After moving with his family from Mexico to the United States prior to his freshman year at Hilliard Davidson, senior Alejandro Martinez-Tapia quickly developed a passion for rugby and football.

His love for rugby helped him land one of the 51 spots on the U18 Boys High School All-American team. He was the only player from Ohio selected.

Martinez-Tapia and his U.S. teammates will compete in the North American Four on Dec. 28 and 31 at the Elite Athlete Training Center in Chula Vista, California. The games are part of a winter camp to be held Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

The U.S. players will be divided into two groups and will play against two teams from Canada.

“I was very surprised,” Martinez-Tapia said of being selected to the All-American team. “I’m super glad that this country opened the doors for my family and gave me the chance to play as many sports as I can.”

Martinez-Tapia credits Kristopher Thornton — a fellow rugby player and classmate at Davidson — for introducing him to the sport. Martinez-Tapia and Thornton were teammates on the Wildcats’ football team.

Martinez-Tapia played two seasons of football at the varsity level. He was a defensive lineman this fall.

“Football helped me get ready for rugby,” Martinez-Tapia said. “It was incredible. Hilliard Davidson is a heck of a program. With (weight)lifting, running and every single thing that we did, it helped me throughout my sports career. The program (that) coach (Brian) White has is incredible.”

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@ThisWeekFrank