Rugby - Men's

O’Dowd Rugby Attend Cal Rugby Camp

cal rugby campers

O’Dowd rugby players Michael Shilliday ’17, Andrew Crudo ’18, Walter Garner ’17 and David Rosario-Sanchez ’17 were among 160 top rugby players in the country who recently attended the Cal Rugby Camp. They are pictured here with O’Dowd varsity rugby coach Ray Lehner and his son Oliver.

Cal head varsity rugby coach Jack Clark said the O’Dowd campers “were uniformly rugby knowledgeable. It is clear they enjoy the game and are well coached. They were also a pleasure to be around. They’re really coachable and hardworking boys.”

Dragons Win Rugby Double Header

odowd rugby

The Bishop O’Dowd Men and Women’s rugby teams both advance to the Northern California Championships after winning a very wet Saturday evening double header of Nor Cal Rugby Playoffs on the De La Salle Campus. The Northern California Championships will be held on Saturday April 16, Venue TBA.

Rugby Teams Lend a Hand

The O’Dowd men’s and women’s rugby teams embraced a community service opportunity last week, helping set up and break down for a retreat for women who have male family members – spouses, children or other relatives – in prison. The retreat took place at Holy Redeemer Center, where the teams practice, and was sponsored by Kairos Outside Northern California. Read more…

Bianca Ortiz-Pallen ’16 Reflects on her USA Rugby High School All-American Game Experience

Rugby player Bianca Ortiz-Pallen ’16 hadn’t played the position of hooker since freshman year of high school – and even then it was only a few times in practice.

Last month, Ortiz-Pallen played the pivotal position in the USA Rugby Girls High School All-American (GHSAA) game, helping lead the team to two resounding victories, 58-0 and 45-17, over the British Columbia High School All Stars on Aug. 21 and 23.

Front and center in all scrums, Ortiz-Pallen was charged with hooking the ball backwards, between the legs of the props to the 8 man. She typically plays the 8 man position, tackling, rucking for the backs, or powering through the line. Read more…




Rugby Claims Northern California Rugby Championship

O’Dowd defeated the North Sacramento Warriors, 45-31, at St. Mary’s College in Moraga on Saturday to claim the Northern California Boys Varsity Rugby Championship, and fullback Jose Moreno ’15 was selected as player of the match by Canterbury of New Zealand – the corporate sponsor of the high school championships.

“I am really proud of my team, they have risen to every challenge that has been placed in front of them. Our opponent was previously undefeated and they also had us by about 25 pounds per man, but our boys never backed down,” Director of Rugby Ray Lehner said. “It’s a great victory for our school and the program. All things considered we are punching well above our weight class. Again it’s a tribute to the lads they are a tough bunch.” Read more…

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Bianca Ortiz-Pallen wins Elite Camper 2013 at Nike Rugby Camp

Stanford University, Director Of Rugby, recognizes Bishop O’Dowd’s Bianca Ortiz-Pallen (2016) as the 2013 Nike Elite Camper, the highest honor awarded by Elite Rugby Camps USA.

Read more…

So What Is Rugby Anyway?

Rugby is a game that is played in over 120 countries throughout the world. Many of the values of Rugby come from its rich history, traditions, camaraderie and community involvement with the sport.  It is the contact sport that “the rest of the world plays!”

Rugby is a continuous game whereby two teams carry, pass, kick and ground the ball in order to score as many points as possible, with the team scoring the greater number of points being the winner.

15 people play at a time per side, each of which have specific duties as a player. Players are usually talked about in respect to two categories. Members of the first group are called the forwards, or the pack, and consist of your typically bigger stronger players (like linemen in football) they wear numbers 1-8. Members of the second group are called the backs, and consist of your smaller faster set, they wear numbers 9-15.

A continuous game.

If a player is tackled to the ground they must release the ball, which usually results in a ruck. If a player is held while standing, a maul will usually be formed. The purpose of the ruck or maul is so that the game can continue without any stoppage in play.

The line-out and scrum are two key distinguishing factors to the game of Rugby Union. A scrum occurs when there is an accidental infringement and a line-out occurs when the ball goes out of bounds. Both of these are methods of restarting the game.

A try is scored when a player places the ball in the opposition’s in-goal area. It is counted as 5 points and can be converted to an additional 2 points with a successful place kick or drop kick. Points may also be awarded from a drop kick in general play and a penalty kick. Both are worth 3 points.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I – or my child – have never played rugby before?

Rugby requires specific skills just like any other sport. In fact, some of the best rugby players started playing other sports first and then converted to rugby. Skills acquired in any other sports will help you learn the basic rugby skills and allow you to quickly adapt to the new game.

I thought you had to be big to play rugby?

No. Rugby requires many varied body shapes and sizes to play the game. From shorter, strong front rowers to tall far reaching second rowers and the fast, nimble outside backs. There is a crucial position for everyone in rugby. Rugby is, however, a contact sport. It is therefore critical that correct tackling techniques are coached and learnt, so that all shapes and sizes coming into contact with each other can tackle in a safe and correct manner.

What gear does my child need before they play the game?

Mouth guards and football or soccer cleats are the major requirements.

What time of year is Rugby played?

Rugby is a Spring Sport, our season runs from February to May.

Is Rugby a Varsity Sport at Bishop O’Dowd?

Yes we are.  The commitment required is exactly like Varsity Football and Basketball.  We train 4 days per week during the season and 2 days a week during our pre season (Fall) for those kids not participating in a Fall or a Winter Sport?

My son or daughter plays soccer in the Winter can they still play rugby?

Yes they can begin training with the rugby team at the conclusion of the soccer season.

Who do we play against?  Do other High Schools have Rugby?

We live in the epicenter of High School and Youth Rugby in America.  There are over 100 High School and Youth Rugby Programs in Northern California.  The Men play in the Top flight “Single School” Conference with the likes of Jesuit, Christian Brothers, De La Salle and Bellermine.  The Women play in the “Open” competition against other Multi High School Club Teams; Alameda, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, to name a few.

How many teams do we field?

We field 3 teams, a Men’s Varsity and JV and a Women’s Varsity.

Who can I contact with more questions?

Ray Lehner; Director of Rugby


Rugby Debuts at O’Dowd

There’s a new sport on campus and it’s attracting a considerable following.

Rugby debuts at O’Dowd this semester, with matches scheduled for March and April.

A group of 70 boys and girls are currently participating in conditioning workouts and learning about the intricacies of the ruck, scrum and maul from O’Dowd rugby director Ray Lehner. Official practice begins Feb. 8.

The boy’s team will face Berkeley, Oakland Military Institute, Pleasanton, Alameda, De La Salle, Bellarmine Prep and Piedmont, while the women’s team will take on Berkeley, Davis and Alameda during the inaugural season. Schedules for both teams will be posted on the school website soon.

“Interestingly, we were only going to field a boy’s team and a bunch of girls came to me and said ‘Why can’t we have a team as well?’” Lehner said.  I told them they needed 25 committed girls to play, and they brought me a sign up sheet with the names of 40 girls.”

The seed for the rugby team was planted last spring, when Lehner and parent Amy Vernetti, whose son Nate Mills ’11 plays club rugby, drafted a mission statement and business plan for the team.

Lehner says that the Bay Area is the epicenter for high school rugby, with dozens of schools fielding teams that carry on the rich history, traditions, camaraderie associated with the sport.

In short, rugby is a continuous game whereby two teams carry, pass, kick and ground the ball in order to score as many points as possible. Fifteen people play at a time per side.

It’s a misconception that one has to be “big” to play rugby, says Lehner. “Rugby requires many varied body shapes and sizes to play the game. From shorter, strong front rowers to tall, far-reaching second rowers and the fast, nimble outside backs, there is a crucial position for everyone in rugby,” he said.

Players need to be prepared, however, for a very physical game. “There are no pads – it’s all flesh and bones,” Lehner said. “But it’s a contact sport, not a collision sport. Because of that it’s much safer than American football.”

Lehner and his staff will spend a great deal of time coaching correct tackling techniques so that players avoid injury.

Rugby is different from most other American sports, which Lehner calls “tribal.”

“In other sports you only care about your team winning, and after a game you don’t want anything to do with the opposition,” he said. “With rugby, the tradition is that after a match you share a meal with the opposition. I admire that aspect of the game — being fierce competitors on the field, but afterwards realizing you share lots of common interests with your opponents.”

Lehner has been playing rugby since he was in elementary school. He played on the Cal rugby team, where he was a three-time All-American front row forward and his team won three rugby National Championships, and played professional rugby overseas for Henley RFC and Neath RFC.

He later played for Oxford University, where he earned a master’s degree in history, and participated in the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

Lehner has coached rugby at Jesuit High in Sacramento (his alma mater), Cal and the Olympic Club in San Francisco. He has also coached the Oxford University women’s team and the United States Under 20 National Team.

Lehner will be assisted by O’Dowd teacher and former Princeton football and rugby player DJ Vierra ’99, former St. Mary’s College rugby player Rebecca Wright, former Cal rugby player and O’Dowd Board of Regent member Paul Manca, former Santa Clara rugby player Jim Cramer ’78, Olympic Club rugby player Kevin Herrera, who is a member of the United States Junior National Team, and Allison McKenzie ’08, who played rugby at UC Santa Cruz.


2016 Men’s Rugby Schedules / Results / Scores

Click here for combined schedules for all levels

Varsity Schedule – Click here
Scores / Results / Record – Click here
Junior Varsity Schedule – Click here Scores / Results / Record – Click here

2016 Men’s Rugby


Name Year
Sam Taylor 11
Troy Coaston 12
Christian Yau-Weeks 11
Matthew Won 12
Marco Bordessa 12
Sean Lee 12
Kyle King 11
Nick Desler 11
Stefano Hurtado 11
Christian Bratcher 12
Michael Shilliday 11
Henry Windle 12
Gabriel Goodspeed 9
Teddy Bruin 10
Michael Torres 10
Nicolas Padilla 9
Orion Binder 12
Max Williams 10
Matthew Lydon 12
Matt Saccomanno 12
Shane Boyle 11
Alexander Yegian 9
Nick Sanchez 10
Jordan Riley 9
Kieran Okada 9
Tommy Hyland 9
David Rosario 10
Josh Mannix 9
Connor Mannix 11
Matthew Szuhaj 9
Avery Bilensky 11
Walter Garner 10
Kieren McGoldrick 10
Richard Rogers 12
Michael Schirmer 11
Andrew Crudo 10
Ryan Miller 12
Jacob Wahbeh 10
Marcus Williams 12
Zachary Eslick 11
TJ Hunter 12
Ephraim Winston 10
John Fournier 12
Zachary Boitano 11
Louis Mischeaux 12
Bryce Lynds 11
Stephan Loukianoff 10
Lionel Sims Jr. 12
Bronson Lee 12
Jack Schirmer 9
Robby Crosby 12

2016 Women’s Rugby


Name Year
Ella Pashman 10
Ruiz-Mendoza, Adryanna 11
Piette, Grace 12
Carper,Anne 12
Gonzalez, Jessica 10
Gonzalez, Samantha 10
Barros, Victoria 10
Schroepfer, Sabine 10
Ortiz-Pallen, Bianca 12
Williams, Kaitlin 10
Carper, Eleanore 10
So, Jennica 10
Torres,Nataly 9
Mayer, Shariyf 10
Gutierrez, Alondra 10
Ratto, Caitlin 12
Yao, Gabby 11
Gonzalez, Alexandra 12
Morrish, Maria 12
McBriarty, Denali 9
Campion, Madison 12
Finau, Salome 9
Seyoum, Maya 9
Trinchero, Katerina(Kat) 9
Kim, Grace 12
Otuhiva, Malia 9

2014 Men’s Rugby


No. First Name Last Name Position Year
1 Andrew Benford FLANKER SR
2 Majied Bey CENTER SR
3 Nedir Bey WING SR
4 Orion Binder CENTER JR
5 Brooks Castaneda WING JR
6 Lehnen Chaumette-Brown LOCK SR
7 Peter Clifton WING JR
8 Luke Commins FLYHALF SR
10 Jose Gutierrez SCRUMHALF SR
11 Nate Hancock-Harris HOOKER SR
12 Tyler Hentges CENTER JR
13 Conor Holiman FLANKER SR
15 Khari Marshall WING SR
16 Jose Moreno FULLBACK JR
17 Vineet Nair PROP JR
18 Daniel Newell PROP SR
19 Scott Olofson LOCK JR
20 Latrel Powell WING JR
21 Jesus Rios CENTER SR
22 Paul Saccamano CENTER JR
23 John Scott CENTER JR
24 Andrew Shaw 8TH MAN JR
25 Eric Stearns CENTER JR
26 Kristopher Telhami FLYHALF JR

Junior Varsity

No. First Name Last Name Position Year
1 Marco Bordessa HALFBACK  
2 Shane Boyle WING  
3 Antonio Cardenas FLANKER  
4 Troy Coaston HOOKER  
5 Robert Crosby WING  
6 Holden Dobbs PROP  
7 Zach Eslick PROP  
8 Greg Gomez 8TH MAN  
9 Stefano Hurtado HOOKER  
10 Sean Lee 8TH MAN  
11 Matthew Lydon HOOKER  
12 Brice Lynds FLANKER  
13 Connor Mannix HOOKER  
14 Louis Mischeaux LOCK  
15 Richard Rodgers PROP  
16 Sam Taylor WING  
17 Aiden Williams PROP  
18 Henry Windle LOCK  
19 Matthew Won CENTER  
20 Christian Yau-Weeks WING


Director of Rugby
Head Varsity Coach

Ray Lehner
(510) 577-9100, ext. 232

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