September 6, 2016
Cal Rugby & Fall Sevens
Cal Athletics Release: Anton Malko
BERKELEY – The 2016-17 California Golden Bears resumed their fall schedules Tuesday after a Labor Day break going into the second week of September, continuing to blend their team commitments with academic responsibilities as the semester goes into high gear.
When full-team assemblies began at the end of August, nine days after new student-athletes first met, the entire roster representing the University of California’s oldest intercollegiate athletics program held its first all-player meeting in the Tahir Room at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance, where they received handouts covering academic and athletic calendars and got introductions from a support network ranging from the team’s sport supervisor and academic advisors, to its media relations and athletic training systems.
That session was followed by the first on-field training session under sunny skies on Witter Rugby Field and has continued with each field session preceded by strength & conditioning in the high-performance center. Everyone on the roster plays 15s rugby while a subset of players is additionally selected for the autumn slate of 7s competition.
Play in Olympic-style 7s for Cal begins October 8 in San Luis Obispo, where the Rugby Bears participate in the West Coast Collegiate 7s. The WCC7s then makes a stop in the Bay Area, where the Bears will compete at the Treasure Island tournament held October 22-23. The final event of the fall is the PAC Rugby Conference 7s, held in Tucson November 12-13 and hosted by the University of Arizona.
Head coach Jack Clark, entering his 34th year at the helm, has made it clear that even as the 2016-17 Golden Bears carry great responsibility entering the 136th year in program history, the upcoming autumn and spring campaigns will be a pursuit of championships rather than a defense.
“We feel it’s important to start fresh each season,” coach Clark said. “Last season was special in a few ways, but this is a new team where even the returning players are in new roles. I think this team should determine its own destiny and attempt something special.”
So while the dual championships of 2016 remain fresh in everyone’s mind, having won both the Varsity Cup 15s and Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s titles in the same year for the first time in program history, it is the task of this year’s team to write its own chapter in the illustrious annals of Cal rugby.
Cal has an exciting blend of returning veterans and rising new talent poised to propel the program into its 135th year. Every student-athlete and staff member will need to contribute full measure in order to reach the collective goal of competing at the highest level throughout 2016-17. Coming off a summer that saw alumnus Danny Barrett star for Team USA at the Rio Olympic Games and heading into an autumn during which head coach Jack Clark will be enshrined in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, the Rugby Bears are excited and proud to venture forward and represent the illustrious histories of both their team and their University.