March Player of the Month: Dave Hiltzik

Dave Hiltzik

Senior Dave Hiltzik is the March Player of the Month. Dave picked up rugby as a freshman at Michigan and cemented himself as a mainstay in the UMRFC back row. A fierce tackler and covering the entire field, Dave has exhibited an excellent flanker mentality. Dave was awarded the 2011 Arnold Cowmeadow Award and also won the 2012 UMRFC Winter Sevens with the Bennie Oosterbaan team. Hiltzik is playing through a torn ACL this spring as he looks to cap his four years in victorious fashion.

Height: 6′ 10″
Weight: 180lbs
Year: Senior
Major: Movement Science
Hometown: Seal Beach, CA

Why rugby?
When I was a wide-eyed freshman wandering around Festifall, Naveen said “Hey, you should play rugby.” Never looked back.

What have you liked about Michigan rugby the most so far?
My teammates, including the alumni. The unique culture of rugby fosters a strong kinship among us, and the Olde Boys are still a part of it. Young and old, my teammates are the most spontaneous and unreserved group of people I’ve ever met, and when you put us all in a room together, magic happens. I’ve seen things, man. I’ve seen things.

Most memorable moment on the pitch?
When we beat MSU late in the fall, it was a storybook culmination of a lot of hard training. Memories of our humiliating performance against them last spring – as well as our less embarrassing loss earlier in the fall – were still bitter and fresh. The fact that we rose up and had such a decisive victory over a team who was head and shoulders out of our league just six months earlier was nothing short of inspirational.

What’s your favorite rugby drill in practice? Least favorite?
I enjoy full-contact drills because they develop the elegant violence of gameplay situations, and I get withdrawals if I go too long without them. My least favorite drills are the sprints. I hate the sprints.

What other sports have you played?
I didn’t play any sports in high school because I was too busy being a band nerd. Before high school, I played soccer, baseball, and football like a good American male.

In 5 years, what do you see yourself doing?
Hopefully I’ll have made up my mind about whether or not to do med school (for orthopedic surgery) by then. If not med school, I’ll probably be writing, maybe for a TV show.

What’s some embarrassing childhood memory you can tell us?
I pooed myself at a park one afternoon in elementary school. My parents hadn’t yet trusted me with a cell phone, so I had to just wait around until the previously-agreed-upon pick up time.

Favorite place in Ann Arbor?
Probably Ashley’s.

Biggest fear?
That I’ll go through life without living up to my full potential. The thought of sacrificing greatness because I’m lazy is terrifying to me, and every day I wonder if my habit of procrastination is killing the best parts of me. That, and velociraptors.

Favorite food/meal?
A whole bison, spit-roasted for twelve hours and basted with authentic Trinidadian chickpea curry and the tears of orphans. I’ve never had it but I bet it would be flabbergasting.

Any game day superstitions?
Walk aimlessly around the pitch and try to look serious.

Favorite superhero and why?
Wolverine. Because Wolverine.

Best advice you’ve ever received?
I sat down with an orthopedic surgeon, the father of a girl I’ve known since kindergarten, and picked his brain about medical school. He told me that he spent undergrad and graduate school as an electrical engineer before deciding to be a surgeon. He didn’t regret any of his decisions, and told me that there’s no need to rush things and that I can take my time when deciding what to do with myself. That took a lot of pressure off, because I didn’t look forward to having to be an adult and make actual decisions.


  1. Chuck Berklich

    Great write up new wave! I remember Naveen saying that all day long-I’m glad it worked at least once!

  2. Scott Salamango

    Player of the month indeed. Well played New Wave.

  3. Andrew Swain

    I remember those ridiculous argyle socks you wore to practice. Only one so new wave could be so new age

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>