As the 7s Eagles enter their final prepping stage for Tokyo, we’re just over a two months from the Collegiate Rugby Championship. And it’s worth taking a look at the Eagle and some of its members’ roots.
Rocco Mauer made his IRB World Series debut last week in Hong Kong, and he hit the circuit with a splash, making an electric run against South Africa to set up a try and scoring against Kenya. The first time most of us heard the name Rocco Mauer was at the inaugural CRC back in 2010 in Columbus, Ohio, when he was a virtually unknown junior from Bowling Green.
“I love the CRC. It’s basically where my career started, obviously. Before that I’m from a small town, small college. The CRC basically gave me the chance to be on the national level,” he said.
“Without it, I wouldn’t be having a chance to help this team get better or win games.”
Mauer led the CRC with 11 tries and was named MVP.
Peter Tiberio, who started three of the Eagles’ five matches in Hong Kong, also became a household name at the CRC, in 2011.
Tiberio led Arizona to the Cup Quarterfinals. On their way there, the Wildcats thrashed pool opponents by a combined score of 79-0 in three matches. Tiberio tied Dartmouth’s Chris Downer for most tries scored in the event with 8, and did so having played two less games.
“It was awesome to see such a great college rugby event in the US,” said Tiberio. “Still eligible to play in it this year, so I’m hoping I’ll play for U of A again this year.”
The speedster said playing at PPL Park in front of the NBC cameras was good practice for playing on the circuit.
“It definitely helps. Playing in front, I think it was 10,000 people there, is a good amount of people, and obviously I had a lot of pressure on myself and my team did, too, so it definitely prepares you for something like this.”
Colin Hawley is also a CRC alum, having played in the inaugural tournament for Cal. The Golden Bears were slain in a thrilling tournament final, in overtime, by Thretton Palamo, Don Pati and Utah. Hawley’s face still lights up when he thinks about that event.
“What more could you ask for in a game, just to compete well,” he said. “Not bitter. Wish we could have had it, but props to Thretts and that team and Don Pati, but it was a great game to be a part of.”
And then there’s the head coach -- Alex Magleby. It might be unfair to say he wouldn’t be the head National Team coach if he didn’t lead Dartmouth to the CRC title in 2011, but it’s safe to say that was his biggest coaching accomplishment at the time.
Mags took a team that no one gave a chance to win the tournament, that was supposed to have inferior athletes, and guided them to the biggest championship a college 7s player could play for.
The CRC is still a young event, but it can already claim some of the National Team’s best as alums, and with players like Life’s Cam Dolan and Colton Cariaga and Cal’s Seamus Kelly set to compete June 2-3 in Philadelphia, there could well be more future Eagles taking part this year. And who knows, maybe the next Rocco Mauer is playing for Maryland, Delaware or Oklahoma?