MARIETTA, Ga. – Life captain and Charlotte, N.C., native Colton Cariaga, is getting ready for the last game of his collegiate career and it’s kind of a big one. He’ll lead the Running Eagles onto the field on May 18 for the D1A National Championship game in his home state. We caught up with the standout flyhalf as he was shuffling between a library study session and practice.
Cariaga At A Glance:
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
High School: South Mecklenburg
Major: B.A. Business Administration, Certificate in Coaching Psychology
Favorite Food: Seafood
Pump Up Song: Flo Rida - “Good Feeling”
Favorite Rugby Player: Brian O’Driscoll
Career Ambition: “I want to be helping people, whatever that may be. I also want to be in a position of leadership, or at least be working towards that. I want to combine those two things: helping people and leadership.”
Goofiest Teammate: Calvin Nell. “He’s a funny guy and says some silly things from time to time. He’s just a big innocent teddy bear.”
Favorite Moment at Life: "Winning the Sevens National Championship in 2011. But also after we won the [Las Vegas Invitational] and qualified for the CRC. I loved being out in a fun place like Vegas with my teammates, enjoying each other’s company."
D1ARugby.com: How did you come to Life?
Colton Cariaga: Well, I had been playing rugby for quite a while. I started in 2002, when I was 12. I kept playing all throughout middle school and high school. I was at a tournament and got seen and had a chance to go to a USA Under-19 camp. I ended up getting chosen to go on a tour to England. I met Jason Payne, who was an assistant coach at Life at the time and he was telling me about the program. As a senior, I didn’t know where I was going to go. I filled out a couple applications, but ended up going down [to Life] and taking a tour. I met [Life Head Coach at the time] Scott Lawrence and got to meet some of the guys... I really liked it and thought it would be a good fit for me athletically, socially, and academically.
D1A: You’ve already won a USA Rugby College Sevens National Championship, but what are you most looking forward to in the D1A National Championship?
CC: Honestly, I’m just looking at it like another game. I love this game and this is another opportunity for me to play the game that I love…I do look forward to playing against a great team and playing in my home state. I’m really excited about that.
D1A: The National Championship is your last college game. What do you expect to be going through your mind on the day?
CC: Like with any game day, I’ll be thinking about the key points that I want to bring up to the team and focusing on the things that I have to do to contribute to the team.