Cal Rugby Release
BERKELEY – As California rugby gets set to commence its 137th year as the oldest Intercollegiate Athletics program at the University, 14 new student-athletes have joined the Golden Bears to embark on their collegiate rugby careers as freshmen at what US News & World Report ranks at the top public university in the world.
The recruiting Class of 2018 is a balanced group from positional and geographic perspectives. The majority are both former Cal Varsity Rugby Camp attendees and U.S. passport holders, six of whom hail from the state of California. Each brings a pedigree of high achievement on the many stages on which they have performed, from the rugby pitch to the classroom and their communities.
"We are pleased to have these boys with us," said head coach Jack Clark. "They present as multi-sport athletes. They are of traditional university age for incoming freshmen, which is becoming rarer within the collegiate rugby landscape. They have demonstrated they are about more than themselves with community activities. Importantly, they have held positions of leadership with their schools and teams. We are delighted they have joined us and we welcome the journey ahead."
FOUR NATIONAL CHAMPS HIGHLIGHT CALIFORNIA CONTINGENT
Luke Freeman is a 6-0, 210-pound No. 8 and flanker from Danville who attended Cal Varsity Rugby Summer Camp four times. The 18-year-old freshman played club rugby as a member of the Danville Oaks, scoring two tries, including the gamewinner in overtime, as the Oaks won the 2018 Boys HS Club National Championships in Kansas City, Mo. Freeman was coached on the Oaks by former Cal All-American David Liebowitz, fellow former Cal All-American Jon Beck, former U.S. international Chris O'Brien and former U.S. International Kort Schubert, the 2002 Cal Athlete of the Year. Also a tight end and defensive lineman on the gridiron for De La Salle High School, Freeman was a member of the 2015 Open Division state champions and 2016 and '17 finalists, captaining the team as a senior. During high school, Freeman worked in numerous volunteer and extracurricular roles in organizations including Toys for Tots, Healing Spaces and Ayuda a Retahuleu, the last of which supports a village in Guatemala. He was also a member of the Chess Club and Fishing Club. His father, Rick, is a fire captain for Contra Costa County and an alumnus of Occidental College, where he played football and rugby. His mother, Tammy, is an automotive dealer and an alumna of USC, where she was a swimmer for the Trojans.
Freeman's Danville Oaks rugby and De La Salle football teammate Luke Ogburn, a flanker and center, enters the University as an 6-1, 185-pound, 18-year-old freshman from Alamo. Luke began playing for the Oaks in Grade 6. He captained the De La Salle football team as a senior, playing offensive and defensive line as the Spartans advanced to the Open Division state championship. In the classroom, Ogburn was a four-year Honor Student who received the Academic Excellence Award in 2016. A four-year Cal Rugby Summer Camp attendee who was born in Denver, Luke arrives in Berkeley following the graduation of his brother Wade, who started at hooker in the Bears' 2017 Varsity Cup championship. Another brother, Blake, played baseball at UC Santa Barbara. Their mother, Sheila, is an elementary school teacher and an alumna of San Diego State; their father, Dave, is an investment banker at JP Morgan who earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown and served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant before returning to school for an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. Family ties at the University also include Ogburn's uncle Brad Thomson, who lettered in football at Cal from 1989-92.
The third member of the Oaks to become a Bear this autumn is 18-year-old Jason Severance, a 6-0, 210-pound flanker and captain of the Oaks whose two tries in the final helped Danville win the 2018 national championship. Hailing from Pleasanton, Severance graduated from Amador Valley High School, where he was the captain of his varsity football team as a sophomore, junior and senior, earning first-team East Bay Athletic League honors at linebacker and second-team honors as a running back as a senior. Severance was a 2017 attendee of Cal Varsity Rugby Summer Camp. His father, Tom, is a Lieutenant and Watch Commander in the Fremont Police Department. His mother, Susan, is an Emergency Room nurse and alumna of the University of Wisconsin.
Alex Evans is a 17-year-old, 5-10, 225-pound hooker/prop prospect from Roseville High School and Granite Bay Youth Rugby Club. A three-year attendee of Cal Varsity Rugby Summer Camp, Evans was Team MVP for his 2016 national club champion Granite Bay side, and a 2017 and '18 Coaches Award winner. At Roseville, Evans was a three-time Honor Roll student who spent two years working with Red Cross and Salvation Army to prepare and distribute care kits to needy individuals. As an athlete, he played defensive end and running back on the gridiron, where he earned Team MVP three times, served as captain as a senior and set a single-game school rushing record with 305 yards and 4 TDs, earning a Central Valley Conference All-League First Team selection. His mother, Julie, is a certified Court Reporter; his father, Scott, is an IT consultant and graduate of San Jose State.
Jake Shiff is a former Cal Varsity Rugby Summer Camp attendee from Woodside, where the 5-8, 165-pound, 18-year-old wing graduated from the Menlo School and played club rugby for Peninsula Green. At Menlo, Shiff was a two-sport varsity athlete as a running back on the gridiron and an outfielder on the baseball field, where he was part of two Central Coast Section championships. An AP Scholar, Shiff augmented his classroom achievement with extracurricular commitments to the school newspaper and magazine, and community service with Boys and Girls Club and Special Olympics. His mother, Josie, is a homemaker. His father, Stuart, is the CEO of DivcoWest who was part of three Cal rugby national championship teams before earning his Cal degree in Civil Engineering. Schiff's uncle Jonathan Shiff is also Cal Class of 1988.
From Southern California, where he captained the 2018 Tier II National Champion San Diego Mustangs Youth Rugby Club, comes Michael Perrone, a 6-2, 260-pound prop who was coached on the Mustangs by former Cal and U.S. International Ramon Samaniego. Perrone also played rugby for Torrey Pines High School under coach Matty Sandoval as the Falcons won the 2018 Southern California Youth Rugby Varsity Championship. An academic scholar at Torrey Pines, Perrone was a four-year varsity football player on the offensive and defensive lines who received first-team all-league and second-team All-San Diego recognition as a senior. His mother, Claudia, is a homemaker. His father, Mike, an alumnus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, works for the United States Department of Defense. Born in New Jersey, Perrone enters the University at 18 years of age having attended Cal Varsity Rugby Camp in 2017.
OUT-OF-STATE INCLUDES THREE U.S. PASSPORT HOLDERS
From Minnesota, where he graduated from Edina High School, comes Nick Bloom. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, the 19-year-old is projected to play center for the Bears. Bloom was part of three state championship teams and one runnerup finish for Edina Rugby Football Club, which advanced to the state final for the seventh straight time in 2018. Named Forward of the Year as a sophomore, Bloom was Team MVP as a junior and captained the club side his final two seasons. He attended Cal Varsity Rugby Summer Camp in 2017. On the gridiron for Edina HS, Bloom started at linebacker beginning his sophomore season, earning a captaincy as a senior. Bloom finished his high-school career with Edina's Top Scholar-Athlete award after being named all-conference and all-state in football en route to playing in the Minnesota High School All-Star Football Game. Extracurriculars for Bloom at Edina included DECA, a business competition course in which Bloom advanced to the state finals as a sophomore and district finals as a junior. From the age of eight, Bloom has given an annual speech to award the David Bloom Memorial Scholarship in memory of his uncle who died in service to his country as a member of the 3rd Infantry in Iraq. Both parents are graduates of the University of Minnesota: his father, John, is a Senior Vice President at U.S. Financial Services; his mother, Barbara, is an attorney.
Born in Boston, 18-year-old Sam Walsh is a 5-11, 200-pound flyhalf who moved to Hong Kong as an infant, attended the King George V School there in 9th and 10th Grades, then completed his International Baccalaureate Degree at Scots College in New Zealand, where he was a starter for the Scots 1st XV in 11th and 12th Grades. Off the pitch, Walsh was named an International Prefect for his final year at Scots College, when he also received the Wellington International School Award of Excellence for his efforts as a rugby player. In 2018, Walsh competed in January for the USA Falcons at the Sudamerica Rugby 7s and started at flyhalf in June for the Men's Junior All-Americans in their World Rugby Trophy Qualifier series. Parents Jacqueline and Paul are both attorneys, she the Managing Director of her firm and he the Managing Director of his, and both graduated from Boston College.
A four-summer attendee of Cal Varsity Rugby Camp, where he was named Best & Fairest in 2017, Jack Gallagher joins the Golden Bears as a 5-8, 160-pound scrumhalf at 18 years of age having graduated from the Hong Kong International School. A U.S. passport holder born in London, Gallagher was an Honor Roll student at HKIS whose extracurricular pursuits included Men's A Capella; Feeding Hong Kong, a food bank; and Try Time Hong Kong, a rugby program for underprivileged and physically challenged members of the community. He captained his rugby and soccer teams at HKIS as a senior, and served as 7s captain for Hong Kong's national U-17s. Gallagher began his rugby career in middle school with the Valley Rugby Club. His mother, Deborah Kan, is the founder of Being Patient, a former Executive Producer at the Wall Street Journal and an alumna of UC Santa Barbara; his father, John, is Vice Chairman of Investment Banking Asia Pacific for Credit Suisse Group AG and an alumnus of Princeton University, where he played rugby. Gallagher's aunt Susan Kan Whitaker is a Cal alumna, Class of 1988.
FIVE MORE FRESHMEN FROM OVERSEAS
Jake Broekhuizen, an 18-year-old, joins the Bears from the Cranbrook School in Sydney, Australia, where the 6-4, 200-pound lock and flanker was a member of the First XV his final three years of school, receiving Best & Fairest and captaining the forwards as a senior. Also a varsity rower and basketball players at Cranbrook, Broekhuizen earned the Headmaster's Award all four years of high school, a selection to the Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing interest group at the national Youth Science Forum, and the Long Tan Leadership Award for his work at school and the local community. He served as Head Prefect as a senior after three years on Cranbrook's student representative council. Broekhuizen, whose volunteer interests also included the Australia Wildlife Conservancy, traveled this summer to Eastern Indonesia, where he assisted in the construction of a medical clinic. His father, Neil, is a graduate of Imperial College of London who works in private equity; his mother, Penny, is a York University alumna. Jake is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS).
Former Cal Varsity Rugby Camp attendee Matthew Dodd is an 18-year-old slated to play No. 8 and flanker at 6-1 and 205 pounds. A citizen of Canada and Sweden, Dodd was born in Toronto, moved to Sweden at age five, followed by a year in Shanghai before settling in Geneva. He attended the Nord Anglia International School as a freshman in Shanghai before spending the rest of high school at the International School of Geneva, from which he graduated. Dodd began playing rugby as a 9th Grader in Shanghai and was an avid ice hockey player through the U-16 level. During high school Dodd pursued extracurricular studies in Mandarin and piano, served as Treasurer of Student Council in 11th Grade and was a student tutor his final two years of school before earning his International Baccalaureate diploma. In Geneva as an 11th and 12th Grader, Dodd took part in The Student League of Nations. His father, Patrick, is President of Global Markets Group at Nielsen; his mother, Helena, is retired as advertising, insurance and real estate executive. Both are graduates of Western University in Ontario
Joe Roeske joins the Bears as a 19-year-old freshman who could pair in the back line with his brother, Adam, a sophomore. Like his brother, Joe was born in Bahrain, spent early years in London, later moved to Dubai and graduated from Eton College in the United Kingdom, where the younger Roeske, who stands at 6-0 and 200 pounds, was a prefect and earned full colors as a member of the rugby, water polo and athletics teams. He was a vice captain for Eton's 1st XV and captained of the 7s team that advanced to the finals of the 2018 Rosslyn Park 7s. Academically and artistically, Roeske was recognized with school prizes for art, poetry and photography, and merit for saxophone and piano. Among his extracurriculars was the teaching of English as a second language to Middle School students and community work in Egypt. The Roeskes' father, Martin, is Head of Public Policy & Government Relations for Google in the Middle East and North Africa, and a graduate of Oxford University; their mother, Sahar Ibrahim, is an English teacher and an alumna of the University of Birmingham.