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2019 NSCRO Champions Cup Champions, The Claremont Colleges

The Claremonnt Colleges - 2019 NSCRO Champios Cup National Champions


The National Championship will take place on 26 April and 28 April at Siena College located at 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville, NY.

All matches will be live streamed for free on the NSCRO YouTube Channel.

Below you will find the Welcome Packet with the schedule and event details.

2018-19 NSCRO Playoffs

NSCRO has officially awarded the South Cup Championship, Mid-Atlantic South Region Championship, Central Region Championship, and Northeast Region Championship events as part of its Fall men’s playoffs. These hosts are officially ‘on-the-clock’ and have been handed host responsibilities for these NSCRO flagship events. The selection process for the Spring PacWest Region playoffs and National Championship is underway.


The Central Region Championship will be hosted by Madison United Rugby on 10-11 November 2018 at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex located at 4064 Vilas Road, Cottage Grove, WI.

The South Cup Championship (Champions Cup) will be hosted by Eckerd College on 17-18 November 2018 at South Athletic, located at 4200 South 54th Avenue in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Northeast Region Championship will be hosted by Siena College on 17-18 November 2018 located at 515 Loudon Road, Loudonville, NY.

The Mid-Atlantic South Region Championship will be hosted by the Raleigh Rugby Football Club on 1-2 December 2018 at the Poole Road Rugby Complex, 7417 Poole Road, Raleigh, NC.

The PacWest Region Championship will be hosted on the campus of the University of Denver on 6-7 April 2019. The Cowboy Cup will be hosted by Regis University in Denver, CO on 23-24 March 2019.

NSCRO began a bidding process in July and concluded the process in late August. The process was managed by Matt Robinette, NSCRO Director of Events. Each of these hosts completed comprehensive bids that benefit both parties and offer world-class facilities for these high-profile events. NSCRO congratulates these organizations on winning the bid to host these events and we look forward to working with them through the planning process. NSCRO and our host partners are committed to delivering value to our members through well-run, professionally produced championship events.

Steve Cohen, NSCRO President, said “The NSCRO bid process is detailed and thorough. Communication is critical and understanding expectations paramount,” when asked what the bid process is meant to achieve.  Cohen explained the importance of producing professional events at quality venues as a benefit to the members of NSCRO as well as to the host community.

“We’re all very excited that the bid process has concluded with the selection of four outstanding venues, and the event planning can begin,” said Cohen.


Central Region

St. John's University marks its return to the Region Championship since its last appearance in 2015 after 3 consecutive Championship titles.  The Johnnies are also 2-time NSCRO National Champions with back to back titles in 2013 and 2014 before being upended by Mount St.  Mary's University in the 2015 semifinal. Robert Morris University similarly returns to this event for the first since 2015. RMU lost to St. John's in both 2014 and 2015. Will we see a rematch in 2018? Thomas More University and John Carroll University are making their first appearance in this Championship. TMU is in its 3 year of existence and has been improving every year.  JCU has been progressing the past few years with a Challenge Cup National Championship appearance this past Spring finishing 2nd.

Semifinal - RMU 50 - TMU 38
Semifinal - SJU 50 - JCU 12
3rd Place - TCU 38 - JCU 15
1st Place - SJU 38 - RMU 10

Congratulations to St. John's University on earning the first spot in the 2019 National Championship set for April 26-28, 2019.

Northeast Region

The 4 Region Qualifiers scheduled have been completed as follows:
Salve Regina University (Colonial Coast #2) 39 - University of Maine Farmington (NERFU #1) 36
Endicott College (Colonial Coast #1) 42 - Eastern Connecticut State University (NERFU #2) 28
Ithaca College (Upstate #1) 44 - SUNY Maritime (Tri-State #2) 17
Monroe College (Tri-State #1) 34 - Le Moyne College (Upstate #2) 27
The winners now head to the Region Championship.

At the Region Championship, the results were as follows:
Semifinal: Endicott 74 - Monroe 10
Semifinal: Salve Regina 42 - Ithaca 31
3rd Place: Ithaca 43 - Monroe 25
Final: Endicott 64 - Salve Regina 15

Congratulations to Endicott College on earning a place in the 2019 National Championship set for April 26-28, 2019.

Endicott College - 2018 Northeast Region Champion. Photo courtesy of Andy Murphy, Siena College.

Mid-Atlantic South Region

On Nov. 10, the Cardinals CRC Champion Christendom College defeated the Southern RC Champion College of Charleston at the Poole Road Complex in Raleigh, NC by a score of 62 to 5 in the Mid-South Qualifier.

On Nov. 17...
In the Mid-Atlantic North Qualifier Susquehanna (Mid-Atlantic RC #1) hosted Loyola University of Maryland (Potomac #2.). Loyola pulled out a 38-33 victory.

In the Mid-Atlantic South Qualifier The Catholic University of America (Potomac RC #1) hosted Bucknell University (Mid-Atlantic #2) winning 43 to 5.

The South Cup was hosted by Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida on Nov. 17-18.  In the semifinals, the University of North Alabama (Dixie CRC) defeated Valdosta State University (Georgia RU) 29 to 26 and Eckerd College (Florida RU) beat Spring Hill College (Deep South CRC) 15-10.  In the final, Eckerd edged UNA 23-20 in overtime.

Eckerd College - 2018 South Cup Champion. Photo courtesy of Nathan Kovacs.

The Region Championship saw 4 of the top 8 ranked teams face off. In the first semifinal no. 8 Eckerd College faced on against The Catholic University of America who are ranked fourth. Catholic scored 2 earlier tries and made them stand up winning 22-8. No. 3 Christendom College faced last year's MA South Region Champion Loyola University Maryland, currently ranked no. 6. Christendom prevailed 23 to 7. In Sunday's third place match, Loyola won a hard-fought match against Eckerd College 18-14. In the final...Christendom opened up a close match late in the second half to defeat Catholic 43 to 24.

Congratulations to Christendom College on earning a place in the 2019 National Championship set for April 26-28, 2019.

Christendom College - 2018 Mid-Atlantic South Region Champion. Photo courtesy of Mark Brocker.


The Cowboy Cup was hosted by Regis University in Denver, CO on 23-24 March. Regis along with New Mexico Highlands University will represent the Rocky Mountain RFU while Angelo State University and St. Edward's University will represent the LoneStar Conference.

Regis dominated St. Edward's 101-3 in the first semifinal. NMHU held off Angelo State 36-19 in the second semifinal. On Sunday, Angelo State powered through St. Ed's 70 to 15, while Regis down 29-0 came from behind to defeat NMHU 44-39.

Refer to Welcome Packet below for event information.

The top 2 teams will face off against the California teams based on the results of the 30 March Qualifiers. Cal Maritime Academy will host the Gold Coast runnerup, the University of San Diego, while Claremont College will advance to the Regional by forfeit over Santa Rosa JC. The Gold Coast playoffs on 23 March was won by Claremont over USD 34-24. On March 30, Cal Maritime Academy defeated USD 37 to 17 to earn the no. 1 Cal Cup seed for the Region Championship.

Regis will face Claremont, while New Mexico Highlands meets Cal Maritime in the PacWest Region Championship semifinal on April 6 with final set for April 7. The event will be hosted by the University of Denver in Denver. CO. For details, refer to Welcome Packet below. Results were as follows:
Cal Maritime 30 - New Mexico Highlands 27
Claremont 50 - Regis 33
3rd Place - NMHU 65 - Regis 50
Final - Claremont 61 - Cal Maritime 19

Congratulations to The Claremont Colleges on earning a place in the 2019 National Championship set for April 26-28, 2019.

Regis University - 2019 Cowboy Cup Champion. Photo courtesy of Jamin Harvey.


The Tritons of Iowa Central Community College Win the 2018 Champions Cup National Champions

The Iowa Central Community College Tritons surprised no in their comprehensive win of the 2018 NSCRO Champions Cup National Championship title by defeating the defending Champion The Claremont Colleges, 64 to 11, at Life University in Marietta, Georgia.

The “final four” teams - The Claremont Colleges, Loyola University Maryland, Iowa Central Community College and Salve Regina University – had qualified in their NSCRO Region to reach the pinnacle of small college rugby success.

The semis got started with Iowa Central’s Ani Mteto receiving the opening kickoff with four Loyola players jumping for the ball thus leaving the sideline uncovered. Ani dashed along the sideline for the first try of the match. With outstanding execution skills and an ability to quickly go on attack from turnover ball, the Tritons were unstoppable and took a 64-7 halftime lead. Loyola held their own in set play – scrums and lineouts – and played fairly even at the breakdowns. The second half saw Iowa Central score 3 tries which left the fans wondering what was next. What was next was the ‘Never Say Die’ belief that Loyola players and fans thrive upon. In the last 20 minutes, Loyola outscored Iowa Central 26-19 and while the final score of 100 to 33 is lopsided, the spirit and leave it all on the field shown by Loyola deserved much praise. In fact, their 33 points in only second to Lindenwood’s 37 points given up by the Triton defense to our knowledge.

Next up were the Lions of The Claremont Colleges against Salve Regina University. Salve was the 2012 NSCRO National Champion. In a match that feature wide open play leading to 11 of 12 tries by the backs…it was excitement from start to finish. Salve scored quickly and took a 7-0 lead but then let Claremont drive in three tries and a PK before scoring just at the halftime whistle to make it a 22-14 lead for Claremont. In the second half, Claremont ran in a quick try and it looked like their 29-14 was going to spell doom for Salve. Not the case. Salve responded and responded with 20 minutes left took a 33-29 lead. Claremont showed resilience and fought back with 3 unanswered tries to win 48-33.

In what NSCRO President, Steve Cohen, refers to as his “favorite match of the Championship weekend”, Salve and Loyola did not disappoint the fans in the stands at Life University or those watching the live stream. As Cohen says, “this is the match that shows how these student-athletes have been prepared to overcome disappointment in life”. In what turned out to be a 7-try match, all tries were scored by the backs but of course not without the hard work and sacrifice of the forwards. With a back and forth field placement match, Salve scored mid-way through the first half to go up 7-0. Loyola quickly responded with a try. In the final three minutes, both teams exchanged tries and Salve took a 14-12 lead at the half. The second half saw Salve run another try and with a penalty kick take what some might say a solid lead 22-12 with less than 20 minutes ago. But then came those “Never Say Die” lads of Loyola and within a six-minute time frame scored two converted tries to take the lead 26-22. Salve with just about five minutes left went on attack inside the 22 but Loyola’s defense held firm until with under two minutes to go, Salve swung the ball wide to their wing and he dotted down the try to give Salve the victory 27-26.

In a much anticipated match up between the favored Tritons against the defending Champions the Lions, it was the Tritons who put the pressure on the Claremont attack. This caused the Lions to have uncharacteristic ball handling errors which the Tritons took quick advantage of and scored six first half tries taking a 45-6 halftime lead. A better balanced second half showed strong skills by both sides, but when the dust settled, Iowa Central came away with the title of the Small College National Champion.

The new NSCRO National Championship format with semifinals on Friday evening and final two matches on Sunday was a resounding success as at this level of play, teams could use a ‘day off’ for recovery, especially to minor injuries that needed the extra day to allow the player to perform at the right level.

The 2018 Champions Cup National Championship would not have been a success without the support of many people and companies, including but not limited to: Life University and its Athletic Director, Jayme Pendergast, Women’s Rugby Team Head Coach, Rosalind Chou and her players; 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, Jim Rogers and Kahlil Harrison; the Southeast RRS for providing assistant referees Joe Burpoe and Pete Chamberlain; the broadcast production team led by Jesse Miller along with commentators Craig Dekshenieks and Matt Robinette, Neurosport Athletic Trainers Cecilia Fierro and Tyler Bader..

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

MVP - Ani Mteto of Iowa Central Community College



Heart & Soul Awards


These awards are given to a player on each team who have been an inspiration and significant contributor to their club on and off the field. Award recipients were given were given an NSCRO custom match ball, signed by their teammates:

In photo L-R:
Bobby Gordon - Loyola University Maryland
Liam Burke - Salve Regina University
Shane Pico - The Claremont Colleges

Clayton Goddard - Iowa Central Community College

NSCRO "All Championship XV"  


The All Championship XV recognizes the 15 best players by position. Each player received a custom NSCRO t-shirt:

Position Player Name School
1 -  Prop Nathan Heath Iowa Central Community College
2 - Hooker Vic Wong Iowa Central Community College
3 - Prop Frankie Rayis The Claremont Colleges
4 - 2nd Row Vanya Sturm Iowa Central Community College
5 - 2nd Row Lukas Svitek The Claremont Colleges
6 - Back Row Kyle Higgins Loyola University Maryland
7 - Back Row Isaiah Faleuka Iowa Central Community College
8 - Back Row Elliot Finn Iowa Central Community College
9 - Scrumhalf Richard Felton Iowa Central Community College
10 - Flyhalf Matt Grundlingh The Claremont Colleges
11 - Wing Mike Wildin Iowa Central Community College
12 - Center Ani Mteto Iowa Central Community College
13 - Center Ben Faulkner Salve Regina University
14 - Wing Kyle O'Connor Salve Regina University
15 - Fullback Nathan Epplett Iowa Central Community College

To download a copy of the All-Championship XV team, click here.

To view the Champions Cup Championship videos, go to our YouTube channel.


Salve Regina University - 2017 NSCRO Northeast Region Champion

Loyola University Maryand - 2018 Mid-Atlnatic South Region Champion. Photo by Massive Motives, used with permission.

Iowa Central Community College - 2018 Central Region Champion

The Claremont Colleges - 2018 PacWest Region Champion

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

Player Awards
here to see full report on the Player Awards.

Trending Documents

2018-19 Men's Top 40 Ranking (final)
rev. 08 May 2019

2018-19 Men's Champions Cup Playoff Bracket
rev. 15 April 2019

Fall 2018 Top 30 Coaches Poll
rev. 10 December 2018

2018-19 List of Men's Clubs
rev. 10 March 2019

2017-18 Men's Top 40 Ranking (final)
rev. 26 May 2018

Event Details

Region 4 PacWest Championship Welcome Packet

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South Cup

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.