The Mission of Central Coast Athletic Club will host the West Coast Collegiate 7s this coming weekend at Cal Poly.
Twelve teams from California, Oregon, and Colorado face off, an in important step toward the qualifiers and national championships to come.
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Highlighting this tournament will be a meeting of two coaches thousands of miles away from their same hometown. Anthony Lally of Oregon State and David Burnett of Cal Poly go back to their younger days in Sydney, New South Wales, and now face off in California.
The coaches came together to vote on seeding, and put St. Mary’s College at #1. The Gaels might be less than happy about the selection, as they are missing a couple of key performers who are not playing 7s this fall (namely, former U20 star Kingsley McGowan), and graduated some others. Cal is #2, Cal Poly #3, and San Diego State #4.
At 5th seed, UCLA might well be the dark horse, especially with the Aztecs without Stephen Tomasin (playing with the USA 7s team).
Teams will play two pool matches, and then be re-seeded for the semifinal and final of either the Cup, Plate, or Bowl. With only two matches in pool play, it is crucial for a team to start well.
For Cal, this is the beginning of their 7s fall, and they face off against Northern California rivals UC Davis and Sacramento State in Pool #2. Cal won its previous 7s matches against the Hornets and Aggies at the 2012 Stanford 7s.
“We will travel a mixed 7s squad to Cal Poly,” said Cal Head Coach Jack Clark. “About half of the side will be seasoned campaigners and the other half players we want to see play.”
Last year at the West Coast 7s, the Bears entered two sides, Cal I and Cal II, giving 30 student-athletes playing time. Cal’s top side went 3-0 in pool play and ended the day with a 40-7 win over Arizona State for third place after dropping a 17-12 decision to SMC in the semis. In the other pool, Cal II defeated Saint Mary’s II, UC Davis and Long Beach State, and then lost to UCLA in pool play before beating the Bruins, 17-5, for the plate championship.
Tournament rules for this year’s West Coast 7s limit traveling rosters to 15 players.
Clark added that in Saturday’s start to the fall competition schedule, which will be followed Oct. 26-27 by the Saint Mary’s Sevens, “The plan is to share minutes liberally throughout the first two tournaments and ready a team for the PAC 7s conference championship in November.”
So this will be a difficult tournament to predict. All teams are feeling each other out.
St. Mary’s is the top seed in Pool #1, but will face a stern test from Colorado State. In Pool #3 Cal Poly will not have an easy go against Long Beach State or Oregon State. And in Pool #4, it’s completely up in the air, as many would argue that UCSB, the lowest seed in the pool at #9, could win it, and certain San Diego State or UCLA have the Cup in their sights.
Pool # 1 Pool # 2 Pool # 3 Pool # 4
USD #12 Sac St #11 Oregon St #10 UCSB #9
Colorado St #8 UC Davis #7 Long Beach St #6 UCLA #5
SMC #1 CAL #2 CAL POLY #3 SDSU #4