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College 7s Championships Take Shape

  • 02 May 2019
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Virginia Tech and Fresno State play championship 15s this weekend and then championship 7s on Memorial Day Weekend.

The three women’s fields for the USA Rugby College 7s National Championships are nearly complete, with just a couple of adjustments needed before finalizing. The tournament occurs on Memorial Day Weekend, May 24-26, in Tucson, Ariz.

Note: This article has been updated as the event site is updated.

ELITE

The majority of this field could have been named before the 7s season began. It’s a mix of DI Elite and NIRA teams, and one DI program.

All four DI Elite teams are present – Lindenwood, Life, Penn State and Central Washington – and they’ve had a longer runway to the 7s finale due to the earlier date of it 15s national championship. Obviously, more time playing 7s will only make these teams better, but it also gives the players time to transition mentally. They’ll be good.

The NIRA teams haven’t been able to play as many 7s fixtures as the non-NCAA programs, but Dartmouth and Harvard are fortunate to have each other. They played in two tournaments, featured in both finals, and split titles. Both finals were decided in either the final possession or overtime, so the squads have been readying for that full 14-minute performance on the training pitch.

American International College is also representing NIRA in Tucson. The Yellow Jackets have had more field time than its varsity counterparts, competing in four tournament this spring, and finished second to Brown in its last outing at Bowdoin 7s.

Davenport is the seventh team in this field and played up last year as well. The Panthers have featured in every final of every tournament in which it’s played, and was only a try short of Penn State during the mid-April Wolverine 7s. The Michigan team will continue to tune up at Penn State’s tournament next weekend.

DIVISION I

This field is set, and it has good representation from around the country, with the exception of the South. Six of the eight teams play their 15s in the fall, making a dedicated spring 7s season more feasible.

Virginia Tech is doing it all. The Hokies will feature in this Saturday’s DI spring 15s final against BYU, and then turn it around for a 7s run three weeks later. UC Davis was also in 15s mode for the majority of 2019 and didn’t travel to Oregon State for the Pacific Mountain 7s qualifier. Washington State won that tournament and Cal finished second, but the Aggies are regulars at 7s nationals and their at-large bid was approved.

All of the remaining teams won a qualifier or applied for an at-large berth after building a good 7s resume. Sam Houston State was the only team to progress through a conference 7s series and then advance with an undefeated record.

DIVISION II

This field is also set, as Stony Brook just accepted its invite to the national tournament. The Long Island team finished second to Vassar at the Tri-State conference championship, but pricing out a trip to Tucson on Memorial Day Weekend became cost prohibitive. But then the university offered travel expenses, and now the team’s committed.

Also from the east coast are Bryant, Babson and Bloomsburg, winners of the Rugby Northeast, New England Wide and Mid-Atlantic conferences, respectively. Bryant and Babson were also active in the New England Collegiate 7s Circuit and have played lots of 7s. Grand Valley State represents the Midwest, and California has three teams in Pacific Desert champ Claremont Colleges, West Coast champ Fresno State (which is featuring in the spring 15s semifinals this Friday) and first-timer San Jose State.

For the most up-to-date info, visit http://usacollege7s.com

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