Former Gents player helps USA Sevens qualify for Rio |

Former Gents player helps USA Sevens qualify for Rio

A former rugby player with the Gentlemen of Aspen helped the USA Eagles Sevens rugby team qualify for the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Carlin Isles, who started his club rugby career in Aspen, and his USA teammates won the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships title last weekend in Cary, North Carolina, beating Canada 21-5 in the final to earn a berth in the Olympic Games when sevens rugby makes its modern-era debut in Rio.

The U.S. team went undefeated in the weekend tournament, with Isles credited for a series of key plays in the final.

The U.S. squad twice had to play a man down with Isles making a game-saving tackle while the Americans were shorthanded.

The USA Eagles Sevens opened the weekend tournament with a 54-0 win over Barbados followed by a 50-0 win over Mexico.

Jamaica fell to the U.S. 40-5 before the cup semifinal against the Cayman Islands.

Isles and his U.S. teammates rolled past the Cayman Islands 64-0 to set up the final against Canada.

Acknowledged as “the fastest man in rugby,” Isles is a former college football standout at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio. He also earned all-America honors in track at Ashland.

The 5-8, 165-pound speedster was an outstanding high school athlete at Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio, where he still holds school records in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the long jump.

He was timed at 4.28 seconds for the 40-yard dash as a senior in high school.

He turned to rugby after college, launching his career with the Gentlemen of Aspen in 2012 and 2013.

He immediately advanced to the U.S. team. And he’s played in 20 international games representing USA Rugby.

Isles also is under contract with the Glasgow Warriors professional rugby club.

The USA Eagles Sevens team next will head to the Pan-American Games in Toronto, opening July 10.

Full-side (15 players per side) rugby has been in the Olympic Games, most recently in 1924.

Next year will mark the debut of rugby sevens at the Olympics.

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