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[Cal's Carl Hendrickson carries the ball against Arizona State University. Photo credit: Abel Barrientes]
PHILADELPHIA — In California’s first training session in Philadelphia before last year’s Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC), then-sophomore Jesse Milne injured his hamstring and didn’t make an appearance in the tournament.
“It’s exciting to see the work come to fruition and actually get some playing time,” Milne said. “Last year, I had gone through all the training and selection process. I pulled my hamstring, but couldn’t play. I was out here and got to go through all the actual stuff other than the games. It will be nice actually be out of the field.”
Milne is one of three debutants for Cal, joined by Carl Hendrickson and All-American Alec Gletzer, both senior forwards.
“There’s not many forwards on the practice squad, so every time you’re out there, you’re thinking, ‘I’m vying for a couple of forward spots,” Hendrickson said. “There’s only two of us out here this weekend. We knew that we really had to distinguish ourselves and you have to show that you have the mobility that a back does.”
Gletzer made eight appearances in the Fall 2013 sevens season and Hendrickson has made 17 sevens appearances, scoring seven career sevens tries.
“We had a lot of guys practicing and it was a pretty competitive outlook on who was going to make the squad and who wasn’t,” Hendrickson said. “It was a big honor to get selected over some really good players.”
After downing Life University 19-14 to claim last year’s CRC championship, the Golden Bears are in Pool A with Drexel, Maryland and Temple. Cal beat Temple 55-0 last year as part of a 6-0 title run.
“Points matter also, so we have to come into every game prepared to score as much as we can,” Milne said. “And keep them off the board to help our seeding in the next round.”