PMHS graduate Nick Lapponese named Division 1 rugby All-American


Nick Lapponese (left) holding the annual Division 1 S.J. Cup.

Fairfield University rugby player and PMHS alumnus Nick Lapponese was named a 2022 All American in February, joining just 22 other players on the prestigious list.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Lapponese. “At first, it felt like any other award, and it really took me a couple days to appreciate it fully. But after I took a second to look at the names on the list, it was surreal to see my name next to those of people I respect and know.”

Lapponese graduated from PMHS in 2019, leaving the Pelicans as No. 33 on the national rankings for high school players. Earning a scholarship to Fairfield University, he has continued to top the rankings throughout his college career. Most recently, he was named senior captain and helped lead Fairfield’s Red Ruggers to their first playoff since 2016. Fairfield finished third in the 2022 Liberty Conference Challenge & Championship.

Lapponese talked about his time on PMHS rugby. “It absolutely should be a school team,” he said. “Now that I’ve had the opportunity to talk to rugby players outside of Pelham, they all seem to agree that being part of a school team makes it easier to connect and find your place within a team. I think it would give a lot of kids more of an opportunity and incentive to start playing.”

PMHS rugby plays as a club team, which means students from other school districts are allowed to join and play with Pelham’s team. However, the team was designated a PMHS varsity sport by the school board several years ago.

“My advice is get invested and stick with it,” said Lapponese. “There’s going to be a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but seeing it through was the best decision I ever made. Go watch some rugby highlights, maybe even join your local team. Once you get into the sport, I promise you’ll fall in love with it.”