On March 24, Cal Poly Men’s Club Rugby captain Patrick Madden was listed as a nominee for the Rudy Scholz Award — the highest individual honor for a male player in American collegiate rugby.

Madden is the first Cal Poly player to be nominated for the Scholz Award. The junior fly-half and inside centre is one of 18 nominees across the United States, joining players from powerhouse programs such as Cal, Saint Mary’s and BYU.

Madden said his jaw dropped in surprise after learning about the nomination from one of his teammates.

“I’ve always kind of dreamed of it but I didn’t expect it this year,” Madden said. “I was hoping my name would kind of be in the conversation my senior year. But, as a junior to get this nod, I couldn’t believe it.”

Head coach James Tesoriero said he “was very pleased [Madden’s] performances were recognized” in getting a nod for the award. However, Tesoriero said he was not surprised about Madden’s nomination.

Locke Bradley | Courtesy

“We understand Pat’s place around the top college players in the country,” Tesoriero said. “He’s kind of regarded in that small group of the very top guys.”

Madden, who previously represented the United States on its U-20 squad, led the Mustangs’ high-octane offense during the season. The Mustangs scored at least 38 points in its last three matches of the season and averaged victory margins of more than 23 points in that same span. 

“A lot of our play in attack is based around his unique set of skills, his playmaking and his leadership,” Tesoriero said, highlighting Madden’s growth in physicality, agility and strength over three seasons with Cal Poly.

Cal Poly also entered the Division-1A Top-25 ranking at No. 25 before the season was cut short due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Madden said he hopes next season will be “as great as the year before, if not better.” 

“Coming into next season, I think the boys are really excited,” Madden said. “I think we had an amazing rookie class this year that came in … and I think they’re teed up and ready to go next year.”

The Scholz Award voting process is open to fans, rugby clubs and college rugby teams, according to Goff Rugby Report. Votes from teams and clubs are weighed more than fan votes. 

After votes are tallied, up to five finalists will be chosen and the winner will be selected by a selection panel.

Fan voting for the award closes Friday, April 3. 

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