Cal Poly men’s rugby hosted the West Coast Collegiate Sevens tournament Saturday, drawing some of the nation’s top programs such as UC Berkeley and San Diego State. The Mustangs had a strong showing, barely edging out UC Davis on the final play of the match for a fifth-place finish in the tournament.
On the final play of the match, senior fly-half Alex “Worm” Wormer carried the ball down far sideline only to be bottled up by two Aggies defenders. With seemingly nowhere to go, Worm tossed a 10-meter reverse flick pass to a wide-open center Spencer Bazer who cut back upfield to score the winning try.
“We lucked out, got a turnover, and took it down the sideline,” Wormer said. “Luckily Spencer was there to make the play. It was an exciting way to end the game.”
With the fifth-place finish, the Mustangs are in good position to earn invitations to other West Coast tournaments and, eventually, an at-large bid to nationals.
“There’s also a big tournament in San Jose in about a month,” Head Coach James Tesoriero said. “A strong finish today gives us a great chance to make the Silicon Valley sevens.”
The solid field of opponents served as a good measuring stick for the Mustangs, as many of their opponents will likely receive invitations to nationals. Though they were aiming for a top-four finish, the Mustangs were satisfied with their showing Saturday.
“We’ve already had a chance to measure ourselves, know what kind of improvements are needed to push for a top spot at nationals,” Tesoriero said. “There is more improvement left in us, and we feel well.”
Cal Poly drew a tough matchup in pool play, as they fell 31-7 to UC Berkeley in their second match of the day after defeating Fresno State 32-10 to open the tournament.
The Golden Bears did not lose a match during the tournament and are widely considered one of the top collegiate rugby programs in the country.
“We had a rough one against Cal, but besides that, the boys came out to play the entire time,” freshman flyhalf Patrick Madden said. “It’s nice to bring home some hardware, but fifth place or not, I know the boys are proud especially on our home field.”
Madden is part of an outstanding freshman class for the Mustangs, but the freshman phenom hasn’t let any of the hype get to his head.
“Although we have a good freshman class, this is more of a legacy we have to fill,” Madden said. “There’s a person wearing the jersey before you and a person wearing a jersey after you, so just knowing I can play with these guys is enough for me.”
After a week off, the Mustangs will travel to San Francisco to play in the Treasure Island West Coast Sevens tournament at Ray Sheeran Field Oct. 21 and Oct. 22.