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Maddi's in the fast Lane of rugby

By Neil H. Devlin
Mullen Sports Information Specialist

Maddi Lane Ioves rugby like no other. It’s the sport she loves, even if it appears it’s not that popular in the U.S. and that it’s not for everyone. However, she and her father can’t understand why.

So when Maddi Lane, a senior-to-be at Mullen, suits up and hits the rugby pitch for one of her three teams, it’s about as much fun as the 17-year-old has experienced.  “I love rugby because it’s a super-fun sport and I think it’s different from any other sport just because, how do I describe it, there’s a lot more camaraderie between a single team and its opponent.”

On a rugby team, she said, “we have become a whole family. Everyone cares about each other. The most-important person on the field is the person next to you. It’s never about yourself.  You have to handle it respectfully and you don’t see it in any other sport. It’s what my dad did since he was little.”  And well into his adult years … say hello to Darryl Lane, Maddi’s father, who came to the U.S. through rugby, has stayed here, raised his family with the game’s ideals and still coaches it.

“I was born in New Zealand and it’s everywhere and everything,” the elder Lane said of rugby. ”My buddy and I went to Australia on vacation and we started playing on the way back. It’s a way of life where I come from … and it should be here.”  Maddi Lane has learned to balance as well as incorporate rugby into everyday life. For instance, she has a 4.1 grade-point average. She has won three Torch awards, a high-end Mullen academic honor. Played basketball for two seasons. Has played tennis for three and there will be a fourth. Student ambassador. National Honor Society. Subject awards. Community service.

And then there’s actually competing in rugby. She plays on three teams after beginning at age 6. The Westside Swarm Rugby Club includes high-school girls from multiple schools – it’s not a state-sanctioned sport – and it won state titles during her freshman and sophomore years. Playing in the fall, the 7s team (as opposed to 15 players on the field) didn’t threepeat the past fall p- it was second -- but Lane was an all-stater and among her team’s top scorers.

As for the Rocky Mountain Rebels, they are a top travelling team and Lane was named all-tournament. Plus, as a member of the Rugby Colorado All-State Team, which can lead to higher honors, notably All-America status and significant college recruiting, Lane was named Rocky Mountain Challenge all-tournament. In 15s and 7s, she plays scrumhalf, flanker, hooker and flyhalf.

Who says females can’t be physical, even at 5-foot-3, 140 pounds?  “That’s the part, it’s, like, fun for me and one of the biggest things that draws me,” Lane said. “The rules are exactly the same for boys and girls.  “It’s not physical, like hurting each other, but full contact is super fun. It gives you that release of energy and you’re putting your whole body into it.”  A game that is about as honest as it gets and was invented in England in the 1800s can both benefit from and help others, Darryl Lane said.

“Girls play basketball and get great hands and in soccer they get help in kicking the ball,” he said. “And for boys, wrestling is good for them because it makes them better tacklers. And soccer helps them open the field.”  The elder Lane came to North America in 1988 touring with a club team from his hometown of Wellington and played in Canada, Chicago and Kansas City. He met his future wife and Maddi’s mother, Karen, who was at Kansas State, and they decided to relocate to either Colorado or Portland.  And he now finds himself coaching six teams, including his daughter. And son Tucker will be a Mustangs freshman in August. Dealing with rugby parents is the same as dealing with any other sports parents and coaching your kid can come with baggage, even self-induced.

“Sometimes I think coaching your kid, I think they have a little more leeway with you and sometimes they can be a pain,” Darryl Kane said. “But she’s been a a big part of this team and she pleaded with me to do it.”

And it comes with additional awards.  “I’ve had nine girls graduate the last two years and seven got scholarships,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons I do it, to get the girls to the next level.”

One may be his daughter.  “I definitely think playing rugby will be in my future,” Maddi lane said. “I’m looking at colleges, seeing where I could get a scholarship, a Division I school or not ... I don’t know yet what kind of (major) I want, wherever where ever the opportunities may lie.”


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Athletics Office

Athletic Director
Mr. Vince Massey
303.761.1764 Ext. 3314

Vince Massey joined the Mullen Community in the Fall of 1995. He has served as a classroom teacher, dean of students, and currently serves as Athletic Director and Director of Safety and Security. When not at Mullen, Vince enjoys spending time with his wife Jessica and his three kids, Danielle, Jacob and Joey.


Associate Athletic Director
Mr. Hank Hooper
303.761.1764 Ext. 3316

Hank is in his 18th year at Mullen High School. Prior to arriving at Mullen, Hank taught and coached at Little Rock Catholic High School in Arkansas for 6 years and then Dallas Jesuit in Texas for 71/2 years. At Mullen Hank taught English and coached football for 14 years before transitioning into an administrative role. Hank has worked in the Athletic Department as Dean of Athletic Renewal, Assitant Athletic Director, Interim Athletic Director, and currently as Associate Athletic Director. Hank and his wife Pam have two children both of whom are Mullen grads, Lindsay ('07) and Patrick ('04). Lindsay is the Registrar at Mullen High School and is also the Mullen POMs dance team's head coach. Patrick and his wife Heather both work for the NHL's San Jose Sharks where Patrick is the Digital Media Manager and Heather is the Shark's Foundation Director. They, also, became proud parents in March of this year to Graysen Rhea Hooper.

Associate Athletic Director
Mr. Duan Ruff
303.761.1764 Ext. 3318

Duan is a Husband, Father, Brother, Son, Teacher, Associate Athletic Director and Certified Yoga Instructor. He has a spouse and four children, and loves to spend time outdoors, engage in community service and believes in living a complete healthy lifestyle. The Ruff parents are vegan, while his kids are vegetarian.  Duan earned his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a minor in Economics from Colorado State University. He also has earned an MBA from the University of Phoenix. He has more than 10 years of teaching and administrative experience as well as 4 years teaching and working in diversity, social justice and retention at CSU as the Assistant Director of the Black African-American Cultural Center. In addition, the former Mustangs star player can create and implement mentoring programs, leadership programs and large-scale conferences, retreats and symposiums. Most of all, Duan enjoys being a support system and consults with others about the appropriate lifestyle.


Karen Lane

Administrative Assistant
303.761.1764 Ext. 3319




Director of Sports Medicine
Mr. Joey Mahmood
303.761.1764 Ext. 3343

Joey Mahmood joined the Mullen community as a teacher and the head athletic trainer in the fall of 2011. Joey currently is the Director of Sports Medicine, the Department Chair of Physical Education and teaches physical education and science classes. Joey considers himself lucky to be able to help student athletes stay healthy during competition and then teach students in the classroom how to take care of themselfs and others. When Joey isn't at Mullen he is spending time with his wife Michele, two sons Dino and Enzo and his two dogs, Duke and Trigger.



Sports Information Specialist
Mr. Neil Devlin

A native of Phoenixville, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia, Devlin has covered high-school sports in Colorado for 38 years through newspapers, television, magazines and the Internet. A former participant in four prep sports at St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, Pa., began his role as Sports Information Specialist at Mullen in 2017 and has been inducted into various scholastic halls of fame and won numerous writing awards. Devlin occupies the only full-time sports-information position at a high school in the state. Also a contributor to other media outlets in the Denver area as well as other spots in Colorado that helps promote Mullen athletics, his goal is to turn the Mullen Broadcasting Network (MBN) into a class within the curriculum, to expand the network and website, and ensure it’s a student-run operation.




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