LAFAYETTE, Colo. – More than two-thirds of the 2016 USA Rugby College 7s National Championships field of 60 teams have qualified for the May 27-29 event at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.
The schools that have already put their name in the running for 2016 Cup contenders include last year’s National Championship Finalists from Men’s Division I – Davenport and Lindenwood – and Women’s DI – Central Washington and Penn State.
The other three Men’s DI squads to take home hardware, including 2015 Plate Winner Saint Mary’s, received invites to this year’s rendition of the College 7s National Championships. Elsewhere in Men’s DI, teams from D1A Rugby have shown well during the past several months in sevens, with nine teams from the elite competition already qualifying themselves for the field of 24.
The Women’s DI field will be a bracket of 12 of the best teams in the country. The Men’s DII field, originally planned for 12 teams, has increased to 16 after an overwhelming amount of interest amongst the ranks. Teams that have punched their ticket to compete for a Men’s DII National Championship include 2015 winner Wisconsin-Whitewater, and reigning three-time National Champions in 15s Minnesota-Duluth.
“This year’s USA Rugby College 7s will have all the qualities that make for an extraordinary National Championship—geographic representation, marquee teams, unheralded dark horses who battled through qualifiers in search of their place in the sun, newcomers and perennial favorites. Further, fans, friends, and families will be able to watch every match from anywhere in the world. Winning the National Championship will be on everyone’s minds and in everyone’s sights.”
Although there will be 12 Women’s DI sides at WakeMed Soccer Park as compared to last year’s 16, the brackets reflect the relative demand for participation and the total number of women’s teams at the championships will increase by 4 teams. Moreover, the 2016 National Championships could feature the most hotly contested college sevens tournament ever with four teams from Women’s DI Elite competing, and so, too, will DI College 15s National Championship Finalists and 2015 returnees UC Davis and Virginia
The first-ever Women’s DII field is shaping up nicely. Ithaca, Springfield College, and Davenport have all won automatic qualifying events, while Texas State’s impressive sevens resume has earned the Bobcats a spot in the eight-team field.
The expansion to 60 teams comes with a third day of competition at the USA Rugby College 7s National Championships, where all 174 matches will be available to watch on The Rugby Channel.
For a full list of qualified teams, visit USACollege7s.com.