BE grad hopes to make 2020 U.S. Olympic rugby team
Khyle Mingo’s rugby garb includes a helmet with an American flag design that, in the fashion world, clashes with the teal, gold and black of his Coastal Carolina Chanticleers uniform.
Next year, Mingo hopes to wear a uniform that features red, white and blue. Mingo, a Daniel Island resident and 2016 graduate of Bishop England High School, is attempting to gain a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team that will compete in the Summer Games, which are slated for Tokyo.
He has spent time this summer working out with other aspiring Olympians who are bidding for a spot on the American team.
“I, personally, would like to play for our Olympic team,” said Mingo, a rising junior at CCU. “It would be a lot of fun, but I know there are a lot of talented players and it will be tough to make the team. It’s my dream. But I think any athlete dreams of having the stars and stripes on their chest.”
Mingo comes from an athletic and competitive family. His parents, Kevin and Krista, exposed Mingo and his five siblings to the more traditional sports - hockey, football and basketball - when they were growing up.
Mingo played football at BE and it was during his experience with that sport that he got his first taste of rugby. A teammate brought the oval-shaped rugby ball to football practice and some of the players were intrigued.
The rest is history.
Mingo played for the Bishops’ club team and continues to compete in the sport after matriculating to Coastal Carolina.
Rugby is a club sport at the college level because of insurance costs. For college athletes, the sport is governed by U.S. Rugby and is played at three levels: Divisions I, II and III.
If you are not a rugby aficionado, there are two variants of the sport. The traditional sport, known as rugby union, originated in England, and features teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end of the field. There are more than 3.5 million players and 180,000 clubs.
The Olympic version, known as rugby sevens, features teams of seven players and the game consists of two seven-minute halves, instead of two 40-minute halves.
If rugby isn’t in Mingo’s future after college, don’t worry. He has a solid backup plan. He’s focused on nursing and public health after graduating from Coastal Carolina.
“My mother was a nurse,” Mingo responded when asked about his interest in the nursing professions. “One day, my big dream is to run a hospital.”
That would give Mingo the complete picture of healthcare from the business side and the healing side.
“Things are always changing,” Mingo said. “An ACL injury used to take 12 months to recover from. Now, it’s seven to eight months because of advances in technology.”
Mingo admits he wasn’t a model student at BE because he transferred from Connecticut and found BE more difficult than his former high school. He’s sporting a 3.65 GPA at CCU and is a regular on the dean’s list.