Cal Rugby: 14 New Golden Bears Join Roster

First-year class includes internationals and seven former team captains

Jack Clark, head coach of the California Golden Bears rugby team, added 14 new first-year students to his 2020-2021 roster, the university announced this month. Among the recruits are seven former team captains and internationals from Canada, Chile, Hong Kong and the U.K.

  • Pat Deely (Danville, Calif.), backrow/lock

  • Tom Dixon (The Woodlands, Texas), backrow/lock

  • Brett Dowgiewicz (Long Beach, Calif.), center

  • Josh Mao (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada), prop/hooker

  • Dominic Paga (Menlo Park, Calif.), flanker

  • Clayton Seastrand (Clayton, Calif.), prop

  • Will Shankland (Surrey, U.K.), flyhalf

  • Emilo Shea (Santiago, Chile), backrow/hooker

  • Jafer Snipes (Kentfield, Calif.), center

  • Caleb Tomasin (Pismo Beach, Calif.), halfback/center

  • Uate Uhila (East Palo Alto, Calif.), prop

  • Matt Vranesh (Alamo, Calif.), hooker

  • Charlie Walsh (Hong Kong), hooker

  • Evan Weigold (Old Greenwich, Conn.), center/wing

“There is so much potential in this class, we can’t wait to work with them,” the head coach and U.S. Rugby Hall of Famer said in a prepared statement. “Only time will tell, but this might be a program-formative recruiting class. Either way, they’re ours, and we are honored to have them join our University and rugby team.”

Deely, a 6-4, 230-pound backrow player, is a national champion. His high school club won a national championship in 2018 and placed fifth in the same tournament the following year. A San Francisco Bay Area local, his older brother Jack is also a Golden Bear on the water polo team.

Dixon, a 6-4, 220-pound backrow player, is a U.K. citizen. He moved to Texas and became team captain of The Woodlands Rugby Club in Texas in his last two seasons. After two state championships in 2017 and 2019, the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy selected him to compete in the LA Sevens rugby tournament in 2020.

Dowgiewicz, a 5-11, 215-pound center, was captain of the Woodrow Wilson High School rugby team in Long Beach, Calif. He played for the under-18 national team and was a high school all-American.

Mao, a 5-11, 233-pound prop/hooker, was captain of St. Michaels University School’s XV rugby side from 2018 to 2020. A Canada international, he has made the under-18 Canadian national rugby team’s roster in each of the last three years and led the under-18 and under-19 teams to the BC Rugby provincial championships in his native British Columbia.

Paga, a six-foot, 205-pound flanker, is the son of Golden Bear rugby and U.S. national team alumnus Shaun Paga. Most recently, he was team captain of Menlo-Atherton High School in Atherton, Calif., where he also played football as a defensive end and linebacker. His high school team won the local Peninsula Athletic League in 2018 and 2020 and a CIF Division 3-AA state championship.

Seastrand, a 6-2, 230-pound prop, played football as a tight end and defensive end at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. Although he has only played rugby for the last two years, Seastrand is no stranger to the pitch. He has played alongside current Golden Bears Luke Freeman, Nick Leusing, Cal Liebowitz, Luke Ogburn and Jason Severance.

Shankland, a 5-11, 170-pound flyhalf, joins from the Harrow School in London, a prestigious school well-known for rugby in England. The school won the Middlesex 7s cup championship this year in March. His brother Marcus is also a senior and two-year starter for the Golden Bears.

Shea, a 5-11, 223-pound backrow player, is a Chile international and a member of the under-18 Chilean national team. In his third year of high school, his team won the Invitational Cup in Chile and reached the final in the national sevens club tournament the same season.

Snipes, a six-foot, 190-pound center, spent four years playing football for St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco as a linebacker. He has earned first-team honors and was crowned West Catholic Athletic League champions in 2019.

Tomasin, a 5-6, 175-pound halfback/center, also played football and baseball in high school. A three-sport athlete, he’s earned most valuable player honors in baseball and football, the latter as a running back. He also won the under-18 LA Sevens rugby tournament with the Eagle Impact Rugby Academy in 2020.

Uhila, a 6-1, 290-pound prop, was the Menlo-Atherton High School rugby club’s team captain. He also spent four years on the varsity football team as an offensive lineman, where he led his team to the program’s first state championship in 2018.

Vranesh, a six-foot, 215-pound hooker, was also an offensive lineman at De La Salle High School in Concord, Calif. On the rugby pitch, he is a Northern California and high school national club champion.

Walsh, a 5-11, 231-pound hooker, led his St. Paul’s Collegiate School from Hong Kong to four XV high school championships in New Zealand’s central north island as the team's captain.

Weigold, a six-foot, 180-pound center/wing, joins the Golden Bears rugby team in his brother Jack’s footsteps, who recently graduated. At Greenwich High School in Connecticut, his team was state champions in 2018. He also made the Connecticut all-state team in his second and third years of high school. Weigold also spent time on the football field as an outside linebacker and ties his high school's career leaderboard for interceptions.