We were first introduced to RUGBYMag High School Player of the Year Megan Pinson back in 2011, when Fallbrook High School unseated the reigning high school champion 60-0 in the national final. The Southern California native had been playing rugby since age 11, and was just starting to garner national age-grade interest when the Warriors won the first of its three consecutive titles.
Pinson broke out in 2011, but by 2013, the flanker had become one of the most recognizable players in high school rugby – and not just because she typically towers over her teammates and opponents. Fast, aggressive, smart, you never know where you're going to see Pinson. She could be driving a ballcarrier back behind the gainline, setting up the line at flyhalf, kicking a penalty to touch or even lining up a dropgoal.
Pinson has won every accolade that a high school player could attain, from captain, to state and national titles, to all-tournament teams and championship MVP. But the 2012-13 season was especially significant, as Pinson was one of two founding members who were graduating that spring.
“It’s definitely an end of an era for us,” Fallbrook coach Craig Pinnell said after the 2013 championship win. “For those [graduating] players, to be able to finish it off on a high, that means a lot to the team. That’s where the team’s focus was.”
The Warriors wanted to win this May's championship for Pinson (and Irayda Macedo, the other founding member), and they did so in convincing fashion: 41-0 v Danville in the quarterfinals, 33-0 v Catholic Memorial in the semifinals, and 55-10 v Kent in the final.
So many new and up-and-coming players are coming out of Fallbrook, and Pinson has played a hand in their success – and her legacy continues to inspire not only former teammates but young rugby players everywhere. Pinson represents the developing “American rugby dream,” landing a scholarship to play rugby at American International College (Mass.), along with former High School Player of the Year Cassidy Meyers. She prefaced the East Coast relocation with a tour to England for the biennial U20 Nations Cup, where she played lock in all four matches during the junior Eagles’ runner-up finish. Pinson was one of six high schoolers chosen to represent the USA.
Pinson was the best player on the best team in the country, both in skill and leadership. And we’re certain to see her in award categories in the future.