The first three years of the USA Rugby 7s national championship were held in December after the fall 15s season. Norwich University dominated those early years, with memorable players like Joya Clark, Rose Bernheim, Vanessa Champagne, Katie Hathaway, Emily Orr, Ally Day – and more – really setting the tone for collegiate 7s.
For the 2014-15 school year, the championship shifted to the spring, so while it looks like there was no champion in 2014, that tournament was just contested in spring 2015. Penn State won the 4th title, and as the lead photo shows, that team was absolutely packed with future Eagles.
Starting in 2016, different divisions were introduced as 7s grew in popularity. It was unwieldy, with terms like DI, DII, Open and Elite separating teams into like-strength competitions. By 2019, there were three divisions for the women, and then the subsequent two tournaments were canceled due to Covid-19.
USA Rugby 7s Championships
2021 – CANCELED BY COVID
2020 – CANCELED BY COVID
Elite – 1st: Lindenwood / 2nd: Dartmouth
DI – Air Force / Virginia Tech
DII – Bryant Univ. / Fresno State
Elite – Lindenwood / Penn State
Open – Air Force / Chico State
2017 Lindenwood / Life
DI – Life / Lindenwood
DII – Davenport / Bloomsburg
2015 Penn State / Central Washington
2014 championship moved from fall to spring
2013 Norwich James Madison
2012 Norwich / Navy
2011 Norwich / Boston College
PHOTO: Penn State followed its DI 15s championship with a 7s title three weeks later. /// Photo courtesy Penn State Rugby
USA Rugby wasn’t the only member organization hosting national 7s championships. National Collegiate Rugby (previously named National Small College Rugby Organization, NSCRO) served small (enrollment) colleges, which didn’t have specific championships with USAR. Under the direction of Bryn Chivers, NSCRO began hosting women’s Small College 7s National Championships in spring 2014. Wayne State College has won five of six titles, and like USAR, 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to Covid.
Year – 1st / 2nd
2021 CLD BY COVID-19
2020 CLD BY COVID-19
2019 – Wayne State / Univ. Rochester
2018 – Wayne State / Lee Univ.
2017 – Colgate Univ. / Wayne State College
2016 – Wayne State College / Mount St. Mary’s Univ.
2015 – Wayne State College / Mount St. Mary’s Univ.
2014 – Wayne State College / South Dakota State
In 2021, NCR evolved to include large and small schools. The latter has opted to keep its national 7s championship in the spring. There is no 7s championship for the large schools, per se, but there is the CRC 7s, which NCR runs.