RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Perhaps because of the physical nature of the sport, the emotional bond among rugby players is tighter than many other sports. Ridgefield’s Ryan Meegan shared that bond with his teammates at the University of Connecticut.
Meegan, a 19-year-old sophomore, died Friday in a car accident about 10 miles from the UConn campus. Meegan and Alana Ferrante, also 19, died at the scene after the car in which they were riding collided with a tractor-trailer on Route 66 in Columbia. The afternoon accident closed the roadway.
Meegan played club soccer and rugby at UConn. He played soccer at Ridgefield High School.
A post on the UConn Rugby website said: "On Friday our rugby team didn't just lose a player but a brother. It's hard to talk about Ryan without bringing up his sense of humor and his upbeat personality. No matter the situation he always managed to find a way to smile and that smile was contagious. Whether we had a long fitness session or a tough loss he always knew how to lift the team's spirit.
“He was a hardworking, eager, and committed player and a great friend,’’ the statement said. “He was coaches' and players' ideal teammate .. qualities not found too often nowadays. This was an incredibly tragic accident but our team will always remember Ryan and honor his memory. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ryan's friends and family in this difficult time."
At Ridgefield, Meegan was a midfielder for the soccer team and helped the Tigers to earn a piece of the Class LL state championship in 2013. After losing in the conference championship game to Greenwich -- the Tigers' only loss all year -- Ridgefield stormed back to earn a share of the Class LL title. It was the Tigers fourth state title and first since 2007.
Meegan was a pre-teaching major and mentor in UConn’s First Year Experience Program
Ferrante was a pre-kinesiology major and a transfer from Central Connecticut State University.
The team called Meegan a "bright, talented, and hardworking young man who could make anyone smile. It's hard to believe you were taken from us this soon, you will be missed. #RIP Ryan."
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