April 16, 2003
Moss Point man named quad rugby MVP
By Collin Johnson
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—The Jackson Jags quad rugby team finished its season with a sixth place showing in the Heartland sectionals tournament held in Carbondale, Ill., but they didn’t leave Illinois empty handed.
It was the first appearance for the Methodist Rehabilitation Center-sponsored Jags in the sectional tournament and Wiley Clark, of Moss Point, was named most valuable player by a vote among coaches, referees and other players.
It’s the second time Clark has been singled out at a quad rugby tournament. He was also MVP of the 2002 regional tournament held in Georgia.
“It’s a great achievement to be MVP at any tournament,” said Ginny Boydston, director of therapeutic recreation at Methodist Rehab and coach of the Jags. “But to be picked as MVP at the sectional tournament by your peers is outstanding.”
What made the accomplishment even more impressive was the fact that most of the teams at sectionals had never seen the Jags, or Clark, play before. “It’s definitely an honor,” said Clark. “I was totally shocked when I found out.”
But it’s almost misleading to call one player the most valuable in a sport like quad rugby, Clark added. “Rugby is 100 percent a team effort. The team has an impact on everything.
“A single player can be stopped any time, but when the team is working together and doing what it’s supposed to, it can be a thing of beauty,” he said.
Clark has always been one of the leaders on the Jags roster, Boydston said. “He takes responsibility and he motivates the other guys.”
A member of the team since its inception six years ago, Clark has improved his game each season, Boydston added. “He’s respected by his teammates, but this honor proves that he’s respected by the players on other teams as well.”
The top four teams at the sectional tournament went on to compete for the national championship. Placing at sectionals meant the Jags had achieved their highest position in team history.
“We keep getting better and better each year,” said Boydston. “And this was a great opportunity for us to be around some of the best teams in the country. It was a chance for us to meet new players from new teams and put into place some of the strategies we’ve been working on in practice.”
The Jags recently moved from one rugby division to another. For Boydston, it was fun as a coach to size up the new teams. “You get used to seeing the same teams every year, so this was exciting to scout new players and see new styles of play. We learned a lot and we’re going to keep learning and improving.”
The Jags don’t intend on this year being their only trip to sectionals. “If we keep learning and improving, we’ll keep doing better each year,” said Boydston. “I don’t think this team has reached it’s potential yet so we’re already looking forward to next year.”