Seniors Ari Rubin (left) and Megan Verlage (right) pose with Bob Scalise, The Nichols Family Director of Athletics, after receiving their awards (OAC).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Seniors Ari Rubin and Megan Verlage were recently named the Male and Female Club Sports Athlete of the Year by the Harvard University Athletic Department.
Rubin was a four-year member of the men's soccer club team, while Verlage, who had no prior experience playing rugby, went on to become a three-year starter after joining the club as a freshman.
Rubin served as both captain and club president for the past two seasons while helping take the club to new heights. He was voted the team's most valuable player in the fall after helping the squad win regionals for the first time in program history. The team ended up reaching the quarterfinals of the national tournament this past season.
In addition to his duties on the field, he also single-handedly ran the program off of it, including hiring the coach and scheduling matches with other teams. Rubin added fundraising to his list of duties, contacting alumni and receiving donations on campus, to help fund the team's trip to the national tournament.
Verlage played an equally important role for the woman's rugby program. A captain in 2011-12, she helped guide the Crimson to the 2011 Division II National Championship as the team's starting outside center.
The then-sophomore sparked a second-half comeback against James Madison in the sweet sixteen of the national championships. Verlage's attacking runs through the center of the field started to shift momentum before her lunging one-handed score through a mass of bodies completely shifted the tide en route to a victory.
While her contributions during games are obvious, she also sets the tone at practice for the entire team. Her work ethic and commitment to the sport and her teammates has helped increase the team's national competitiveness and also sparked individual improvement among team members. Verlage, who is also a member of the Mexican National team, is also the first choice for players when they have questions about the intricate rules of the game or just additional help in the weight room. Away from the field, she also spearheads the club's fundraising efforts.
Harvard offers a total of 66 different club sport programs, ranging from traditional sports such as basketball and baseball to non-traditional offerings such as aikikai and spikeball.