Sky is the limit for young, exciting Lopes
By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Men’s Rugby team continues to show why it belongs on the Division I level.
Although GCU didn’t capture a national title, the Lopes delivered another successful season in 2018-2019 under head coach Cam Wyper.
In just its second Division I season, the Lopes went 5-1 (6-4 overall) – good enough for second place behind rival St. Mary’s College of Moraga in the Lopes’ first year in the California Conference. GCU again qualified for the DIA College Rugby Playoffs Round of 16 before falling to the Gaels in the opening round.
With a group of young, talented players and a dynamic head coach with a national championship to his name, the Lopes have established themselves as an exciting men’s rugby program on the rise.
The best part? GCU will return all but one player heading into next season.
“We had a decent year,” said Wyper, who finished up his third season as GCU’s head coach after leading Lindenwood University of Missouri to a national title in 2015. “Making the playoffs again and getting to play on that stage gives our young guys a great platform to build on going forward. We’re excited with how the program is progressing.”
Among this season’s highlights were drubbings of San Diego State University (83-10), University of California, Davis (60-12), Arizona State University (50-8) and Santa Clara University (76-3). All of GCU’s losses were to teams ranked inside the top 11 in the DIA College Rugby Top 20 Poll. The Lopes finished the season ranked No. 15 in the poll after a No. 11 finish last year.
“We had some injuries and depth issues all year, but every guy I called on stepped up and played well,” Wyper said. “I couldn’t have asked for more from this group. They gave a great effort every game, and that doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Cameron Dodson led the Lopes with 89 total points on the season. Ronnie Sallee (45), Brendon Curle (44), Hayden Hill (37) and Chris Berry (25) were also top producers. Dodson, who came to GCU from England, also paced the Lopes with 11 tries and 14 conversions.
Adding depth to an already solid, young roster will be Wyper’s primary focus this summer as GCU looks to continue the success.
“If we have some injuries next year, we want to add some more guys who can step in and give us a spark,” Wyper said. “We aren’t really planning to pinpoint any position in particular, we just want to add more great players and we’ll see how we can best make them fit into our system.”
Interested in joining GCU Men’s Rugby? Contact the coach to learn more!