The Claremont Colleges - 2017 NSCRO Champions Cup Champions
2017 National Championship Recap
2nd Time’s a Charm – The Claremont Colleges Win the 2017 NSCRO Men’s National Champions Cup
The Claremont Colleges who finished second last year left no doubt who the 2017 National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) National Champion is with a resounding 65-0 win over Tufts University at Infinity Park in Rugbytown USA, Glendale, CO on 30 April 2017. The “final four” teams - The Claremont Colleges, Tufts University, Xavier University and Louisiana State University Alexandria – had qualified in their NSCRO Region to reach the pinnacle of small college rugby success.
During Friday afternoon’s team check-in, it was quite evident that the current fine weather was going to take a strange turn. The City of Glendale had not seen snow since January and while a snow storm was en route in late April, it did not seem to adversely impact the teams attitude. Most have lived their lives in cold and snow while others have not. A few players from LSUA had never seen snow let along sub-freezing temperatures. The conditions were going to be the same for all on the field and their focus would be solely on rugby and not the weather! Hundreds of brave fans though filled the stands and did their best to withstand – what is referred to as – “Springtime in the Rockies”!
The semis got started with LSUA, in only their 2nd year playing rugby, showing that weight does matter in the snowy and slippery field conditions. Their domination in scrummaging kept Tufts on their back foot most of the match. However, Tufts never folded and led by no. 8 Jake Garrell’s two tries won the match 17-15.
In the next semi, two well-balanced teams in Xavier and Claremont faced off. Claremont held an 8-7 halftime lead. Nick Urban’s try 10 minutes after the break and Brendan MacDonald’s conversion put the Lions up 15-7. Late tries by both teams found the final score 22-12 in Claremont’s favor.
On Sunday, it was like Saturday never happened weather-wise. A lovely 60 degree spring day greeted everyone. The field was in top notch shape prior to the weekend and held up amazingly well. The only evidence of Saturday’s weather were the snowpiles surrounding the fields. On both days they actually made for a soft landing for players tackled into touch.
It was a great match between Xavier University and Louisiana State University Alexandria for 3rd place. About 14 minutes into the match, Xavier hooker Nick Ricciardi busted over for the first score. Just a few minutes later LSUA’s Kelechi Aunumdu did likewise and tied the match at 5-5. Just before halftime, Xavier’s replacement wing Cormac Cashner scored giving his side a 10-5 halftime lead. Getting off to a quick start in the second half with strong running by center Lukem Beaumont, LSUA wing AJ Corona scored and with Eoin Keenan’s conversion, LSUA had their first lead at 12-10. But Xavier was quick to respond with a try by no. 8 Cameron Breen to give his team the lead back at 15-12. For the next 15 minutes, missed scoring opportunities plagued LSUA when Xavier’s Danny Gresser and Brett Moore found their way across the tryline and with about 10 minutes to go, Xavier had a strong 27-12 edge. Late tries by both sides found the final score in Xavier’s favor at 32-19.
In the final, Tufts came out strong and missed an early penalty attempt at goal. 11 minutes into the half Claremont’s center Shane Pico scored the first try of the match and then repeated a few minutes later to give his side a 10-0 led halfway through the first half. A penalty to Tufts near the posts gave them a chance to get on the scoreboard. However, they opted for a kick to touch and a lineout. This proved unsuccessful. Claremont added 3 more first half tries and pulled ahead 29-0 at the half. Strong running by flyhalf Brendan MacDonald and no. 8 Nick Urban opened up the defense and with 7 second half tries, Claremont came away with the title of the Small College National Champion.
The 2017 NSCRO National Championship would not have been a success without the support of many people and companies, including but not limited to: The City of Glendale for hosting the event at Infinity Park, Michael Hoff, Manager of Stadium Operations and his staff; NSCRO VP Steve Hiatt and Director Mark Reilly; the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., NSCRO's top sponsor; Rhino Rugby, the official equipment and ball supplier of NSCRO; USA Rugby-appointed referees, Lee Bryant and Lex Weiner; the Rocky Mountain RRS for providing assistant referees and technical zone managers; the broadcast production team led by Patrick Guthrie and Matt Brown; and, match commentators, Brian Vizard and Dallen Stanford.
We thank USA Rugby for their recognition and support of NSCRO as an independent organization and working together with us for bettering the collegiate rugby experience for all. We would like to also USAR CEO, Dan Payne, for attending the Sunday matches and taking part in our Awards Ceremony as well as Rich Cortez for evaluating player performance for consideration to the USAR Men's Collegiate All-America program.
In addition to team trophies (1st - 4th place) and player medals (gold, silver and bronze), NSCRO President, Steve Cohen, presented the following awards:
Team Gift Certificates
Rhino Rugby generously provided gift certificates as follows:
1st Place = $500
2nd Place = $250
3rd Place = $150
4th Place = $100
Click here to see full report on the Player Awards.
2017-18 Champions Cup Playoff Bracket
rev. 26 September 2017
2016-17 Men's Champions Cup
TEAM PHOTOS BELOW.
The National Championship was held at Infinity Park in *Rugbytown USA* Glendale, Colorado on April 29-30. See below for RECAP.
For the latest Conference/Union and NSCRO playoff results, click here.
The NSCRO men's playoffs are in the high gear. Summaries by Region are below.
Region 1 - Northeast
In the Northeast Qualifier on Nov. 12, Tufts University (NERFU Runnerup) handed Ithaca College a 60 to 22 defeat. At the Region Championship hosted by Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, CT, Tufts edged SUNY Plattsburgh 38-32 in one semi, while the University of Maine-Orono overran SUNY New Paltz 89-7 in the other. In the 3rd place match, Plattsburg held off a second half comeback by New Paltz to win 46-31. In the final, Maine took a 7-0 halftime lead, but Tufts turned it on in the second to win 22-7 and earn its first appearance in the National Championship at Infinity Park on April 29-30, 2017.
Region 2 - Mid-Atlantic South
In the Mid-South Qualifier on Nov. 12, Elon University surprised Duke University edging them 18 to 17 and earning the first place in the Spring Region Championship.
The East Penn RU final was held on Nov. 19 with last year's Champion Bucknell University facing their nemesis Susquehanna (2014 EPRU Champ) with Bucknell holding off a furious late comeback by Susquehanna to win 55-41. Both teams will earned a spot in a Dec. 3 Qualifier.
The Capital RU NSCRO league was won by Loyola University (Maryland). They hosted Susquehanna on Dec. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic South qualifier and came away with a 59 to 34 win. Catholic University edged American University 26-21 on Nov. 19 and played at Bucknell on Dec. 3 in the Mid-Atlantic North qualifier. Catholic held off a late Bucknell challenge to win 43-38.
The South Cup was held on March 18-19 and hosted by the Atlanta Rugby Foundation and Atlanta Old White RFC in Atlanta, Georgia. Deep South Conference Champ - LSU Alexandria defeated Georgia RU Champ - Valdosta State University 37-15 in one semifinal, while Florida RU Champ - Eckerd College edged Dixie Conference Champ - University of North Alabama 18-15 in OT. In the final, LSUA held off Eckerd 24-16.
LSU Alexandria, Elon University, Catholic University of America and Loyola University Maryland competed for the Region's Championship on April 1-2 hosted by the North Bay RFC in Aberdeen, Maryland. In very muddy conditions, Loyola held off Catholic 19-5 in the first semifinal. LSUA overpowered Elon 41-10 in the second semi. In the final, LSUA outfought Loyola 26-15 to earn a spot in the National Championship.
Region 3 - Central
The playoffs kicked off on Nov. 5. 2-time NSCRO Champion St. John's University were defeated by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point 48 to 31 in the Central Qualifier.
The Central Region Championship was held on Nov. 12-13 at Cyntheanne Park in Fishers, Indiana and was hosted by Southeastern Youth Rugby. In the first semifinal, University of Southern Indiana (Indiana RFU Champion) knocked off Franciscan University (Three Rivers Conference Champion) by a score of 46 to 8. UWSP was edged Xavier University (Great Lakes Conference Champion) 31 to 29 in the semifinal.. USI finished 3rd in Nationals in 2016, while Franciscan did the same in 2012. USI was looking for a return trip to Infinity Park, but Xavier had other ideas and handed them a solid 56 to 19 defeat in the final. UWSP defeated Franciscan 54 to 5 for 3rd place.
Xavier is the first team to 'punch a time' to Infinity Park for the NSCRO National Championship on April 29-30, 2017.
Region 4 - PacWest
The Cowboy Cup was held on March 25-26 and hosted in Irving, Texas by the University of Dallas. The Rocky Mountain RFU Frontier league Champion is the University of Denver and Regis University is the runnerup. Angelo State University defeated the University of Dallas 49-21 to win the Lonestar Conference. ASU beat Regis 63-15, while UDallas edged Denver 25-22 in the Cowboy Cup semis. Denver got the better of Regis 41-22 for 3rd place. ASU beat Dallas 40-34 to win the Cowboy Cup. Both ASU and Dallas move onto the Regional on April 8-9.
The California Cup was held on April 1 and hosted by California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA. Cal Maritime (NorCal Champ) defeated Loyola Marymount (Gold Coast Runnerup) 34-12, while Claremont (Gold Coast Champion) beat Santa Rosa JC (NorCal Runnerup) 27-13. CMa and Claremont now move onto the Regional on April 8-9.
You can view the latest results and standings for these league via the links found at the Region 4 page by clicking here.
The Claremont Colleges hosted the PacWest Region Championship on April 8-9 and defeated Cal Maritime 27-8 in the final to earn the final spot in the National Championsip. Angelo State edged Dallas 32-24 for third place. In the semis Cal Maritime defeated Angelo State 28-12, while Claremont knocked off Dallas 45-19.
LSU Alexandria - 2017 South Cup Champions. Photo by Kenny Green, used with permission.
Angelo State University - 2017 Cowboy Cup Champions. Photo by Shayne Roberson, used with permission.
Tufts University - 2016 NSCRO Northeast Region Champion
Xavier University - 2016 NSCRO Central Region Champion
LSU Alexandria - 2017 NSCRO Mid-Atlantic South Region Champion
The Claremont Colleges - 2017 NSCRO PacWest Region Champion