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The spring season is filled with college commitments.

The top prep athletes commit to NCAA Division I, II and III colleges, with some moving on to play at NAIA schools or junior colleges.

Raymond McGettigan is no different than those athletes, though the sport he plays is very different.

McGettigan, a senior at West York, has committed to play rugby at Mount St. Mary's in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

McGettigan, who also played football and wrestling at times in his high school career, said rugby, which his father played in college and professionally, is more fun for him.

"There’s a different sense of being on a team when you play rugby," McGettigan said. "It’s not like you have one star who does everything. There’s more teamwork and understanding that you have to work together than in other team sports."

About McGettigan: McGettigan played football in fifth and sixth grade before transitioning to rugby when he was 13.

Since rugby isn't a PIAA-sanctioned sport, McGettigan competes for a rugby 15s club team, West Shore United, in the New Cumberland area, in the spring. In the fall, he plays for a rugby 7s team in Downingtown. 

McGettigan plays hooker, which is the forward position in charge of hooking the ball back in a scrum to gain possession. 

"Usually forwards are the bigger guys," said McGettigan, who is 5-feet, 9-inches tall and 185 pounds. "In the scrum, the eight forwards on each team (in rugby 15s) push against each other to get the ball, and I'm there to hook the ball back."

Why the Mount? Since rugby isn't a sanctioned sport with the NCAA, Mount St. Mary's competes in the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference alongside James Madison, Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, Georgetown and other colleges.

McGettigan said the attractive part about the Mount was how the sport is treated like a Division I sport. The Mountaineers have 51 players on their roster, practice five days a week and have a competitive schedule.

"The program is modeled after the NCAA model," McGettigan said. "I chose the Mount because I really liked the campus, and I wanted a smaller-school atmosphere. It’s also not too far from home. I have three younger siblings who are still growing up. I wanted to stay close enough to be involved in their lives."

Thoughts on rugby's growth: McGettigan believes rugby is gaining popularity in the country, and he doesn't envision that slowing down.

"Rugby is really growing right now," McGettigan said. "(Rugby) 7s is a good way to grow the game, because it’s so fast and fun to watch. So people get started with that and transition into 15s. I think in the next 20 years there will be a big boom."

As someone who played one year of football as a junior at West York, McGettigan believes rugby could gain popularity as a safer option to football. While rugby players don't wear pads, they also don't have helmets, which can sometimes give players a false sense of security. It can allow players to believe they can lead with their heads — something that rugby players, without a helmet, would be very hesitant to do.

"(Rugby) is a lot safer than it looks," he said. "It is hard and you do have some injuries, but it’s not the same as football. We don’t have helmets or pads, but it also makes us slow down and not hit head on. I played one season of football and saw more concussions in those 10 weeks than I saw in all six years I've been playing rugby. There’s so much head-to-head contact in football. I'm very glad I chose rugby."

OTHER PREP NOTES

Demonte Martin selected for all-star game: Eastern York wide receiver Demonte Martin, who is playing in the Pennsylvania East vs. West Game later this month, was picked for another all-star game this spring.

Martin, who is 6-5, 188 pounds, was an all-state wideout and led the York-Adams League in all three major receiving stats. He was selected for the NFBD All-Star Game. NFBD is a digital innovation company founded by Jordan Rooney that pegs NCAA Division I and Division II recruits against each other.

This year, the game will be at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 2, at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh. 

Among the participants are Maryland commit Dino Tomlin and Penn State commits Daequan Hardy and Joey Porter Jr. Martin has committed to play at the Football Championship Subdivision level at Robert Morris.

Dallastown, Red Lion softball teams raise awareness for breast cancer: The junior varsity softball teams at Dallastown and Red Lion teamed up for a game to raise money and awareness for cancer.

The efforts were to support Stef Sandt, who is a breast cancer survivor, and Britany Schmehl and Dallastown coach Leanne Potts-Jones, both of whom have breast cancer. 

Both teams wore pink, and money was collected and donated to American Cancer Society. 

Dallastown won 8-1. 

Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at jmeyer@yorkdispatch.com.

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