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NEC Building on Small College 7s Win

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NEC Building on Small College 7s Win

New England College might be forgiven for basking in the glory of winning the NSCRO 7s Championship, but there’s work to be done for the new season.

NEC won the National Small College Rugby Organization event held in conjunction with the CRC in Philadelphia in June. The unlike the CRC, which is an invitational, the NSCRO event is all about qualifying - dozens of men’s small college rugby teams from around the country competed to get there, and to get there they had to have won their qualifying tournament - second place wouldn’t do.

That’s why defending champs Occidental weren’t there, they finished second in their qualifier. NEC, back for another shot, and paced by All American Honorable Mention Jay Muniz, they took the title.

“It was big, not only for us, but for the entire school,” said Head Coach Jeremy Treece. “It was the first national championship that NEC has ever won. The School President and Athletic Director were excited and have been very supportive of the program.”

The victory happened after students had gone home for the summer, so the big celebration will wait for this fall, and maybe that’s just as well, as Treece can use such a celebration to show his players what can be achieved.

The team is undergoing some changes, as players graduate and move on. He has been recruiting, and the team’s success might also get a few more walk-ons.

“The last three years we’ve had 30 players CIPP’d,” said Treece. “So we’re not deep. We’re still a small program at a small school. So we need to build depth. We will have a camp in September and will use this to move forward.”

NEC might look to competing in another division, as well. NSCRO does not preclude small colleges from playing for another title. St. Mary’s, the top of the heap when it comes to small schools that play rugby, could be an NSCRO team if they so chose. NEC isn’t looking at DIA, but they might want to look at DII.

After all, NEC beat Coast Guard Academy fairly convincingly, and pushed Dartmouth very close last September. But to do that, requires more of everything.

“We need 40 to 45 players to play in DII,” said Treece, who is all praise for the work Steve Cohen has done to form and run NSCRO. “And we would need more funding as well. It’s harder. But the thing about our players is, they want to compete.”