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For more than a decade, St.

Thomas Rugby has stood as the

state’s standard for championship

performance ... and championship

spirit and class whenever the

Eagles were involved.

What Assistant Coach Brett Mills

calls “the program’s signature

event” came on Round-Up Sunday,

just a half dozen games into the

regular season, when the Eagles

once again played proud in pink.  

The annual Lady Hager Cup

resumed when STH hosted

Philadelphia St. Joseph’s Prep

at Hotze Field inside Granger

Stadium, the seventh year the

program has helped raise valuable

dollars and create much needed

awareness for the fight against

breast cancer.

“It has become a tradition of

who we are.  Not so much about

St. Thomas rugby ... something

bigger than St. Thomas rugby.   It’s

a great way to give back to our

community,” Mills said.

The Lady Hager Cup is a tribute

to Mills’ grandmother, Bernice

Hager, who was stricken with the

disease and passed in 2007.  Mills

was traveling with the U.S. national

team in London and heard of

Newcastle United FC adopting

pink jerseys to support the

campaign against breast cancer.

In recent years, professional

leagues across the globe and

assorted NCAA programs have

continued a strong “think pink”

trend that STH Rugby had already


“It was sitting in the back of my

head for awhile.  I just thought it

would be a way to honor not just

my family but a great way for the

guys to learn empathy for a disease

that affects so many lives,” Mills


Many Eagle players purchased

their jerseys from the game as

a contribution to the ongoing

fight.  Other STH gear made

available through the school’s

Eagle Store, along with the sale

of commemorative t-shirts and

additional outside fundraising,

grew the 2015 contribution to

$2,000.  There also is the priceless

dividend that spreads throughout

the program.

“This brings our boys and their

mothers closer together.  We’ll

see grandmothers and aunts at

the game.  It’s a special night for

St. Thomas for so many reasons,”

Mills said.

Among those who have felt the

ugly effects of breast cancer is

Mills’s coaching compadre Jim

Wolfinger, whose mother was

diagnosed twice.  Since 2008, the

Lady Hager Cup has generated

more than $70,000 through the

consistent efforts of coaches, staff

and supporters.

Breast cancer deaths in the United

States have dropped dramatically

in the past two decades - the result

of advanced treatment, earlier

detection ... and greater awareness.

“Brilliant idea by Brett.  Young

men doing selfless things for

others.  What’s great is how the

guys have really responded.  They

look forward to this game as much

as any we will play all season.  It’s

service.  And any contribution to

help find a cure, make someone’s

life just a little bit better, is a great

lesson to learn,” Wolfinger said.  

Lady Hager Cup Again


aises Dollars and Awareness

in Fight Against Breast Cancer


Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Pardee