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Aircraft Charter Solutions PoW - Gabe Wahl

HS Boys

Aircraft Charter Solutions PoW - Gabe Wahl

Drew Falk, left, and Gabe Wahl, right, for Dana Hills Rugby. Michelle Wahl photo.
When Gabe Wahl and Drew Falk graduated from the San Clemente Youth Rugby program, they wanted to keep playing, but they found there was no team at their school.
 
No problem; they made one.
 
“We just wanted to keep on playing, so we decided to make a team,” Wahl told Goff Rugby Report. “We know Ibbo [Ian Ibbettson] from his coaching at San Clemente, and Craig Hartley was working with San Clemente, and they had coached us, so we got them to help.”
 
Thus started the Dana Hills High School team. They entered the Southern California Blue Division - designed for developing programs - last year and were unbeaten until losing to Mira Costa in the division championship game. 
 
So far this season, Dana Hills has already avenged their loss to Mira Costa as both have moved up to the Varsity White Division, and also beat one of their major rivals, View Park Prep. They are 4-0 in the Varsity White, and looking to be in good shape to win the Varsity White Los Angeles conference.
 
“Last year we had like 20 kids,” said Wahl, who scored three tries on Saturday to pace Dana Hills in their 27-5 victory over Wilson HS. “ This year We got a lot of kids from football and other sports. We have strength in numbers now and because of that we are a little bit better. And with Craig Hartley helping to coach the team, he brings a whole new look at the game.”
 
The success of the program has attracted football players, and Wahl said he hopes the rugby experience will translate into some victories for the football team, too.
 
Certainly the rugby team is enjoying this season.
 
“It is pretty fun to win,” said Wahl, who plays scrumhalf. “The level of competition I think is more difficult. I think View Park was our toughest game because so many of the players were new to the game. We’re not blowing away teams like we did last year, but we’re still winning.”
 
They are winning thanks to good overall team play. They won on Saturday despite Ibbetson not being with the team as he was in England for his father’s funeral. 
 
Wahl’s three tries showcase the team nature of the win. The first try came after some Dana Hills pressure - the ball rolled out of a defensive Wilson scrum and Wahl nabbed it and scored. The second came from another Wilson scrum near their line. The Dana Hills defense bottled up the Wilson attack and the ball rolled loose. Again Wahl was there to score - fending off the referee in the process.
 
In the third, he moved out to center and “the ball was just passed to me and I scored.”
 
It was all abut the work of the forwards, said Wahl. 
 
“Our forward pack has really developed,” said Wahl. “Last year everyone was about the same size - we were small, fast kids. Now we have some better size. We are still trying to learn and figure out what to do, we’re kind of the bigger team now.”
 
And the better team.
 
Both Gabe Wahl and Drew Falk deserve kudos for starting this program, which has won 13 and lost 2 since they began playing in late 2013, but for our Aircraft Charter Solutions Player of the Week, we’ll give the nod to Wahl for his three-try performance over Wilson.
 

Dana Hills Rugby - Michelle Wahl photo