Philadelphia, Pa. – On Friday, November 25th, for the third year in a row, local high school and collegiate rugby players will participate in the Josias A. Sterling Memorial “Apple Pie 7s” Rugby Tournament to honor the memory of Josias A. Sterling, the former St. Joseph’s Prep High School and Temple University player lost his life when swept away by a riptide in July 2009.
Previously featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Rugby Magazine, this annual tournament has had tremendous growth over the past three years. It is the primary fundraising vehicle for the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program which provides 100 at-risk youth with scholarship funding each year to attend six-week aquatic education sessions at the Salvation Army’s Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Philadelphia. Legendary swimming coach Jim Ellis, inspiration of the 2007 film Pride, will be attending this year’s event to represent the work that is being done at the Community Center in conjunction with the Josias A. Sterling Aquatic Education Program.
“It is the wishes of Marie and Jean Sterling, along with our hope and intent, to transform a terrible tragedy into something extremely positive,” said Bill Gregory, one of Josias’ former coaches, friend of the Sterling family and event organizer. “We are making this possible through our commitment to provide swim lessons to children in need. The Josias A. Sterling Memorial Fund is providing $50,000 over the next 5 years to give 500 children and their families the opportunity to receive aquatic education with the ultimate goal of avoiding another drowning tragedy.”
The 3rd Annual Josias A. Sterling Memorial “Apple Pie 7s” Rugby Tournament is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 25th, from Noon to 4pm at Edgely Field in East Fairmount Park. The teams, made up of high school and collegiate rugby players, will compete in quick, action-packed seven-on-seven 14-minute matches. For the first time, the 3rd Annual Tournament will include women teams.