Photo: JD Black
DENVER – Twenty-four Men’s Division I teams weathered the storm in more ways than one Saturday at the 2015 USA Rugby College 7s National Championships at University of Denver.
Saint Mary’s three wins and positive-116 point differential propelled the team to a Pool A triumph and the Cup Quarterfinals, in which the Gaels take the top seed. Central Washington, Davenport, Lindenwood, and American International also went through pool play undefeated, while San Diego State and Utah round out the Cup Quarterfinalists as the seventh and eighth seeds, respectively.
Colorado State felt the absence of AIG Men’s Junior All-American Ben Pinkelman in its first match in Pool B Saturday, a 43-12 loss to the Gaels. A second loss of 30-plus points – to West Virginia – ended any hope the Rams had of reaching the Cup round. The Rams’ match against Texas State was less than two minutes from time, with Colorado State holding a 19-12 lead, when a delay forced the two teams to abandon the game.
Central Washington matched its women’s side with a performance fitting of the second seed. North Texas scored a try in the first minute of its match against the Wildcats, but Tony Pacheco’s team sealed the hole and kept Nevada and San Diego State scoreless.
San Diego State’s two wins prior to the match against Central Washington, shutouts, were also just enough to put the Aztecs into the Cup Quarterfinals as the seventh seed. Utah, even with a defeat to Pool F-winner Davenport in the last match of the night, advances from pool play as the eighth seed.
Central Florida collapsed in the Men’s Division 1AA Final earlier this month at the 2015 USA Rugby College 15s National Championships to give up a potential third-consecutive title, and suffered a similar defeat to Arkansas in Pool E Saturday to keep the Knights from the Cup competition.
American International proved its sevens credentials by scoring four or more tries in each of its three wins in Pool C. Bowling Green went into its final match against Mississippi State needing a win to finish second in the pool, but the Bulldogs played spoilers to claim the 29-12 victory.
Iowa finished one unconverted try short of a Cup Quarterfinal berth in Pool D, surprising some in the process with defeats of D1A Rugby’s Cal Poly and Texas A&M. Arizona State won the pool with three victories, but it was the play of the Hawkeyes that kept things interesting.
The Men’s Division I Cup Quarterfinals will begin with Central Washington and San Diego State on Ciber Field at 9:20 a.m. MT Sunday. Matches on Ciber Field and Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium will be streamed live on USA Rugby TV, while ESPN3 will provide broadcast coverage of all three College 7s Cup Finals from 4-6 p.m. MT.