The Collegiate Rugby Championship (CRC) 7s is all set to kick off this week at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. The four women’s divisions begin competition on Friday, April 28 and will name their champions inside the stadium on Saturday, April 29. All schedules can be found here, and if you’re unable to attend in person, then watch NCR’s YouTube and/or The Rugby Network.
The Premier Division is the largest of the women’s competitions with 16 teams and takes a different format from the rest of the CRC. It’s a single-elimination bracket, which means a loss takes a team out of contention for the Cup title. The rest of the CRC divisions follow a more traditional 7s tournament format with pool play followed by knockout rounds.
The whole field was ranked and then distributed into “East” and “West” sides of the bracket, although geography has nothing to do with teams’ placement. In the opening Round of 16, a traditional 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, etc., setup occurs in both the East and West halves, with victors advancing to the quarterfinals, and losers filtering into consolation brackets.
The two National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) teams, or NCAA varsity programs, have the top seeds on either side of the bracket: Brown University in the West, and U.S. Military Academy in the East. Army, Navy (West 2), which will join NIRA this fall, Penn State (East 2) and Virginia Tech (East 3) all have long histories at the CRCs back when they were in Chester, Pa.
Outside of that quintet, the rest of the field are full-time NCR members. The middle of the country is well represented by the DI Big 10 and Midwest conferences. Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Michigan State hail from the former, and Iowa State and Northern Iowa the latter. Aquinas College is a DI independent team from Michigan.
Farther west, Southern Nazarene Univ. might have been the first team to qualify for Premier in winning the Crimson Storm qualifier. The young Oklahoma team returns to the CRCs from 2022, as does Lone Star champ Texas A&M. Making the farthest trip to the D.C. area is Montana State Univ. out of the Rocky Mountain conference. While the Mid-Atlantic conference’s Kutztown Univ., which also has a long history at CRCs, is making the shortest trip next to Navy.
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The Round of 16 begins Friday, April 28 at 9 a.m. See the full schedule and use the Division filter for more precise info.
Idaho, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin are all represented in the eight-team Division I competition. It’s a diverse field, one that includes three returners from 2022 and five CRC debutants.
Pool A includes two conference championship runners-up: Lone Star’s Baylor Univ. and Upstate New York’s Colgate Univ. Univ. Massachusetts Amherst (UMASS) is an invitational side out of DI Rugby Northeast, and ’22 vet Univ. Wisconsin is from the DI Midwest.
Pool B has a pair of conference champions in Cornell Univ. (Upstate New York) and Univ. Pittsburgh (Allegheny). Boise State is back and booked its spot through the Fool’s Gold 7s qualifier. And Clemson Univ. carries the South Atlantic torch in Maryland.
Team will contest pool play on Friday and are scheduled for Field 10. Quarterfinals will also occur Friday, and Saturday’s semifinals and final will be in the stadium. See schedule and use Division filter for precise details.
Like Small College, Division II is a 12-team competition, and participants are divided into three-team pools for Friday pool play. Games occur on Field 13. The quarterfinals will also be held Friday before the semifinals and final play out in the stadium. Keep in mind that consolation rounds will also be occurring so check the schedule for precise details.
UW Eau Claire
In Pool A, the reigning NCR Division II 15s National Champion, UW Eau Claire, awaits. UWEC scored 174 points across five games to win the 2023 Great Waters 7s championship. Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) featured in last year’s CRCs as well and returns as the repeat Ohio Valley champion. The outlier is Mid-Atlantic champion Temple Univ., which has a long CRC history like conference mate Kutztown Univ.
Grand Valley State Univ.
Coastal Carolina Univ
Indiana Univ of Pennsylvania
Grand Valley State Univ. was the first DII team to qualify for the CRCs, winning the Great Lakes conference in late March, and is another returner from 2022. The Lakers join South Atlantic’s Coastal Carolina University, which consistently beat DI teams this spring, and Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania (IUP), which is thriving with a new head coach.
UT San Antonio
Roger Williams is a small college that plays up in Division II, and the Rhode Island team is also the reigning CRC Division I Club champion. The Hawks will face Lone Star conference’s Univ. Texas San Antonio, who rally around All-American Tiffany Hunter, and EPRU’s Shippensburg Univ. which was a late replacement for Sacramento State.
Colorado School of Mines
Wayne State College
2022-23 is Wayne State College’s first season in Division II, a promotion that came after a legacy of Small College Division dominance. The Wildcats finished runner-up to UW Eau Claire in the Great Waters qualifier, and are joined in Pool D by two invitational teams. The Rocky Mountain’s Colorado School of Mines, which finished runner-up in CRAA’s DII fall 15s championship, and Salisbury Univ., a member of Eastern Pennsylvania.