Despite losing to Cal-Berkeley in the USA Rugby Men’s Division I collegiate playoffs, UCLA players – including Los Altos native Aaron Elman – were feeling pretty good about themselves at game’s end.
The underdog Bruins were more than satisfied with their offensive effort against the second-seeded Bears in the round of 16.
“Our offense was great tonight,” Elman said after UCLA’s 65-32 loss April 17 at Life University in Marietta, Ga. “We scored more points against Cal than any other team in the tournament in a very long time.”
The Bears have dominated rugby, winning 12 of the last 14 national titles. They rarely surrender more than a handful of points.
“(This) has been a fantastic year for Bruin rugby,” said Elman, a flanker.
A 2008 Mountain View High graduate, Elman didn’t play rugby until college. At the beginning of his freshman year, Elman’s roommate introduced him to the UCLA rugby team.
Although a newcomer to the sport, Elman already had an established weight-room and cardio training regimen from his days throwing the shot put and discus at Mountain View High, which he said prepared him well for the physical demands of rugby.
After learning the game as a freshman, Elman earned considerable playing time his sophomore year – including in the playoffs.
“Rugby has been a great experience for me,” Elman said. “The team work, conditioning and off-the-field camaraderie has made this a fantastic extracurricular activity.”