.
Michael was introduced to rugby during his plebe year at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, after youth football and fell in love with the game. Playing all four years at West Point including tours in England and California, his Black Knights ranked #1 in the nation going into the national championship playoffs. Michael then played and coached men’s rugby at his first military duty station in Arizona, later in California, as well as playing Select-side military rugby. Medical school at Tulane in New Orleans interrupted his rugby pursuits until his teenage son took an interest in playing in high school and into college. This renewed his interest in rugby in general and Army West Point rugby in particular. Go Army! Beat Navy!
Michael retired as a Colonel in the U.S. Army after a distinguished 31-year career. He is board-certified in General Preventive Medicine and Public Health and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine and the American College of Nutrition. Michael is a recognized innovator in disease surveillance and epidemiology, as well as a proven leader and expert on nutritional and other interventions for brain health and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In 2012, he founded the nonprofit Brain Health Education and Research Institute. He is a consultant to the U.S. Army and Navy, as well as several organizations and companies around the world, and a founding member of the Pop Warner Youth Football Medical Advisory Board. His private practice, BrainCARE, is located in Potomac, MD, where he takes a comprehensive approach to concussion recovery, brain injury, sports performance, and brain health issues. His pioneering work in the military and since has helped thousands of people around the world.
Bobby is the sole proprietor of Robert A Hacker Attorney at Law + Sports Media Consulting, providing production counsel for sports, including various esports organizations (event and team related) and entertainment properties, representation of sports broadcasting above-the-line talent, as well as consulting services on various sports related issues. Prior to that for 18 years he was the Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for FOX Sports working in the area of national sports programming. Up until May 2021, he was the president of the Sports Lawyers Association and remains on that board.
His rugby career began at Cal and after returning to Los Angeles after college he played for Crown City RFC and since 1985 has been a member of the Santa Monica Rugby Club, where in addition to a long playing career, he coached the Club’s women’s team, the men’s team and since 2018 has been coaching at the youth level (currently U-16). He has also held most every executive position on the Club’s Board, as well as being its Ombudsperson and its representative to the Rugby Super League. He currently sits on the Cal Rugby Advisory Board.
Steve Flatow is President and Founder of SDF Management Group, which provides advisory and representation services to a wide range of sports-related businesses including sponsors, licensees, traditional and digital media, promotional agencies, law firms, nonprofits and foundations, venues and municipalities.
Previously, he was Head of Marketing for Bloomberg Sports, a division of Bloomberg L.P., where he was responsible for the launch of the company’s first-ever consumer product, an “intelligent” fantasy baseball app that employed Bloomberg’s vaunted analytical tools to predict future player and team performance. Prior to Bloomberg, he served as Senior Vice President of Partnerships at NYC and Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnerships company.
Earlier in his career, Steve served as VP/Director of Marketing for the National Hockey League. During a period of eight years, he oversaw all of the League’s business units, including sponsorship, licensing, publishing, video, and youth development. He built and ran a new Events Division to develop and monetize the League’s premier events, and he was the creator of the League’s All-Star Weekend format. He also served as Chief Marketing Officer of the Major Indoor Soccer League; and was Head of Business Development at the National Basketball Association for the Women’s National Basketball Association. He began his career at Wilson Sporting Goods, where he ran the basketball, soccer and football businesses and managed “official ball” partnerships with eight Leagues and 27 athletes.