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Local athletes join scrum at Oregon State
Two north state athletes have found a home on the top-10 ranked Oregon State Rugby club.
The route Corning High graduate Sean McFadden and Maxwell High alumnus Shane Cabral took to get to Oregon State differed, but both are making their mark on the Beavers squad.
McFadden graduated from Corning in 2009 and enrolled at Oregon State the next year.
"I did sports in high school but we didn't have rugby, I'd heard of rugby before but not very much," McFadden said. "I came up here and was at the gym and some guys started talking to me about joining the team."
By the end of his first year, McFadden was in the starting line-up, in part because of his ability to catch the ball on line-outs. Growing up McFadden played basketball, which gave him good hands, he said.
Though he played football in high school, it was his time on the wrestling team learning double-leg takedowns that helped him adapt to tackling low without pads, he said.
"I would definitely say wrestling helped more than football but it is so different. You have to be in really good shape, in wrestling you have to be in top shape and in rugby you run 80 minutes without really stopping like football," McFadden said.
After his freshman year, McFadden was named the Beavers' most improved player. He was slowed last season by a few injuries but is back healthy this season for the Division I-AA Beavers.
Last summer McFadden joined the team on a three-week long trip to New Zealand to celebrate its 50th anniversary and to watch the Rugby World Cup.
McFadden plays the No. 8 position, a versatile forward position where he has to be comfortable off-loading passes in traffic on offense and as the last line of defense, he said.
Cabral, a 2009 Maxwell graduate, joined the team for the first time after transferring from American River College in Sacramento and playing rugby for the Colusa County Rugby Football Club last season.
Currently, Cabral is playing on the B-side squad as he waits for his paperwork to clear, because he's enrolled at Oregon State and a community college to save money on out-of-state tuition.
"(Cabral) is definitely an A-side player, we could definitely use him on the A-side, but I had the same paper problem last year because I'm dual enrolled," McFadden said.
While attending American River in Sacramento, Colusa County captain Cody Beckley talked Cabral and his brother, Kyle, into joining the team. It didn't take much convincing.
"I was sitting in college not playing anything and it was kind of strange after playing sports all through high school," Cabral said.
Last year Cabral learned the basics of playing the prop position with Colusa County and has excelled there at Oregon State. In high school Cabral was a lineman for Maxwell and the skills he learned there help on the front line of the scrum.
"Now I know where the line of scrimmage came from in football and how it relates to rugby because it came first, so where the ball comes in and where the two lines push in," Cabral said.
Playing in college is a little different than playing for the Colusa County side, because players are expected to come to practice and every player is in their 20s, he said.
"Last year I was going against older people, 30-40 year olds, here it's 20-year-olds. Overall the experience is probably the same, each team has some new guys and some who have been playing five years," he said.
On March 16 Cabral injured his knee against Oregon during the Civil War match for the B-side team, but expects to be back in action when the Beavers take on Washington on April 7.
If everything goes as planned, Cabral's paper work will be complete and he can join McFadden on the undefeated A-side, which beat the Ducks 39-0.
"(McFadden's) pretty good, he runs over a lot of people, he's a pretty powerful runner. Our forward pack is pretty big compared to other ones, we should to be able to run over a lot of schools," Cabral said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.