St. Mary’s opened its California Conference campaign Saturday with an 81-0 defeat of UC Davis in Moraga, Calif. The Gaels powered down their attack and made several substitutions once the score line got out of hand.
Standing out for the Gaels were some newcomers – prop Dino Waldren and wings Nick Schlobohm and Chase Herring. They combined for numerous tries and displayed the depth of the St. Mary’s roster. Waldren and Herring are transfers, and Schlohbohm is a freshman.
“[Waldren’s] a name that people are going to be hearing for a while, I think, in rugby,” said St. Mary’s coach Tim O’Brien.
“This guy’s all vertical, great feet, strong, asks a lot of questions. We’ve got some nice guys like that. The senior leaders are great and they’re trying to be better and they’re pulling these guys along.”
The Gaels’ depth is being tested this spring, as Junior All American Kingsley McGowan is out for the season, All American Bubba Jones suffered a fractured elbow against Olympic Club that could keep him out for the season, and former High School All American captain Henry Hall might be sidelined his entire freshman year with a knee injury.
Nonetheless, St. Mary’s has been lights out, beating the likes of OMBAC, the San Diego Old Aztecs, Back Bay and Olympic Club. The Gaels had a good 2012 season, beating Cal and making it to the DI-A semifinals, but could they be better this year, despite the injuries and graduation of All Americans Andrew Cook and Matt Crawford?
“We’re faster. We’re meaner. We’re a little more focused. All that knowledge from each year kind of trickles down to that next class, and I think we’re a pretty smart team,” said O’Brien. “Are we better yet? No, but we have all the makings to be a better team.”