McQueen’s Gaels

Last year’s top OUA rookie is back at Nixon — and getting better

The Gaels have tallied 140 points through three games, led by McQueen’s 24.
The Gaels have tallied 140 points through three games, led by McQueen’s 24.
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Adam McQueen is following in the footsteps of a superstar teammate.

Despite sitting out for Queen’s 30-0 win over RMC last Saturday, the second-year men’s rugby player currently leads the OUA in individual scoring.

His 24 points puts him three up on Gaels back Liam Underwood — a senior national team player who once made a similarly immediate impact at Queen’s. Both players won the OUA Rookie of the Year award in their first season: Underwood in 2009 and McQueen last year.

While Underwood missed most of Queen’s 2012 campaign due to club commitments, McQueen thrived upon arrival, quickly becoming an integral part of the Gaels’ OUA championship roster.

“I could tell when I came here that there was pretty good camaraderie,” McQueen said. “The guys helped me fit in right away.”

In addition to his rookie exploits, McQueen spent last year as a non-traveling reserve for Canada’s Under-20 squad.

He also splits his time on the pitch with the Prairie Wolf Pack — a Calgary-based club team that competes in the Canadian Rugby Championship through the summer and into September.

Born in England, McQueen started playing rugby at the age of seven, giving him an advantage over many Canadians, who typically start playing in high school.

Queen’s was a natural fit for McQueen, settling for a school with high academic standards and a consistently strong rugby program.

“I had heard great things about head coach Peter Huigenbos and his coaching abilities,” he said. “It was an easy decision.”

The 5’11”, 180-lb McQueen typically starts at fly half — Underwood’s old spot in the lineup — but has the versatility to play a number of positions. Often used as the Gaels’ kicker after tries, his seven conversions this season lead the OUA.

While McQueen’s accomplishments have been impressive so far, it may just be the sign of bigger things to come for the 19 year old.

“The main goal is team success. It’d be pretty cool to win back-to-back OUA titles in my first two years here,” he said. “Once I complete my degree at Queen’s I’d definitely be interested at playing professionally ... it depends on how much I improve my game.”

McQueen’s success comes as no surprise to his coach.

“He’s got a great attitude every day and works hard,” Huigenbos said. “He’s got a lot of gifts on both sides of the ball.”

Huigenbos listed ball-handling and decision-making as two of McQueen’s offensive strengths, while noting his tenacity as his reason for his defensive success.

“He’s never one to back down from any sort of challenge,” Huigenbos said.

Continuing their momentum from last year’s championship season, the Gaels have started the year 3-0, outscoring their opponents 140-0.

McQueen and his teammates will face their biggest test of the year this Saturday in London. Both Queen’s and the Western Mustangs enter their regular-season matchup with unblemished records.

“You never like to lose,” said Huigenbos. “Every week we’re looking to get better and play good rugby.”

Queen’s in London — Sept. 28

SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE

McQueen and his teammates haven’t allowed a point through three games. Tomorrow, they’ll face the unbeaten Western Mustangs, who have averaged 31 points per game this season.

LAST MEETING

Queen’s hasn’t lost in over a year, with their last defeat coming on Sept. 22, 2012. Western beat them 22-20 that day on a last-second kick at Nixon Field.

STANDOUT STARS

Seven Gaels sit in the top 16 of the OUA scoring race, led by McQueen’s 24. Western has three in that upper echelon, including third-year back Mike Turnbull, who’s one point back of McQueen.

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