Seattle Seawolves & Garrett Bender
The Seattle Seawolves signed 2016 Olympian and USA Eagles Sevens player Garrett Bender for the inaugural 2018 Major League Rugby season.
Garrett grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and will be 26 years old this weekend. He is 6’4″ tall and weighs 225 pounds.
Bender attended Washburn High School, where he played linebacker in football and back row in rugby. He helped lead Washburn High School rugby to a State Championship while serving as team captain and state MVP. He also was All-Conference and All-Metro in rugby.
Garrett was then recruited to play football for St. Cloud State in 2010 and after playing one season, He decided to pursue rugby as his sport of choice.
Bender played for the Eastside Banshees at the 2011 Men’s Club 7s National Championship and there he was noticed by selectors for the Midwest All-Star Sevens team. That earned him an invitation to the Men’s Eagles Sevens 2011 camp and ultimately to being contracted as an Eagles Sevens player in 2012.
Garrett excelled in rugby sevens and was part of the first Cup-winning Eagles 7s team on the HSBC World Sevens Series at the end of the 2014-15 season in London. The following year he helped the team qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games at the 2015 NACRA Sevens Championships, and followed that up with a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games. During the 2015-16 Series, he appeared in 39 of the U.S.’s 57 matches and was named to the 12-man Team USA squad for Rio 2016 Olympics.
After the Olympics, Garrett returned to Minneapolis, where he was involved in the Metropolis Rugby Youth Academy as a coach. He also traveled to the 2017Las Vegas Invitational Tournament assisting both the US Air Force 7s Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams as a coach. He also coached the Minneapolis Rugby 7s team, with the Women’s team qualifying for USA Rugby Nationals.
This past Fall, Garrett attended an Eagles 7s Camp at Chula Vista, California.
Seattle Seawolves Coach & Player Comments
The Seattle Seawolves Head Coach Tony Healy said in a team release that Garrett Bender is “a voracious tackler and a dynamic ball runner. Garrett’s skill set will lend nicely to the exciting, attacking style of rugby that the Seawolves will aspire to play.”
Bender is ready for his new journey, saying, “I’m very excited to be joining the Seattle Seawolves family. I think Seattle is an amazing place and I’m really looking forward to being a part of something new and exciting! I can’t wait to meet my teammates and get to work on the road to winning the first MLR championship.”
Seattle Seawolves Rugby
- Curry Hitchborn – Rugby Development Director
- Matthew Turner – Operations Director & Player
- Brian Jones – Chief Commercial Officer
- Phil Mack – Player/Coach
- Tony Healy – Head Coach
- Ray Barkwill – Hooker
- Olive Kilifi – Prop
- Eric Duechle – Backrow
- Shalom Suniula – Flyhalf
- John Clavin – Advisory Board
- George Barton – Center
- Aladdin Schirmer – Backrow
- Brock Staller – Outside Center
- Jeremy Lenaerts – Lock
- Riekert Hattingh – Eight-man
- Garrett Bender – Backrow