Team USA rugby star says SDSU ‘did everything’ to help him reach next level

Former San Diego State product Stephen Tomasin was willing to do whatever it took to continue his pursuit of a professional sports career, including push rugby ahead of other nationally recognized sports like football and baseball to the top of his list.

Tomasin didn’t have to wait long before his dream turned to reality.

Determined to leave his mark, Tomasin did enough on the rugby pitch in just one season with the Aztecs to warrant an invite to tryout for the United States’ national rugby team in 2013 and has since lifted his rugby career to new heights.

Tomasin’s quick success, however, came with its own Cinderella story.

Despite having a strong freshman season with SDSU, Tomasin was not invited to the All-American college team to participate in what some would call the All-Star game of collegiate rugby. However, to his surprise, Tomasin was later invited to replace an injured player expected to participate in the big game, ultimately leading to his tryout with USA Rugby.

Adding a twist worthy of Lemony Snicket’s praise, Tomasin touched on how fortunate of a turn his rugby career took in 2013 in an interview with Fox Sports San Diego on Friday.

“A series of fortunate events got me there, and all of the hard work kept me there,” Tomasin said.

Tomasin’s said hard work helped him to a spot onto USA’s Men’s Eagles Sevens team, which is now ranked 5th in the world just over halfway through the 2017 season. If the Eagles finished ranked 5th, it would be their highest season finish in history.

Of course, Tomasin isn’t willing to settle for 5th.

“Right now, we are sitting 5th in the world, so our goal is to break the top four by the end of this season,” Tomasin said. “If we could walk away at the end of the season top-four in the world, that would be a huge platform for us to build on going into next season.”

Though his determined, confident demeanor is likely homegrown, Tomasin still points to the Mesa as a premier stepping stone he simply couldn’t have gone without.

“[SDSU] kind of did everything,” Tomasin said. “They were the ones that gave me the exposure… There’s no chance I would have the opportunity [to join the USA team] without San Diego.”

Tomasin spoke highly of his former SDSU coaches Matt Hawkins and Reuben Stilkin for their efforts in helping him refine his craft and ultimately taking his game to the next level.

Additionally, Tomasin emphasized that his surrounding cast off the pitch also played a pivotal role in his success.

“The whole environment at San Diego State, all the friends I made there, all the support I got just encouraged me to keep playing,” Tomasin said.

Given the level of success he has already reached, Tomasin shouldn’t need any more pats on the back from his loyal San Diego following to continue to score tries for USA’s Eagles, but he remains appreciative of the support from both the city and the school that first helped him take flight.