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Competitive Quarterfinals Show How Big Rivers Works as a Conference

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Competitive Quarterfinals Show How Big Rivers Works as a Conference

Marian's JD Farrell makes a tackle versus Rio Grande Saturday. Photo Marian Rugby.

Big Rivers is down to four semifinalists after Saturday’s quarterfinals, with all of the games being very close.

The beauty of the Big Rivers is that it is a conference where all the teams have very similar backgrounds and support. They are school-supported rugby teams in small-enrollment colleges with developing profiles. They are all in NCR and NCR created this conference for them.

The similarity in profiles has produced competitiveness across the board.

Saturday saw Thomas More defeated Iowa Central CC in a rather chippy game 22-13. Marian was tested by 7th seed Rio Grande 19-12. Rio Grande was within two points at halftime and just a long Marian try in the second half extended the lead.

And Wheeling beat Aquinas 29-11 in the least close game of the day—a game that was still highly competitive.

Principia was the top team in the conference and earned a bye to the semis.

Overall in the Big Rivers, including regular season and playoffs, over 40% of the games were decided by a try or less. A total of almost 60% were decided by two tries or less. Wheeling’s 18-point victory over Aquinas was the fourth-largest margin of victory in the entire season.

This is an excellent example of how like-minded and like-backgrounded college teams in one conference can make for competitive, entertaining rugby.