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Home > Chris Dempster - 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Winner

 Chris Dempster -
 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Grant Recipient

San Diego, CA (December 19, 2011) - Chris Dempster’s rugby career began when he went out for the Berkeley Rhinos Rugby Club in Berkeley, CA. Living in Berkeley, home of the Cal Bears, Chris had seen a couple of rugby matches but didn’t really know how to play the game. With help from his coaches, Chris quickly picked up the nuances of the game and seeing his potential the coaching staff decided to try him at flyhalf. The first few games were not easy as Chris and the team struggled. Chris’ play did improve as the season wore on but the Rhinos won just a single game.

Chris was determined to see the team improve in his sophomore year and recruited many incoming freshmen to come out to training. His efforts paid off as the Rhinos now had enough players for both a varsity and junior varsity teams. Chris’ improved play also saw him elevated to captain of the JV backline.

Seeing how beneficial his recruiting efforts were the year before, Chris went on another recruiting blitz heading into his junior year. Once again, another big new crop of rugby recruits showed up for Rhinos training. Chris moved up to varsity his junior year and retained his backline captaincy command. He was also called on to captain the entire squad on occasion.

Chris did something you don’t see too often for a high school player in his senior year of high school, he became a certified rugby referee. In addition to being a referee, he was named the team captain.

Berkeley Rhinos coach David Williamson remembers when Chris first came out for the rugby team. “I first met Chris when he was a rather slight high school freshman eagerly signing up for rugby. Since then I’ve been impressed with his dedication, his mental and physical abilities and his inter-personal skills. He has truly grown into the game. Chris did a wonderful job recruiting and helping new players. As one of our captains this year, after practices and matches he would lead cheers in promoting camaraderie with his team and respect for his opponents.”

Chris carried a 3.25 GPA at Berkeley High School. In addition to rugby, Chris was a member of the school’s BBQ Club. Every month the organization would put on large BBQs raising funds for various school programs.

Off the pitch, Chris was involved with his local chapter of the Sea Scouts, an organization that is similar to Boys Scouts but with a more nautical emphasis. Some of the Sea Scout activities included weekly rowing exercises around Coast Guard Island in Alameda, CA. The Sea Scouts also went on routine voyages on their 85’ ship and learned everything from swabbing the decks to navigating a ship’s course.

Chris is looking forward to balancing a busy school, rugby and social calendar while at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo but is looking forward to the challenge. His coach at Cal Poly, Dave Burnett, is looking forward to having Chris around for the next four years. "Chris has been a tremendous addition to the Cal Poly Rugby Club this year. His dedication at training and on game day has been second to none. Chris has a lot of potential across the backline, playing from fly half to full back. He has a very good relationship with all players at the club from his fellow freshmen to the seniors as well. I look forward to seeing his progress in the coming seasons."

Congratulations Chris on being named a 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.

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