CHULA VISTA, Calif. – The Men’s Eagles 7s coaching staff is ramping up for the 2017-18 HSBC Sevens World Series, and part of its preparation includes unearthing new athletes with the potential to help the team on the global circuit.
To create more depth and competition amongst the Eagles 7s, the staff invited a group of less than 30 athletes to a week-long training camp at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center, including eight players from D1A Rugby. Of the eight D1A players invited to train alongside USA Rugby’s Chris Brown and Phil Greening, five excepted the invitation.
Two players from Lindenwood University’s 2017 College 7s National Championship-winning side are in camp – Michael Baska and Cristian Rodriguez. Both Baska and Rodriguez were named to the 2016-17 Men’s Collegiate All-Americans in sevens, and Rodriguez recently concluded a two-match series against Canada while playing alongside the AIG Men’s Junior All-Americans.
Another Sevens All-American from the Mid-South Conference, Cody Melphy of Life University, is taking time away from playing sevens with the Denver Barbarians to show off his skills in Southern California.
Two players from Canterbury’s fourth-ranked BYU were invited to camp. All-American center Calvin Whiting, who is already capped in 15s, declined his invitation, but Cougar Zach Webber accepted. Webber was a member of the Rugby Utah Selects that won the 2016 Club 7s National Championship.
Former Wyoming wide receiver and 2016 West All-Conference wing Dominic Rufran is showing off his raw but dynamic skills at the Chula Vista Elite Athlete Training Center. Two players that were invited but not attending are Saint Mary’s College eight man Vili Helu and Cal center Anthony Salaber, who was named PAC Rugby Conference’s 2017 Back of the Year. Helu, a 1st-Team California Conference selection, is recovering from shoulder surgery he went through in May.
Men’s Eagles 7s Incubator Camp – Accepted
Michael Baska – Lindenwood
Cody Melphy – Life
Zach Webber – BYU
Cristian Rodriguez – Lindenwood
Dominic Rufran – Wyoming
Men’s Eagles 7s Incubator Camp – Declined
Vilii Helu – Saint Mary’s
Anthony Salaber – Cal
Calvin Whiting – BYU