By Charlotte Novak | Contributing Writer

Derek Ellingson looks forward to D1A Rugby Playoffs. (Courtesy of Saint Mary’s Club Sports)

Every year, dozens of young men head out to the pitch eager to become part of the infamous Saint Mary’s Men’s Rugby Team and uphold the traditions of this wildly exciting sport, which has become an integral part of the fabric and history of Saint Mary’s College.

Derek Ellingson is one of those young men who thrives on Pat Vincent Field. He is fairly new to rugby, but that does not stop him from shining on the pitch. The rugby player is a Bay Area native from Walnut Creek, CA, and he attended De La Salle High School in Concord, CA.

Ellingson, who is naturally athletic, has played many sports throughout his lifetime. He enjoyed success while playing baseball, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey, but decided to try his hand in rugby about a year and a half ago. He instantly fell in love with the intensity and fast paced tempo of the game.

Ellingson smiles as he explains his initial interest in the sport, “When I quit hockey, I wanted to play another sport on campus, and one that involved contact, so I figured rugby was a good option for me.”

He currently plays wing, and also lays claim to the secondary “unofficial” position on the team as a “hype man.” Ellingson’s high energy and positive personality keeps the team’s morale high, whether at practice, or in a game. The rugby player not only brings positive energy to the field, but there is no doubt he also brings speed and remarkable ball handling skills as well.

One of the highlights from his rugby career was when he scored a try that put the Gaels in the lead during their intense match against rival team Cal.

Ellingson and his teammates are looking forward to this spring when they travel to Italy to play some challenging European teams. In May, the Gaels will compete in the 2018 D1A Rugby Playoffs, where they hope to emerge victorious and bring home a championship title for Saint Mary’s once more.

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