The first 15s state champion has been named: Kent pictured with finalist Rainier. /// Photo courtesy Kent Crusaders Rugby
As the season progressed and teams started pushing for state and regional titles, the need to expand the rankings became necessary. Some teams flew under the radar, others played important rivalries, and a couple of cross-state tournaments saw some rearranging and additions.
No movement in the top five. Kent won another Washington state championship over Rainier 56-0. The Crusaders are hosting the high school club nationals and will see eight ranked teams in Ellensburg, Wash., including Fallbrook and South Bay. The SoCal teams will contest U18, U16 and U14 (the latter two competitions are 7s) state championships against each other on Saturday. (Read about the SoCal teams’ game drought this year.)
Utah’s post-season degraded and now involves only three teams. United, which defeated Herriman 34-0, gets the bye to Saturday’s state championship. The Mustangs and Kau Toa have a play-in match tomorrow night, and the victor plays United in the final.
The biggest tournament to occur since the last rankings was the Midwest High School Championship. The region was eager to see whether Wisconsin state champion Catholic Memorial could also snap Divine Savior Holy Angels’ 13-year title run at Midwests, and the Crusaders came close. But the Dashers held onto their trophy with a 10-7 win.
There were a ton of great games in Elkhart, Ind., including another strong performance from St. Joseph, which fell a converted try short of DSHA, again, and finished third. Indiana’s Warsaw finished fourth, but then last week, Penn defeated its state rival 24-17. That was enough for an addition at #25.
On the East Coast, the Maryland Exiles drew the region’s top teams to its international festival. West End and Morris met again, and tied. These teams always play to single-digit decisions, so each meeting is heavily weighted. So why did the Ruckettes leap-frog over Morris? Both teams played West Carroll in Maryland: Morris tied the Marauders 12-12, and West End won 12-7 win. West End has also been able to play a little more consistently in-state – which isn’t Morris’ fault – but more field time is always better.
West Carroll wasn’t just a tie-breaker. The Maryland side debuted on the rankings after a solid performance at the Frostbite tournament, but then dropped out of the Northeast Invitational and drew numbers concerns. But West Carroll, close to home, gave West End and Morris excellent games, and right now, they deserve to be in striking distance of the pair. West Carroll will play North Bay for the Maryland state championship this Saturday.
The big Grant vs. Lady Barbarians game went down in Oregon. The Generals had defeated the Beaverton side 44-29 in an early-season match that was ruled a 35-0 forfeit and entered the rematch undefeated (Barbos were 5-1, not 5-0 as erroneously reported). The Lady Barbarians proved the stronger squad at this point in the season and overtook Grant in the rankings. In all likelihood, the rubber match will occur in the club state final on May 21.
More attentive reportage earlier in the season would have seen the Valley Panthers on the rankings sooner than May. The Oregon single-school team (Grant and Lady Barbarians are in the club league) had a very strong tournament pre-season, and haven’t scored fewer than 55 points against its league opponents. The Panthers make a conservative debut at #22, but if all goes well, the team will advance to the state Cup Championship (varsity vs. club) and confirm whether the team that finished third last year has progressed past the state finalists.
Does Oregon deserve three spots on the top 25, finishing second only to California? It’s tough to judge the teams that don’t play meaningful games at regional and national championships. We have, however, seen what happens when regions like Northern California field at least three teams that can push each other, and one suspects that that’s what’s happening in Oregon.
That’s also what’s happening in Minnesota. Reigning state champion Armstrong has dropped close games to North Suburban and Hopkins, and the latter is the only unscathed team so far. Armstrong dropped out of the Midwest championships, hence the Penn selection.
We suspect that New York leaders Play Rugby and Orchard Park are closer than the rankings allow, but the Western New York side is just warming up. The team spent last weekend defeating Kenmore 62-7 and has also-undefeated City Honors this Sunday.
Finally, Pennsylvania leader State College posted its fourth shutout win of the season against Doylestown (43-0) and moves into the state semifinals against the Valkyries, the reigning state champ and the only team to score points on the championship favorite. Doylestown and Downingtown duke it out in the other semifinal, and the winners will play on Sunday for the title.
HIGH SCHOOL TOP 25 – MAY 10, 2016
Rank (Old Rank) Team (State) (League Record). Results
1 (1) Fallbrook (CA) (4-0). Idle
2 (2) Sacramento (CA) (6-0). Idle
3 (3) Kent (WA) (6-0). Won state championship 56-0 v Rainier
4 (4) United (UT) (7-0). Defeated Herriman 34-0
5 (5) Danville (CA) (4-1). Idle
6 (9) Divine Savior Holy Angels (WI) (9-1). Won Midwest 10-7 v Catholic Memorial, St. Joe’s 17-10, Penn 44-5
7 (8) South Bay (CA) (2-2). Idle
8 (7) Catholic Memorial (WI) (9-1). 2nd in Midwest: 10-7 L v DSHA, 39-0 W v Warsaw, 27-10 W v Plainfield
9 (6) Pleasanton (CA) (3-3). Idle
10 (13) St. Joseph (OH) (6-1). 3rd at Midwest: 31-0 W v Brookfield, 17-10 L v DSHA, 36-7 W v Warsaw
11 (11) Summit (CO) (7-0). Idle
12 (12) Kahuku (HI) (9-0).Idle
13 (15) West End (VA) (5-0). MD Exiles: Morris 17-17,12-7 W v West Carroll; 110-0 W v West Loudoun
14 (14) Morris (NJ) (2-1). MD Exiles: Tied West End 17-17, West Carroll 19-19
15 (17) Lady Barbarians (OR) (5-1). Defeated Lady Barbarians 38-19
16 (18) Play Rugby Academy (NY) (5-0). Defeated Union 83-7
17 (unr) West Carroll (MD) (2-0). MD Exiles: Tied Morris 17-17, lost 12-7 to West End
18 (16) Grant (OR) (5-1). Lost 38-19 to Lady Barbarians
19 (10) Herriman (UT) (4-1). Lost 34-0 to United
20 (20) Hopkins (MN) (4-0). Defeated North Suburban 22-19
21 (unr) State College (PA) (5-0). Defeated Doylestown 43-0
22 (unr) Valley Panthers (OR) (6-0). Leading Oregon varsity league
23 (unr) North Suburban (MN) (3-1). Defeated Armstrong 19-15, lost 22-19 to Hopkins
24 (unr) Orchard Park (NY) (3-0). Defeated Kenmore 62-7
25 (unr) Penn (IN) (5-0). Defeated Warsaw 24-17