former HSAA and EIRA, now a freshman at UCLA
When did you start playing rugby and for which club?
I started playing rugby when I was 9 for the San Diego Young Aztecs. The club was just forming at this time.
What attracted you to the sport?
I didn't know anything about rugby when I started. My good friend and teammate here at UCLA, Christian Bernard, brought me to one of the practices and I got hooked. I dropped all of my other sports and have stuck with rugby ever since.
Did you imagine yourself getting into UCLA and playing rugby there?
I knew that UCLA was a great school that had great rugby, so it was towards the top of my list of schools that I wanted to get into from the start. When I visited for the first time I fell in love with the campus, and from that moment UCLA was where I wanted to be.
How tough was it to get into UCLA? What made the difference for you?
Entrance was extremely competitive. This year UCLA received the largest number of applicants in the country, so I was extremely nervous leading up to the acceptance day. I had very high grades in high school, which definitely did me some good, but what probably pushed me over the edge was my experience with the HSAAs.
When and where did you represent the USA HSAAs?
In 2014 I travelled with the u17 HSAAs to Portugal and France, where an injury occurred that took me out of contention for a year. In 2015 I played sevens in Las Vegas and then shortly after, travelled to England for the Rosslyn Park Sevens. This past summer I played for the EIRA sevens team in the Victoria Sevens tournament.
What would be one of your favorite memories playing for the HSAAs?
The Rosslyn Park Sevens tour was probably my favorite. Even though we didn't get the results we wanted, it was an amazing experience with a great group of guys. But in terms of a single moment, it would be my first start for the HSAAs, playing at center against France. It was a surreal moment, from the locker room to kickoff
Did Eagle Impact help you develop and if so how?
Eagle Impact most definitely helped me develop, in all aspects of my game. When it first started in Southern California, I hadn't yet been to a winter camp and I was one of the younger ones in the player pool, surrounded by tons of older HSAAs. So I wasn't quite accustom to the drills and intensity. But having experienced practicing and playing with older members of the HSAA and HSAA coaches, I was much better prepared for winter camp. I knew what to expect, and I was playing at the high standard that all of those older boys were playing at. Eagle Impact developed my skills to the high level necessary to play with the HSAA and now UCLA.
How difficult has it been to move away from home, and adjust to the demands of college life?
It is a bit sad leaving friends and family, but it's a great time up here. There are always tons of things going on so it's very hard to get bored. The demands of college are high, I do have a good amount of work and a good amount of rugby, but it's manageable. As long as you can (or learn to) balance school, rugby, and fun you'll have a great time.
How much fun and challenge has rugby been at UCLA?
Rugby has been tons of fun and a bit of a challenge as well. We've been doing a lot of fitness and lifting this sevens season, which has been challenging, but it has improved our game and we can enjoy playing more because of it. The team is a great bunch of guys and I'm stoked to be on the squad.
What is your major?
What are your ambitions in rugby and career?
I'd like to continue playing at a high level and hopefully win a national title in the next four years here. I'm not entirely sure what I'd like to do career wise yet, but there are tons of opportunities here and I'll be sure to take one.