NewsFrom Infinity Park
Collegiate 7s Championships: Lindenwood Men and Women Victorious, UNC Upsets Whitewater, Air Force Takes Down Chico State
Over the weekend, Infinity Park hosted the USA Rugby Collegiate Sevens National Championships for the second year running. Founded in 2011, the tournament has consistently drawn the nation’s best young talent. 2018 saw the return of reigning Division I Men’s and Women’s sides from Lindenwood University, traveling from St. Louis, Missouri to compete. Friday, May 18 through Sunday, May 20, more than forty teams from colleges across the nation gathered to vie for National titles in Men’s and Women’s Division I and II play. With teams from Arkansas to Arizona, California to North Carolina, it was truly a national gathering.
Photo by Justin Purdy
Alongside the scores of talented young rugby players, the weekend brought cool temps, gray skies, and intermittent showers. In spite of the less than ideal conditions, however, the rugby was fast paced and exciting. The Division 1 Men’s competition was fierce, ultimately confirming the Lindenwood Lions’ position at the top. Securing their second consecutive Collegiate 7s National Championship, the Missouri squad gave up only two tries during the entire tournament – both against their championship opponent, the California Golden Bears. Taking down Cal 26-12, Lindenwood picked up their third title in four years. The Lions’ flyhalf Nick Feakes was named MVP of the tournament.
The Division I action extended to the Women’s competition as well, and the outcome was equally impressive for the Lindenwood side. Earning their second National Championship title in as many years, the D1 Women shut out Penn State, sealing a 20-0 victory. The Women’s Open division also saw excitement, with the Air Force squad besting Chico State in a thrilling match that saw five lead changes. Air Force ultimately took the win 20-17 over the California side. The D2 Men’s final saw a surprise victory by UNC Charlotte, underdogs who claimed the title over defending champions UW Whitewater. The Wisconsin team had won the last two Division II 7s championships, as well as the 2017 15s title. While the competition was fierce, UNC left the pitch with a decisive 38-10 victory, a possible sign of sea change at the D2 level.
The competition over the weekend marks the kickoff of a rugby-filled summer at Infinity Park. With tournaments and special events scheduled, Glendale is also in the midst of an undefeated professional debut, the Raptors’ record flawless thus far in the inaugural season of Major League Rugby. June 2-3 Infinity Park will host the USA Rugby Club Championships, with the following weekend also to be rugby-filled: combo tickets are available for the Raptors match against the Houston Sabercats on June 8, which include admission to the USA vs. Russia test match on June 9. Glendale will host a coaching clinic on June 15-16, which will conclude with the Raptors’ penultimate home game, taking on the Seattle Seawolves on June 16.