All-American

BYU's Calvin Whiting makes the transition from HSAA to BYU rugby

BYU rugby's sophomore center, Calvin Whiting, greets everyone he meets with a smile, but has the ability to turn on his aggression when it's game time.

"I've always been able to turn my mind on [to game mode] when I need to," Whiting said of his ability to channel his mental focus into whatever he pursues. "I tell myself that this is business."

Whiting, 20, spent the first fifteen years of his life in South Africa in what he describes as a competitive home. He learned early on how to commit and work towards a goal thanks to his competitive relationship with his older brother and older sister. Whiting's mother and father divorced near the beginning of his time in high school leading his mother to move to Utah in pursuit of a fresh start. Not wanting his mother to go through the transition on her own, Whiting chose to follow her to Utah where his rugby career started to mature.

Despite donning a helmet and pads for one season on Lone Peak High School's football team, Whiting's love for rugby turned to a focused passion which resulted in him putting in the work as a rugger. Whiting's hard work earned him a spot on the United States high school All-American team helping him take his abilities to the next level.

"The expectations for being a high school All-American is high class," Whiting said of his experience representing the U.S. as a high schooler. "You're always fighting for your position. You are always expected to work hard and have great fundamentals. It's important to put in the work even when you're not with the team."

Playing with his fellow high school All-Americans helped him develop his skills and increased his knowledge of the game Whiting added. The competitive environment prepared him to be a contributing member of the five-time national championship BYU rugby team.

Loving what you do and doing what you love: Getting to know Seki Kofe

BYU senior center Seki Kofe runs the ball against UVU on March 25, 2015. BYU won 109-0 at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride
BYU senior center Seki Kofe runs the ball against UVU on March 25, 2015. BYU won 109-0 at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride

At 6’ 1’’ and 235 lbs., senior center Seki Kofe fits the part of a tough rugby player, but when he greets you with his wide grin it is easy to tell there is more to him than meets the eye.

“I still get nervous for the games,” Kofe laughs in his easygoing way. “It’s intense without pads.”

Kofe has been a key fixture of BYU’s rugby team since his freshman year. The celebrated athlete has won numerous awards and has been instrumental in the team’s back-to-back national championship victories. However, although Kofe has had great success at BYU, it was not always his plan to attend the university.

“My family has always played rugby,” Kofe said. “Originally I was going to play at Arizona State University because I knew the coach, but after my mission to Spain I decided I wanted to go to BYU.”

Although Kofe’s time at BYU has helped him excel academically, spiritually and physically, it has required dedication. His day typically begins before the sun rises and includes physical training, class (he is close to completing his degree in construction management), work and rugby practice. He is home long after the sun has set and works on homework until midnight. Kofe also balances being a husband and his calling as young men’s president in his ward.

Loving what you do and doing what you love: Getting to know Seki Kofe

BYU senior center Seki Kofe runs the ball against UVU on March 25, 2015. BYU won 109-0 at BYU's South Field. Photo by Andrea Wride

At 6’ 1’’ and 235 lbs., senior center Seki Kofe fits the part of a tough rugby player, but when he greets you with his wide grin it is easy to tell there is more to him than meets the eye.

“I still get nervous for the games,” Kofe laughs in his easygoing way. “It’s intense without pads.”

Kofe has been a key fixture of BYU’s rugby team since his freshman year. The celebrated athlete has won numerous awards and has been instrumental in the team’s back-to-back national championship victories. However, although Kofe has had great success at BYU, it was not always his plan to attend the university.

“My family has always played rugby,” Kofe said. “Originally I was going to play at Arizona State University because I knew the coach, but after my mission to Spain I decided I wanted to go to BYU.”

Although Kofe’s time at BYU has helped him excel academically, spiritually and physically, it has required dedication. His day typically begins before the sun rises and includes physical training, class (he is close to completing his degree in construction management), work and rugby practice. He is home long after the sun has set and works on homework until midnight. Kofe also balances being a husband and his calling as young men’s president in his ward.

“You decide whether you’re committed or not,” Kofe said. “You may not always want to do something, but if you love what you do you get it done.”