The Utah Warriors drafted Derek Ellingson as the third pick in the Major League Rugby Draft. The 23-year-old (24 in January) center/wing is 6’1″ and 205 lbs.
Derek is from Walnut Creek, California, and attended De La Salle High School (p. 29) where he was a standout hockey player, but suffered a family tragedy.
“Derek Ellingson and his sister Brooke were orphaned suddenly when Derek was just 13, losing both parents violently. His late mother’s brother became the legal guardian of his niece and nephew. As a neighbor of De La Salle High School, he guided Derek toward enrollment here. Derek was reluctant to change from the smaller school with which he was familiar, but he took the plunge and joined the De La Salle community. Derek is a veteran hockey player and this year was one of the founders of the first Spartan ice hockey team. Derek has helped De La Salle to raise money for The Brotherhood Fund and TheBishop Cummins Scholarship Program at theFETE Auctions in 2013 and 2014.”
The Bishop Cummins Scholar indicated that “My sport is ice hockey. I started with roller hockey at age three, and then ice hockey at age eleven. I play with a club in Roseville called Capital Thunder, in the Youth Hockey League. I play center.” “Last fall we started a De La Salle Ice Hockey team. We had 15 guys, and we had a good time.”
“Losing my parents so suddenly was hard, very hard. I was only 13, and my sister was 9. I was confused, angry, sad, empty, and lost. We were both scared… scared of change. But family and friends poured their hearts and souls into us. So many people have helped us in so many ways. I can never thank them enough—especially the people who worked so hard to make this De La Salle experience possible for me.”
After graduating from De La Salle High School, Derek attended Saint Mary’s College of California from 2014-2019 earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and then enrolled in a Master of Science Degree in Management. He was introduced to rugby during his Freshman year and progressed through the C side his Freshman year, B side as a Sophomore, and in his Junior year became the starting outside center. He is a versatile player and can play center, wing, and fullback. His skill set developed to include assuming the kicking duties and in 2020 was the team’s top kicker.
SMC Rugby has been among the top rugby programs int he country. Derek has been tested at the highest collegiate level in the U.S. He now makes the transition to professional rugby and his development process will continue with the Utah Warriors.