1977 MENS & 2017 WOMENS TEAMS RECOGNIZED, HIGGINS SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED, RON BASS AND LIN PRICE INDUCTED TO FOUNDERS CLUB–HIGH SCHOOL ALL AMERICAN COACH HOLDS TALENT ID CAMP AT CAL POLY

In a huge weekend for the club, the 2017 founders dinner was held Saturday (10/7) evening at the San Luis Obispo Legion Post, following the hosting of a highly successful West Coast 7s SLO tournament on campus.

At the Founders dinner, two teams were recognized for their contributions to the club. The 1977 team is regarded as one of Cal Poly’s great rugby teams and includes some of the club’s most influential men, including Founders Club members Charles Zanoli, Doug Smith, Marty Self and coach Phil Northcraft. The ’77 team won the prestigious Santa Barbara tournament, then consider the pinnacle of rugby on the West Coast. The team also made international headlines with their tour of Fiji.

The trailblazing 2017 women’s team were the first female team to compete as Cal Poly in the 50+ years history of the club. Coaches TJ Olsen and Jo Abshner highlighted the journey from formation to competitive rugby team all within a single year. The ladies were presented their jerseys by 1977 team coach Dr Northcraft.

Marshall Brusca and Nico Thayer were presented as winners of the Higgins Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded annually to the 2nd year back and forward who best represent Kevin Higgins’ legacy of rugby, academic success and clubmanship. Gary Higgins and several members of the Higgins family were on hand to present the award to Marshall and Nico, who will be receive a cash bursary and the opportunity to travel to Australia for Summer 2018 for a work internship and an Australia rugby season.

Ron Bass and Lin Price (both members of the ’77 team) were inducted into the Founders Club, recognizing their enormous contributions to Cal Poly Rugby. Ron Bass is familiar to those who have attended previous Founders dinners, he has catered and cooked at more than 30 of the club’s fundraising dinners, accounting for tens of thousands in fundraising money. Ron, who played with the club between ’76 and ’78, still lives in San Luis Obispo and remains involved with the club. The late, great Lin Price was a member of the 1977 team, and was inducted posthumously in the presence of his former team-mates. Lin was a large figure in the local rugby scene, as a Cal Poly great and as a member of the San Luis Obispo Rugby Club. In Lin’s name we compete for the annual Lin Price game between Cal Poly and SLORC.

To round out a showcase weekend for the club, High School All American coach Salty Thompson hosted an EIRA talent identification session on campus at Cal Poly on Sunday (10/8). Coach Thompson was assisted by Mustangs coach James Tesoriero and two of our club’s former EIRA graduates and High School All Americans, Senior Connor Cudeback and Freshman Pat Madden. Such talent identification camps are used as an entry point to the EIRA talent development program, and ultimately the High School All American program. Salty was happy with the young talent unveiled at this event, and plans to make the San Luis Obispo clinic an annual event.

 

 

CAL POLY DEFENDS HOME TURF AT WC7S SLO TOURNAMENT

The Cal Poly Rugby Club enjoyed a very successful home tournament in the first of two West Coast Sevens events. The club entered two teams, competing as Cal Poly in the Division 1 competition, and as Mustangs in Division 2. Both teams enjoyed highly successful tournaments, finishing a combined 6 wins and 1 loss in front of a large cohort of alumni, including most of the famed 1977 Cal Poly team.

Enjoying the strong home support, the Mustangs started with comfortable first up wins against the Gauchos (USCB B) and Broncos (Santa Clara B) teams in the Div 2 competition, scoring 9 combined tries and entertaining the home crowd. The final Div 2 match was far more competitive, facing a tough and athletic Claremont team. In the match’s closing moments Claremont led 17-12 with an attacking lineout deep in Mustangs territory. The Mustangs stole this lineout, fed Bill Campuzano for a midfield break and a try assist to James Zanoli, who ran 60m to score a game-tying try. Bobby Kaehms cooly iced the winning conversion to secure a 19-17 win and an undefeated day for the development team. Coach TJ Olsen praised the depth in the program and identified Chip Jones, Jake Heene, Matt Hansell and Justin Lego as standouts for the Mustangs.

Div 2 Results
Match 1- Mustangs 26 def UCSB 0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaEDTyzWRmA&feature=youtu.be
Match 2- Mustangs 31 def Santa Clara 0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoAo4TCSRJI&feature=youtu.be
Match 3- Mustangs 19 def Claremont 17 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPVqLUpMFQU&feature=youtu.be

In the top division, Cal Poly were drawn in a difficult pool, alongside a dangerous Fresno St and the powerful Cal. The Poly team was clinical and disciplined in their first pool match against Fresno, dominating possession with conservative attacking play. Off the back off this possession advantage, and displaying excellent conditioning, Poly scored multiple tries late in both halves for a comfortable 32-10 win. Next up in pool play was Cal. To beat an elite opponent, mistakes needed to be minimized an a complete performance required. Poly was unfortunately short of this standard at kickoff and the breakdown, which proved the difference in the teams, Cal winning 31-7.

With a win and a loss from pool play, Cal Poly qualified for the Plate Semi-Final against a tricky UCSB team. The two teams had played ‘friendlies’ the week prior, and only a golden point try gave us the win on this occasion. An early kick and chase from rookie Spencer Bazar set up Connor Miller for the first Cal Poly try. A second try seemed certain until a dropped ball led to a 90m UCSB breakout score. A quick tap and quick recycling led to Connor Miller’s second try of the half. Cal Poly regained the kickoff following the Miller try, were awarded another penalty and again quick tapped for a score, to take a 19-7 lead into the half time break. UCSB scored first in the second half, and at 19-12 late in the the game, the match was tight and tense. Alex Wormer stole ball from a UCSB ruck and scored a long-range try to provide some breathing room for a 26-12 win.

The team was thrilled to qualify for the Plate Final, yet understood the job was not yet finished. Despite both teams playing their fourth matches of the day, the first half was played at a high tempo, with few whistles and stoppages. The UC Davis defense proved difficult to unlock, until four consecutive offloads in contact led to a Brandon Puccini try. The second try came easier, Connor Miller dancing through the defense to score for 14-0 lead. A UC Davis try before the halftime break and two more after, gave Davis a slim 15-14 lead, however Davis missing all three conversions would prove significant. With the game in the balance, Alex Wormer again stepped up with the decisive play. Wormer made a long break down the sideline, was held in contact and threw a spectacular reverse flick pass to rookie Spencer Bazar, who sidestepped a defender to score the Plate-winning try.

Alex Wormer was brilliant throughout the day, providing leadership, playmaking and veteran decision-making. When a big play was needed to get us out of a hole, Wormer was at his best. Rookies Pat Madden and Spencer Bazar continue to impress in their early involvements with the club. Connor Miller was also a top performer, scoring numerous individual tries through the day.

Div 1 Results
Pool Match 1- Cal Poly 32 def Fresno St 10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6nuxlYbUvU&feature=youtu.be

Pool Match 2- Cal 31 def Cal 7  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8huYCUkyAE&feature=youtu.be

Plate Semi Final- Cal Poly 26 def UCSB 12 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOy5rKm8FhY&feature=youtu.be

Plate Final- Cal Poly 19 def UC Davis 15 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvLJoycOY6w&feature=youtu.be

Cal Poly will take great confidence into the second West Coast 7s event in Treasure Island on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of October. We hope to see all our supporters, family and alumni at SFGG for this tournament.

Cal Poly Rugby Club Completes Scotland Tour

The Cal Poly Rugby Club have completed an 11 day tour of Scotland, visiting and playing matches in Edinburgh, Oban and Glasgow.

While in Edinburgh, the group visited the Edinburgh Castle, toured Murrayfield Stadium, watched a local Premiership match, competed in a traditional Highland games competition and participated in a training session led by current Scotland International players Hamish Watson and Sam Hidalgo-Clyne.


On tour day 4 (9/4), the group toured Murrayfield Stadium, the home of Scottish Rugby. We received a behinds-the-scene insight into the match preparations for the Scottish rugby team, including spending time in the change-rooms and on the playing pitch. On the same evening, we played the University of Edinburgh, losing a competitive match against a team considered the strongest University program in Scotland. Alex Wormer, Ryan Cooper, Nate Sylvia and Eddie McFarland were the leading performers for the Mustangs.


Between Edinburgh and Oban, the bus trip detoured through the Highlands, where the group were educated on William Wallace and the Wars of Scottish Independence. We visited the Wallace Monument in the city of Stirling and enjoyed a Haggis lunch en route to Oban.


In Oban (Day 6- 9/6) an inexperienced team featuring many of our younger tour members played out a thrilling 41-39 loss to Oban Lorne Rugby Club. With seven tries each, goal kicking was the difference in the scoreline, and our team had opportunities to win late in the match but were held out by a tough and experienced opposition. No. 8 Jerod Adams scored his first ever rugby try in a strong individual effort. Isaac Stoll and Nico Thayer were also strong performers in the forward pack, while John Imobersteg tackled well above his weight from halfback and wing.


Day 7 (9/7) the boys completed a grueling yet enjoyable day of canyoning outside of Oban. The players scaled a river and waded through icy waters in a tough yet rewarding team-building day. The guys relaxed afterwards with a tour of the Oban whiskey distillery and a team dinner on Oban harbor. 

The tour group has completed the final leg of the tour in Glasgow, spending three nights in Glasgow and playing a final tour match against the University of Glasgow (Day 8- 9/8). We fielded a near full-strength team against the University of Glasgow, who are rated as one of the top University rugby programs in Scotland. 

In typically wet Scottish conditions, our team struggled to hold onto possession early, providing Glasgow with most of the early ball and field position. We found ourselves down 19-7 at the half-time break, with an Alex Wormer try and conversion our only points. Despite losing key forward Salvador Guevara to a nasty facial laceration just before halftime, the team felt we were still very much in contention at the break.

The Mustangs gained control of the match in the second half, off the back of a dominant scrummaging performance. With scrum ascendency, the team felt more confident throwing the ball around and as a result more passes started to stick, allowing us some continuity in attack. The Glasgow defense was very strong, however, and good enough to hold us out for most of the final half. With 10 minutes left in the match a very crafty and accurate cross-field kick from Corey McGrillen hit winger Marshall Brusca on the chest for a try. An unsuccessful conversion left us within a converted try (7 points) for the remainder of the match. We had a few opportunities to score a late try to even the match, but the University of Glasgow defense remained tough, and their more experienced players wound the clock down with repeated set pieces, for a disappointing but respectable 19-12 loss.


Day 9 (9/9) saw the group attend a Pro14 match between the Glasgow Warriors and Welsh team Ospreys. It was the first live professional rugby some of the guys had seen, and we were very impressed by the speed, physicality and skill level of the match, won by the hometown Warriors.


To conclude the tour, we spent our final day (Day 10- 9/10) enjoying a speedboat tour of Loch Lamond. We made a number of stops around the scenic Loch for lunch and some well earned beers.

The tour group travel home (Day 11- 9/11) weary, but in good sprits. Strong personal bonds were formed during our time away, we have learned many cultural lessons, and been immersed in a very high standard of rugby during the tour. We hope to take these experienced into the upcoming season, which promises to be a successful one for the Mustangs.

Three Cal Poly Rugby players named to All-Conference team

Three Cal Poly Rugby players earned All-Conference honors, Dustin Mollard, Alex Wormer and Connor Cudeback (from left to right)

Junior prop Connor Cudeback, senior #8 Dustin Mollard and junior inside center Alex Wormer all earned spots on the California All-Conference 2nd team.

For Cudeback and Mollard, this is their first time getting All-Conference honors. Cudeback was also named an All-American Honorable Mention last season.

For Wormer, this is his second time receiving a spot on the All-Conference list, after being named to the 1st team last season. Both Cudeback and Wormer figure to be prominent leaders in the forward pack and back line respectively for next season.

Dustin Mollard after laying a hit on the sideline against Saint Mary’s. Photo Dan Dempster

Dustin Mollard will graduate with a Communications Studies degree in June. He has a job lined up with Altec Construction Inc. in Sacramento. Mollard doesn’t have immediate plans to continue his rugby career, but says that if the USA Eagles contact him, he “wouldn’t be able to say no”.

Mollard battled injury throughout the season, but still proved to be an impact player throughout the season. Hard, elusive running and big hits were not uncommon when Mollard was on the pitch.

Cudeback against Saint Mary’s in April. Photo Dan Dempster

Connor Cudeback is currently unsure of his plans for the summer, but will surely be training for the following season. Cudeback missed most of last fall recovering from an ankle break and ensuing surgery from last March. Cudeback returned in January to bolster an already-strong forward pack and helped make the front three one of the most formidable in the conference. He will lead the front three next year with prop Nate Sylvia and hooker Eddie McFarland graduating.

“It’s awesome to be acknowledged as one of the best in California after injury keeping me out for about 10 months,” Cudeback said. He also gives credit to SDSU’s Gil Covey and Saint Mary’s Henry Hall for earning first team honors.

Alex Wormer blocks a kick against UCSB in March. Photo Dan Dempster

Alex Wormer will intern with Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo. over the summer. He plans to practice with the Denver Barbarians 7s squad, hoping to earn some selections in a very competitive pool of players.

“I was pretty surprised when I heard,” Wormer said about earning an All-Conference spot, “I’m honored to be selected for the second year in a row.”

Wormer will be the most veteran player in the back line for next season, with the departures of scrumhalf Chris Codding, flyhalf Corey McGrillen and center/fullback Mark Grzanich.

As senior players, Connor Cudeback and Alex Wormer will hope to lead the Mustangs back into the playoffs next season.

Cal Poly vs. San Diego State moved to Arroyo Grande

Photo Daniel Dempster

UPDATE: The 1st XV kickoff has been moved forward to 1:30 PM

 

Cal Poly will play #9 San Diego State this Saturday, April 8th at Talley Field in Arroyo Grande, Calif. The Mustangs have a 2-2 conference record and have split results in the last two games, losing to UCSB 27-22 and beating Sacramento State 81-0.

The match was moved off-campus due to expected rain on Friday.

Cal Poly lost their last match to San Diego State 13-8 in a friendly match in January.

The Mustangs will play with a playoff spot on the line. With a win, the Mustangs will advance to the D1A playoffs. A loss would end Cal Poly’s season.

If the Mustangs win, they will likely play Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colorado in the first round of the postseason.

The match against San Diego State this Saturday will kickoff at 1:30 PM at Talley Fields (4055 Lopez Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA).

The B-Side will play after at 3:00 PM.

 

Match times and location vs. UCSB

#20 Cal Poly will travel down to Isla Vista, Calif. to play UCSB in a California Conference match this Saturday, March 11.

The 1st XV will kickoff at 2:30 PM at Harder Stadium on UCSB campus.

The 2nd XV will follow at 4:15 PM.

Map to venue:

Cal Poly 1st XV starting lineup:

1 Connor Cudeback
2 Eddie McFarland
3 Nathan Sylvia
4 Reece Erickson
5 Jake Heene
6 Aaron Arenas
7 Sam Bradley
8 Dustin Mollard
9 Chris Codding
10 Corey McGrillen
11 Brandon Puccini
12 Alex Wormer
13 Mark Grzanich
14 Ivy Adair
15 Ryan Cooper

Previously cancelled Sacramento State match rescheduled to March 18th

Cal Poly’s conference match against Sacramento State, originally scheduled for early February but was cancelled due to weather, has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 18 with a 2:15 PM kickoff.

This will be the first contest between the two teams since Sacramento State joined the D1A California Conference this season.

The match is currently set to be played at the Lower Sports Complex on Cal Poly campus (off of Highland Drive and Via Carta). Venue is subject to change as previous matches were.

Cal Poly loses to Saint Mary; face bye week before UC Santa Barbara

Cal Poly drops to 1-1 conference record after losing to Saint Mary’s 94-7.

The match was originally scheduled to be a home game for the Mustangs, but was moved due to field closures from poor weather in previous weeks.

Saint Mary’s controlled the lead early and kept scoring points throughout the entirety of the match. Cal Poly was able to get on the board late in the game after they were awarded a penalty try after back-to-back 5m scrums at Saint Mary’s goal line.

Cal Poly will rest this Saturday for a bye week before travelling down to Isla Vista to play UC Santa Barbara on March 4th.

UCSB has a conference record of 1-3 and will play their final conference match of the season when they play the Mustangs.

Cal Poly beat UCSB in last year’s match by a score of 27-3.

Updates for the match against UCSB including time and venue will come next week.

Match times for Saturday at Saint Mary’s set for 1 PM kickoff

Cal Poly’s match times and locations are set for this Saturday’s fixture against Saint Mary’s.

The Cal Poly 1st XV will play at 1:00 PM at Saint Mary’s Stadium.

Reserve sides will play before and after.

Match Times:

C-Side vs. SMC C-Side: 11:00 AM at Pat Vincent Rugby Field

CP 1st XV vs. SMC 1st XV: 1:00 PM at Saint Mary’s Stadium

B-Side vs. SMC B-Side: 2:45 PM at Saint Mary’s Stadium

 

Match Venues:

 

 

Cal Poly opens conference play with 50-19 win over Santa Clara

Cal Poly earned their first D1A California Conference win of the season on Saturday in a 50-19 rout of Santa Clara. The Mustangs overcame a nine-point deficit in a second-half offensive show.

Cal Poly got on the board first after senior flyhalf Corey McGrillen converted a penalty kick in the early minutes of the first half. Santa Clara then scored 12 unanswered points, one off of a mishandled pass in the Cal Poly backline.

Before the end of the half, junior prop Connor Cudeback got the first Mustang try, cutting Santa Clara’s halftime lead to two points.

Cal Poly then scored another 40 unanswered points to take a commanding 50-12 lead before leaking a last-minute try to Santa Clara.

The win ends a three-game losing skid by the Mustangs, including loses against #1 Cal and #4 BYU.

Cal Poly will travel to #3 Saint Mary’s next Saturday, February 25 to play their second conference match. The game was originally scheduled as a home game for the Mustangs, but is being moved to Saint Mary’s due to field closures caused by inclement weather.

Saint Mary’s is coming off of a 27-12 victory over BYU this past weekend.

Updates on venue and time for next Saturday’s match against Saint Mary’s will come later in the week.

Cal Poly vs. Santa Clara Scoring Summary:

3:00 Corey McGrillen penalty kick  CP 3 SCUTS 0

5:00 Santa Clara try, conversion  CP 3 SCUTS 7

9:00 Santa Clara try   CP 3 SCUTS 12

14:00 Connor Cudeback try, McGrillen conv.  CP 10 SCUTS 12

HALFTIME-

40:00 Nathan Sylvia try, McGrillen conv.  CP 17 SCUTS 12

42:00 Mark Grzanich try, McGrillen conv.  CP 24 SCUTS 12

49:00 Ivy Adair try  CP 29 SCUTS 12

56:00 Eddie McFarland try, McGrillen conv.  CP 36 SCUTS 12

67:00 Alex Wormer try, McGrillen conv.  CP 43 SCUTS 12

76:00 Connor Miller try, Wormer conv.  CP 50 SCUTS 12

80:00 Santa Clara try, conversion  CP 50 SCUTS 19