Herrera Wins Top Annual Rugby Award

SOCORRO, N.M. May 25, 2010 -- Brandon Jay Herrera has been selected by his New Mexico Tech Rugby Club teammates to receive the 2009-2010 Jeremiah Wright Cup as outstanding rugby player. A 2005 graduate of Laguna High School, Herrera earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Tech in December 2009. He is the son of Michelle Hererra and John Herrera of the Isleta and Laguna Nations, respectively. 

Jay Herrera (right) accepts the Jeremiah Wright Memorial Cup from rugby director Dave Wheelock. Herrera was named the outstanding Tech rugby player for the 2009-2010 year. His name will be engraved on the Wright Trophy at the Tech gymnasium. 


The Wright Cup is awarded each year in the memory of former Tech Rugby Club captain Jeremiah Wright of Raton, N.M., who died during his senior year in 2002 when the car in which he was a passenger was struck by a law enforcement vehicle in Socorro. Beginning in 2004, six names have been engraved on the Jeremiah Wright Trophy which resides at the Tech gymnasium: Mark Kelly, Rob Harrison, Phillip Turner, Seth Daly, Matt Majors and Matt Nelson.

Jay Herrera began his rugby career at New Mexico Tech as a wing in the spring of 2006 and was loaned to the New Mexico Brujos Rugby Club in his first full match. As his rugby skills improved, the team profited by moving him to scrumhalf, where his quickness and accurate passes served as a crucial pivot between a sizeable Pygmy scrum and a talented six-man backline.

Herrera was elected team captain in his junior year when at 5’9” and 160 pounds his superior fitness and an ability to read situations set him apart from larger players. It was not unusual for him to pass and receive the ball two or three times on the way to a Pygmy team try. In his last season as head captain in autumn 2009, the team posted a 16-3 record.

Herrera’s high school experience included participation in the New Mexico Science Olympiad, MESA and the Laguna High Honor Society. He served as president of the student body during his senior year, and enjoyed an internship with the NASA. Other than baseball, Herrera admits, “I wasn't committed to the sports scene too much because I was short and fat!”

Besides leading the rugby club, Herrera was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and vice president of the student government during his senior year.

Currently doing contract work at Laguna Pueblo, the young engineer continues to pursue excellence as a member of the Santa Fe Rugby Club.

“My first season playing men’s club rugby was fast paced and I was surrounded by experienced talent. I plan to keep playing rugby wherever my career takes me” Herrera said. “It’s a pleasure to continue to play and be competitive in rugby.”

– NMT –

By Dave Wheelock/New Mexico Tech