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7 Of Team USA's Youth Olympians Will Go From Buenos Aires To The College Athletics Scene

By Leah Jenk | Oct. 05, 2018, 4:19 p.m. (ET)

Rhyan White is a freshman swimmer at the University of Alabama.


In the past, Team USA’s Youth Olympians have gone on to win world and Olympic medals, play in the WNBA and compete at tennis’ Grand Slams. The world is their oyster and it’s anyone guess what the future holds for the 87 athletes on the 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Team who will compete from Oct. 16-18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

But for seven of those athletes, they know what their immediate future holds after the Games: college. Take a look at the some of the standout college freshmen who will represent Team USA before returning to school. 

Alex Cleary, Rugby Sevens
Cleary is one of the top up-and-coming rugby players for the U.S. He will serve as both the captain for the 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Men’s Rugby Team and the Opening Ceremony flag bearer for the United States. Collegiately, Cleary will compete for Central Washington University this upcoming season, which is currently ranked No. 13 by the D1-A rugby coaches and media poll. Cleary’s athleticism as a rugby player, all-state wrestler and linebacker comes from his dad, a former collegiate rugby player. Clearly takes the field Oct. 13-15.

Jasper Green, Rugby Sevens
Green is entering his freshman year where he will major in economics and play rugby at Dartmouth College, the 11-time consecutive Ivy League champion. While Green was born in San Francisco, he spent much of his youth in London, where he played rugby for St. Paul’s School, one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world. Green returned to the U.S. to play on the U17 national team and will compete once again for Team USA Oct. 13-15.

Kaitlin Knifton, Rowing
Knifton, a freshman at the University of Texas, will compete in the women’s pair next week in Buenos Aires. Knifton placed second at the 2018 U.S. Youth National Championships and third at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships in August. Following her stint on the Youth Olympic Team, she will join the Longhorns rowers, who have won four straight Big 12 titles and placed third at last year’s NCAA national championship. Catch Knifton in action for the red, white and blue Oct. 7-10.

Isaia Kruse, Rugby Sevens
Kruse, a freshman at California State University-Fresno, will look to help the Bulldogs to the D1-AA national championship, where they previously competed in 2017. Kruse comes from a family of six siblings who all play rugby, including his older brother, Mika, who plays professionally for the Glendale Raptors. Kruse and his teammates will lace up against France on Oct. 13 and continue play through October 15.

Jon Rodriguez, Rugby Sevens
Rodriguez is entering his freshman year at St. Bonaventure University, where he plans to major in psychology. St. Bonaventure enters this rugby season ranked No. 18 in the D1-A rugby coaches and media poll, and Rodriguez will certainly help. He goes by the nickname “Shifty” as he is known for his speed and sly maneuvers of the field. Catch the Queens, New York, native in action Oct. 13-15.

Lindsey Sparks, Beach Volleyball
A versatile defender and highly accomplished high school athlete, Sparks will play beach volleyball for the University of California, Los Angeles Bruins this spring. During her high school indoor career, she played three positions (opposite, setter, outside hitter) and led her team to the California Division I state championship. Sparks has quickly found success in the sand after transitioning to beach volleyball; she’s already won the best of beach tournament, AAU nationals and AAU junior Olympics. Sparks and teammate Devon Newberry play Oct. 7-17 in Buenos Aires.

Rhyan White, Swimming
White began her swimming career at the University of Alabama as an already-accomplished backstroker who qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. She is a member of the U.S. junior national team and her best time in the 200 backstroke would already qualify her for the A final at the SEC championships. In her first meet with the Crimson, White showed her versatility by winning the 100 and 200 butterfly. Watch for White to take the world stage with Team USA Oct. 7-12 in the pool.

Related Athletes

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Rhyan White

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Lindsey Sparks

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Jon Rodriguez

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Isaia Kruse

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Kaitlin Knifton

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Jasper Green

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Alex Cleary