Wiley Part Of Young Cal VC Effort

Wiley Part Of Young Cal VC Effort

Damon Wiley is part of the solid underclassmen contingent at Cal as the Bears look to the Varsity Cup final.

May 4, 2017 by Alex Goff
Wiley Part Of Young Cal VC Effort
Usually, it's a fairly rare event for a Cal freshman to score two tries in a game of the magnitude of a Varsity Cup Semifinal, but that happened twice in the Bears' 35-14 win against Penn State on April 22.

Scrumhalf Keanu Andrade scored two tries and so did tighthead prop Damon Wiley. For Wiley, the surprises keep coming. He played one season of rugby before coming to Cal. An accomplished football player at De La Salle, he took up the sport of rugby in his senior year in high school. And now he's starting at tighthead prop, one of the toughest positions in the game.

"Coming in as a freshman, and changing my whole dynamic -- I was an eightman in high school -- and becoming a prop was a challenge, but I have the mindset that I'll do anything for the team, and that was instilled in me at my high school," Wiley said. "Against Penn State, we knew we were up against a really strong front row. It was a challenge for me. But I have played against UBC and Saint Mary's, so I knew what I was in for."

Wiley was strong in the scrum, although he had his work cut out for him. He also gets a lot done in the open field and can gain some ground. 

"It's nice to score some tries, but I was just trying to play for the seniors and put everything into it," Wiley said.

Cal will need all of that dedication and more against an experienced Arkansas State team in the Varsity Cup Final, which kicks off at noon PT on Saturday, May 6, in Santa Clara, CA. ASU did well to handle a tough Navy side two weeks ago to make the final. The Bears and the Red Wolves have not met since the D1A semifinal in 2010 -- Cal won that game and is still favored in this one.

The game will be shown on delay by NBC Sports Network. Cal is looking for a second straight Varsity Cup title. Arkansas State was last in a major final in 2011, losing 49-42 to BYU in the D1A final.