Belmont Shore repeated as Men's Club 7s National Champions Sunday, beating the Chicago Lions 26-12 in the final at Ray Sheeran Field in San Francisco, Calif. They did so after having lost to Chicago in the first game of the tournament and with nine guys on the roster who weren't on the team last season. Belmont Shore also won the DI 15s Club Championships in June.
"It feels great," said long-time Belmont veteran Peter Dahl. "We had a young team, and we had our ups and downs through the qualifying process and came out this weekend, stumbled out of the gates against Chicago and just kind of built from there.
"The young guys really stepped up this weekend. My compliments out to the whole team. They played fantastic, and to win two championships in one season, there's no words to describe it."
Belmont led the entire contest, and 26-0 at one point, but they didn't break away from Chicago until the second half. The Lions nearly scored twice in the first half, and Belmont's Eric Duechle, who scored numerous tris on the weekend by barreling over and speeding past would-be tacklers, was brought down inches short of pay dirt.
The only try of the first half was dotted down by Mikey Te'o, who took an offload from the diminutive but hard to bring down Ed McKenna. Kameron Meoller converted, putting Belmont up 7-0 at the half.
The defending National Champs struck immediately in the second half, as just one phase after the restart Peter Dahl broke Chicago's line and offloaded to a stampeding Jack Tracy who had subbed on for Duechle. Tracy made it all the way to extend Belmont's lead to 14-0.
After punishing teams all weekend off penalty plays, Mikey Te'o drew a lot of attention when he toe through a ball following a Lion infringement. He ran into contact, the ball was recycled quickly and spun to Tracy who dotted down his second try of the final. Now up 19-0, Belmont was in the midst of running away with the game, and McKenna iced the victory with a fourth Belmont try.
Chicago got two late tries, but well after the game was in hand.
Mike Te'o was awarded MVP by Eagles 7s coach Alex Magleby. This 7s championship caps off an incredible few months for the 19-year-old, having won the 15s National Championship with Belmont in June and the Junior World Trophy with the Junior All Americans later that month.
"They say hard work pays off. It's every single day training. Got a National Championship, lucky enough to get an MVP, and it was fun," said Te'o.
"Three championships in three months, you can't ask for a better three months. It's been fun, but you can't stop. On to the next."
More hardware was doled out on Treasure Island, with the Denver Barbarians beating Old Blue 19-12 in a hotly contested third/fourth-place match, Old Puget Sound Bech claiming the Plate with a 12-5 win over Youngbloodz, Daytona winning the Bowl and NYAC claiming the Shield.
Place Finishings from Nationals
1st: Belmont Shore
2nd: Chicago Lions
3rd: Denver Barbarians
4th: Old Blue
5th: Old Puget Sound Beach
7th: San Diego Old Aztecs
8th: Schuylkill River
10th: Old Mission Beach Athletic Club
11th: Maryland Exiles
13th: New York Athletic Club
14th: Olympic Club
15th: Tama Laie Lions
16th: Kansas City Blues