BYU's Wyatt Parry wins Rudy Scholz Award as college rugby's top male player

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PROVO — Wyatt Parry was excited about his role on the development, about his future, and about the chance to bring BYU rugby back where he knows the Cougars belong: competing for championships.

But mostly, in this moment, he was a little confused.

Last Saturday, the 5-foot-10 scrum half received a text message from his coach Steve St. Pierre that was simply in its message: You won.

Won? Parry didn't know what he won; the Cougars had just come off a 48-31 loss to Saint Mary's in the CRAA DIA men's rugby national semifinals — their second straight national semifinal appearance — but he didn't count any of it as a win.

Parry is competitive, and the kind of player who does't take moral victories. So while he is keen to acknowledge the growth and progress of five-time national championships, he was also eager to get to work for next year, to try to win a title for the club for the first time since 2015.

Still, about an hour later, Parry returned a call to St. Pierre. That's when his coach explained to him he had won: individually, that is, the Rudy Scholz Award, given to the top men's collegiate rugby player in the United States by the Washington Athletic Club of Seattle.

"Honestly, I was just super grateful; it's the realization of a lot of hard work and a lot of effort," Parry said. "I was able to soak it in, and Steve told me that they'd announce it Tuesday or Wednesday. I got a lot of messages from coaches, friends and family (after the announcement). But I'm just super grateful."

The marketing major from St. George isn't the most imposing rugby player to line up in a scrum. But in his backfield role, he was often in charge of an offense that scored 40 or more points four times during a 5-4 spring season in 2024, including a 48-15 win over UCLA and 40-24 upset victory at Central Washington in the national tournament.

Parry was quick to credit his teammates for the Cougars' offensive execution and success. But the scrum half's role is vital, too, as any devout rugby follower will tell you.

"My job last season was to be one of those fast guys who could score, but also setting up other people to score. I was kind of the point guard," he said.

Winning the Scholz Award is promising, especially from a group of finalists that included Dom Besag of Saint Mary's, Evan Roode of Arkansas State and Eden van Heerden of Lindenwood.

The award given to the top male collegiate rugby player in the United States is named after Rudolph "Rudy" Scholz, who played from Santa Clara and helped lead the U.S. men's rugby team to Olympic gold in 1920 and 1924.

Scholz also served in both World Wars, volunteering for World War II when he was in his 40s, between a successful career as a lawyer and a rugby career that lasted until his final match at age 83.

But Parry has other goals in mind.

"I think individual awards are great. They help validate yourself and your team," he said. "But at the same time, I came to BYU to win a national championship. We've got one more crack at this.

"Next year, it's not about any individual award at all," he added. "It's all about the team goal, of getting a crack at the semifinals, then the finals, and walking away with the dub."

With that in mind, Parry has opted to come back for a fifth year with the Cougars. He isn't the only one who plans to "run it back," he said, but added that he made the decision to spend one more year at BYU to finish his college degree and help lead the Cougars around Christmas break — despite knowing that interest was out there from several Major League Rugby teams to start his professional career.

"I ride or die with the players I've played with," Parry said. "We've been together for four years, and a lot of them are coming back for a fifth year. I'll ride-or-die with those guys until the end. One more year, we're all in and we're going to see what we can do."

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