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Sherman Names Diverse, Untried Side

College Men

Sherman Names Diverse, Untried Side

Twenty-one different colleges sent players to the Men’s Collegiate All American camp,, a hugely diverse group that saw 53 players in camp whittled down to a squad of 33.
 
You want diversity? Cal has no players on this team. BYU has one. Of course that’s in part because the two best players from those programs have been All Americans before and are on the USA National Team. And certainly there are other players who might have challenged for a place but have jobs, injury, or some other issue keeping them from the summer camp.
 
But still, this is a diverse group.
 
“All of the players who made the team impressed us, as well as many who didn’t,” said All American Head Coach Matt Sherman (who was an All American at Cal). “Competition for spots was very high.”
 
Some players trained their way onto the team, and some played their way in the final scrimmage. In that last group were Ryan Blyth from West Virginia and Steven Karas from Colorado State. As always happens  Two players who we didn’t know a lot about, were a bit quite through the camp, and really played there way into the team in the scrimmage was Ryan Blyth, a loose forward from West Virginia, and Steven Karas, a prop from Colorado State.
 
That seems to happen every year, and from Paul Emerick to James Gillenwater to Zach Fenoglio, players can emerge from relatively obscure circumstances to become important contributors to the All Americans, and the Eagles.
 
Sherman said he doesn’t quite know what the overall image of this team will be, as the squad has only six who toured New Zealand last summer. 
 
“We are a relatively young and new team,” said Sherman. “But I think there’s a lot of talent throughout the squad.  We return some strong tight five candidates and there are a lot of new strong tight five candidates who will compete for positions as well.  With the backs, we have a lot of new faces, but some really talented and athletic ones and I think we can potentially be dangerous out wide too.”
 
There are players to watch, of course. Paris Hollis is a powerhouse up front, and Mike Lawrenson was a big part of last year’s successful tour. Madison Hughes remains an exciting offensive threat, and Kalei Konrad is someone to think about as he spent his pre-camp preparation at the Auckland Rugby Academy in New Zealand.
 
Vili Toluta’u is a freshman and USA U20 player who earned a spot at flanker - no easy feat - and AIC wing Christian Adams is another Freshman will still-raw talent.
 
Peter Malcom of Wheeling Jesuit is another player who is coming off a strong U20 campaign. Often there’s a weird choice. In 2008 Hayden Smith was a basketball player at Metro State when he got an All American nod. A player can be in college, and not playing college rugby, to get selected. Chris Bergquist-Turori, a regular on OMBAC and training with the USA 7s team, is that sort of player. He is enrolled at Palomar College in San Diego, and what he brings to the team is physicality and experience.
 
Overall it’s not a big team, with UW-Whitewater’s Ben Landry and Lawrenson providing most of the height. They could have used a 6-4 flanker, but have a 6-4 flyhalf instead.
 
The squad is light at scrumhalf, with Niku Kruger and Sione Lauti listed there. Lauti is not a classic long-pass #9. However, Jonny Linehan and Madison Hughes can also play there.