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NorCal Hosts Rd1 of Single-School 7s

  • 04 Oct 2021

Carondelet’s Julia Jarrett / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

Rugby NorCal held its first week of high school 7s with tournament locations in Walnut Creek and Stockton to accommodate the Bay Area and Sacramento Valley teams. The competition is reserved for single-school teams, and that push has seen several new programs begin relationships with their high schools.

Bishop O’Dowd / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

Twelve programs competed in the previous season – fall 2019 – and nine have returned in 2021. Galt, Menlo-Atherton, Northgate, Overfelt, San Ramon Valley and St. Francis / Christian Brothers are new to the league, upping the overall number of teams competing to 15. The first four Saturdays in October are tournament days, and teams accrue standings points that will determine divisions and post-season seeding. The whole field will assemble in Danville for Nov. 6 playoffs, and then relocate to Sacramento on Nov. 13 for the championship.

San Ramon Valley’s Iliana Manoa / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

There’s a good amount of flexibility early in the season, as programs better understand their numbers, and the first round saw some combination sides as well as a late addition to the two tournaments. Carondelet hosted the Bay Area kickoff event, which featured seven sides total. The Cougars fielded two full teams and set the tone for the day. Seniors Lucy Lamborn and Savannah Short were deadly as always. Julia Jarrett brought great finishing speed. And Olivia Mazolewewski showed off her pace as well, especially on defense.

Milpitas’ Venaiah Mamea setting up for the tackle / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

Bishop O’Dowd also looked good and got leading performances from the well rounded Vanessa Ortiz-Pallen and Laila Hannum. The former is so good in contact and aggressive over the ball, and the latter has a good boot and game understanding. On Milpitas, Venaiah Mamea was arguably the hardest worker on defense – driving through ballcarriers’ midsections and often doing so on back-to-back phases.

Overfelt speed / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

Of the new teams, Overfelt impressed in its numbers and was able to field two sides. Saturday no doubt provided a lot of context and growth, so the Cougars will be fun to watch as the season progresses. San Ramon Valley and Northgate combined numbers, and although they’re new programs, they featured a couple of players who have played with NorCal clubs. Iliana Manoa and Yona Allouche stood out. The halfbacks worked together well and were key in bringing shape to the game.

Northgate HS / Photo: Jackie Finlan (TRB)

The Stockton tournament was a bit more intimate with five sides competing. St. Mary’s entered two teams and went 2-3 overall. Laguna Creek ended the night with three wins. Full results:

Laguna Creek 31-15 St Mary’s A

Laguna Creek 43-0 St Mary’s B

Laguna Creek def Gridley

River City/Saints 27-5 Gridley

River City/Saints 15-5 St Mary’s B

St Mary’s A 19-5 River City/Saints

St. Mary’s A 26-10 Gridley

This Saturday, teams have the choice of playing at Northgate High School in Walnut Creek or Foskett Park in Lincoln.

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