GREENSBORO, N.C. – Seven-a-side rugby is known for its parity and ‘anything-can-happen’ flair. The unpredictable aspect of the game makes running the table at a highly competitive tournament very improbable. However, Arkansas State did just that on its way to a second consecutive USA Rugby College 7s National Championship.
After gliding through pool play at the event’s first day, the Red Wolves were never put in serious danger of losing a match in day two’s competition for the Cup.
The Cup Quarterfinals opened with Arkansas State against Air Force. Tom Haussrer recorded a hat trick in Arkansas State’s 24-12 win over the Zoomies.
Next up for the South Independent Conference 7s Champion was Dartmouth, who dropped Davenport 21-12 in its Quarterfinal match. Arkansas State was able to contain the always-dangerous Madison Hughes, while Zin-Zan Elan accounted for 14 points in the 34-4 victory that pushed the Red Wolves into the Cup Finals.
Standing in the way of Arkansas State’s second College 7s National Championship in as many years was Saint Mary’s College. Saint Mary’s was also undefeated heading into the Cup Finals, including an impressive 34-12 performance versus Central Washington. The Gaels figured to have the horses to truly test Arkansas State.
Under the lights at of the Bryan Park Soccer Complex, it was Arkansas State that jumped out to a 12-0 lead and eventually went into the half leading 17-5. Saint Mary’s offense was never able to get itself in an offensive rhythm under Arkansas State’s constant defensive pressure, and the Red Wolves stamped their 2013 National Championship with a 32-12 win over the Gaels.
Arkansas State’s Dylan Carrion, who scored two tries in the Cup Final, ignited the team’s offense all weekend long. His savvy play on both sides of the ball earned him the inaugural Dave Sitton Memorial Trophy, given to the Men’s Division I Most Valuable Player.
Dartmouth rebounded from their defeat against the Red Wolves to take down Central Washington, earning the Big Green a third-place finish on the strength of John Abraham’s three brilliant tries.
In the Plate Final, Life blanked Davenport 22-0. Paris Hollis, who ran bruising lines all weekend, dotted down for the Running Eagles in the match. Joseph Cowley, who returned from Europe where he was practicing with the Eagles during their November Tour, seemed to be slightly hampered by a lower body injury. The injury, however, did not stop Cowley from knocking several difficult conversions through the uprights.
In a rematch of a down-to-the-wire pool play game, Lindenwood took on Air Force in a Plate consolation match. Lindenwood finished the weekend with a win, outplaying an Air Force team who seemed to be losing gas as day two wore on, 32-7.
Arizona State and San Diego State’s strong second day performances pitted one another in the Bowl Final. The two at-large participants produced a highly entertaining match that ended in a one-point Arizona State triumph after a last-minute try by Ryan Koewler.
In the Shield Final, South Carolina and Colorado State were knotted at 12 late in the second half. Luke Bolembach of South Carolina eventually put down a try for the Gamecocks to give his team win.
Watch the replays of the 2013 USA Rugby College 7s National Championships on the USA Rugby TV YouTube Channel. The Men’s Division I All-Tournament Team will be selected in the coming days.