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Seamus Kelly is about as decorated a college rugby player as there is. He’s a four-time, and likely to be five-time, All American. He earned his first cap as an Eagle while still in school, and he capped off his collegiate rugby career Sunday with a second-straight Collegiate Rugby Championship title.
“Great group of guys, great coaches, great setup, and couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Kelly after the win. “I’m happy for them, and it’s a really great moment, a really great way to end a career.”
Kelly could have called it quits at Cal this time last year, but he chose to stick around for a fifth season, and his final spring semester of 15s wasn’t one of Cal’s best. Not the fitting end to a career like Kelly’s.
“It wasn’t a great 15s year by our standards, so to be able to finish out like this and send our captain out with what he deserves, it’s a real surreal ending,” said Jake Anderson.
“Amazing for him, and to be able to carry him off the field with what he deserves, it’s amazing."
Kelly is perhaps the only person to participate in every CRC to date, going all the way back to the 2010 tournament in Columbus, Ohio. He was a freshman on the Bears team that lost to Utah in the final that year. And he was on the team that finished sixth the next year, and the one that finished third the year after that.
“It was frustrating the first few events at the CRC, and we were still trying to figure out how to approach this tournament after a long 15s season,” said Kelly. “I think we’ve found that balance now, and it’s really special to be able to string two back-to-back, and I think it says a lot about the program.”
Kelly led all try scorers in his final CRC, dotting down six over the course of the weekend. For his efforts, this weekend and the last five years, he left the field on the shoulders of his teammates.