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Rugby: Cal wins 7s national championships

The Cal 7s team completed its second straight undefeated run in the Collegiate Rugby Championships with a 24-21 victory over Kutztown University at PPL Park in Philadelphia on Sunday.

The championship was the 24th for Cal coach Jack Clark and the 28th overall for the Bears’ rugby program.

Cal finished the three-day event with a 6-0 record and tournament-leading totals of 31 successful tries and a plus-127 points differential. Team captain Seamus Kelly led Cal’s tournament effort with six tries.

The Bears began Sunday’s play with a 33-5 win over Penn State, then beat UCLA 20-17 in the semifinals on a last-minute try by Andrew Battaglia.

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The Cal women’s varsity four crew team won its second NCAA championship in four years Sunday at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

The Bears scored 118 total points to place second in the overall team championship to Ohio State. Cal has finished among the nation’s top three overall for seven straight seasons and nine of the past 10 years.

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The Cal men’s crew won Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in the second varsity eight and the third varsity eight races to finish second overall in the team category at Lake Mercer at West Windsor, N.J.

The Bears scored 188 points to wind up four points shy of IRA champion Washington.

 

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Rugby: Bears fall to BYU in Varsity Cup final

Cal lost 43-33 to BYU in the championship game of the Varsity Cup national tournament on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

It was the third straight national title for BYU (18-1). Cal (18-3), hoping to win its 27th all-time title, has come up short three straight years for the first time since the championship was first contested in 1980.

“They were very, very good today,” said Cal coach Jack Clark of the Cougars. “They’re the national collegiate champions on merit. Beyond BYU, I’m proud of the Varsity Cup universities which comprised this postseason. It has been a great tournament and we all salute the Cougars as our champion.”

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Rugby: Cal, BYU clash for national title

Cal’s rugby team seeks its 27th national title but its first in three years Saturday when it faces two-time defending champion BYU in the Varsity Cup National Championship at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

The Bears (18-2) and Cougars (17-1) will square off in the title match for the eighth time in 10 years. Cal has won five of the previous seven, but BYU is potent, having outscored opponents this postseason by a margin of 130-15.

“We are unquestionably the underdogs,” Cal coach Jack Clark said. “This status doesn’t deter us — we prefer the clarity.”

Cal advanced to the championship game with a 58-14 home win over Central Washington last week, while BYU crushed Navy 60-0.

In terms of common opponents, BYU managed a 37-22 home victory over Cal Poly while Cal went on the road and pounded the Mustangs 95-14.

That outcome won’t help the Bears on Saturday.

“Our path to victory is narrow,” Clark said. “Against BYU, our victory conditions require a high degree of precision. A degree of accuracy with which our opposition isn’t burdened. In fact, BYU is so lethal, they can turn over a significant percentage of their possessions and still blow teams out.”

The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 1 p.m.

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Athletics: Cal’s rugby rout in national semifinals, topoing a busy and successful day on all fronts

Cal’s powerhouse rugby team roared into next week’s national championship with a 58-14 rout of Central Washington in the semifinals on Saturday at Witter Rugby Field.

The Bears (18-2) face two-time defending champion BYU (17-1) next Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City. The Cougars blanked Navy 60-0 in their semifinal.

Cal led 24-0 and was never threatened by Central Washington to set up a matchup vs. BYU in the title game for the eighth time in nine years.

BYU beat Cal 27-24 for last year’s title.  The Bears topped the Cougars in five of their other seven meetings since 2006.

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TRACK AND FIELD: Cal won the men’s team title at its Brutus Hamilton Challenge, led by senior Tom Blocker, whose winning time of 10.41 seconds in the 100-meter dash was a personal record and elevates him to No. 5 time on the school’s all-time list.

Blocker and football running back Khalfani Muhammad contributed to a second-place finish in the 400 relay with a season-best time of 40.25.

Sophomore Thomas Joyce was second in the Don Bowden Mile with a time of 4:00.49, which ranks No. 8 on Cal’s all-time list. Sydney Gray won the women’s Marilyn Davis mile in a personal-best of 4:22.18.

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It hasn’t been a great season for the Cal baseball team, but Brenden Farney’s RBI single sparked a three-run 10th inning and gave the Bears a 7-4 win over Stanford at Sunken Diamond.

The Bears improved to 17-20 overall, 6-10 in the Pac-12.

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Rugby: Bears set for national semifinal at Witter

Fourth-ranked Cal (17-2) will face No. 8 Central Washington (14-0) on Saturday at Witter Rugby Field in the Varsity Cup National Championships semifinal.

The match will begin at 1:30 p.m., just after the Cal football spring game, allowing fans to take in both events.

The winner of the Cal-CWU game will advance to the national championship game, May 3 at Salt Lake City, Utah, against the winner of Navy-BYU.

Cal advanced to the semifinal round with a 41-0 win over UCLA in the Super Regional, while Central Washington edged Utah 25-24 to reach the semifinals for the second straight season.

“Central Washington has a strong side as evidenced by their undefeated record,” Cal coach Jack Clark said. “We’re not undefeated, we have flaws, but we believe if we get it right on the day, we can beat them.”

Cal has won 26 national titles in rugby 15s since 1980, but BYU is the two-time defending champion, including a 27-24 victory over the Bears last season. Cal and BYU have met in the national title game seven of the past eight years, with the Bears prevailing in five of those.

Saturday’s game will be streamed live on Pac-12.com.

Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for youth 12-19 and seniors 65-plus, and free for Cal students and active military. A free shuttle will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., originating at the Underhill Lot on Channing Street between College & Bowditch.

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Rugby: Clark to enter Hall of Fame

Cal’s Jack Clark will be inducted into the U.S. Rugby Hall of Fame, the United States Rugby Football Federation announced.

To which I pose the question: What took them so long?

The induction ceremony takes place June 7 in Houston.

“I am very appreciative of the recognition,” Clark said. “I want to thank all the coaches and support staff who have so significantly contributed to this career and well as my opposition colleagues around the country and rugby world for their friendship and partnership in growing rugby.

“I am so appreciative of my old teammates and coaches for the game and teamship example they set. Mostly, I want to thank the players I have been blessed to coach.”

In his 31st year as head coach of the Golden Bears, Clark has led the rugby program to 22 national collegiate titles in 15s and, in 2013, its first collegiate 7s title in the Olympic version of rugby.

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Rugby: Bears win collegiate 7s national title

The Cal rugby team, long the national standard for traditional college rugby, won the 7-man Collegiate Rugby Championship with a 19-14 win over Life University on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Captain Seamus Kelly was named MVP of the tournament after scoring the decisive try.

The Bears went 6-0 in the 20-team, three-day event held at PPL Park.

After two days of pool play, Cal advanced to the championship match with a 33-21 win over UCLA. The Bears beat Arizona 26-12 in the quaterfinals.

Cal has won 26 national titles since 1980 in traditional rugby. The 7s game, quicker and shorter in duration, is the format that will be used in the Olympics beginning in 2016.

This is the Bears’ first championship in four tries at the 7s tournament, having lost in the 2010 final and in the 2011 quarterfinals before winning a bronze medal last year.

 

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Rugby: Bears roar into national finals

No surprise here. Cal’s unbeaten (21-0) and top-ranked rugby 15s team blasted Navy 74-6 at Witter Rugby Field to advance to the finals of the Varsity Cup National Championships.

The Bears will meet BYU next Saturday at Provo, Utah for the Varsity Cup crown.

Navy (9-2) trailed just 12-6 in the semifinal match when the Bears used a 62-0 run to turn the game into a rout.

“We know what they do, but we weren’t prepared for them to do it quite as
well as they did,” said Navy head coach Mike Flanagan.

 

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Rugby: Cal’s national semifinal match Saturday vs. Navy to be streamed live on Pac-12 Networks

The top-ranked Cal (20-0) rugby 15s team will take on Navy (9-1) in the semifinals of the Varsity Cup National Championships on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Witter Rugby Field in Berkeley.

The winner advances to the tournament championship game May 4 at Provo, Utah, against either BYU (10-2) or Central Washington (10-1).

Cal has won 26 of 33 national titles since 1980, but BYU captured the 2012 crown.

Navy has 10 collegiate championship final four appearances since 1980, but never has beaten the powerhouse Bears. Cal is 33-1 all-time vs. the military academies, its only defeat coming against Air Force in the 2003 collegiate national semifinals.

The Bears and Midshipmen clashed most recently in a postseason match in the 2007 national collegiate semifinals, with Cal prevailing 63-31.

Adult tickets are $10 and admission for kids 12-and-over and seniors is $5. Youth under 12 and all military personnel with ID are free. Gates open at 12:30 p.m.

The game will be streamed live over the Pac-12 Networks via:  http://pac-12.com/live/calbears.aspx.

 

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Water polo: Csikos breaks career record

Senior Emily Csikos had two goals Saturday in a 14-7 win over Cal State Bakersfield to become Cal’s career scoring leader. Csikos now has 214 career goals.

A three-time All-America selection, Csikos leads Cal with 47 goals this season.

– Rugby: The Bears rallied from a 15-point halftime deficit to beat Saint Mary’s 42-31 in front of a full house at Witter Field to close the regular season with a perfect 19-9 record.

Cal returns to action next in the Varsity Cup tournament, beginning Saturday at Annapolis, Md., against Notre Dame. The event runs through the May 4 championship at Provo, Utah.