Girls 7s Roundup: Aquinas OT Surprise and More
Girls 7s Roundup: Aquinas OT Surprise and More
A major girls 7s tournament is slated for this coming weekend, so it's worth taking a look at where some of the teams are around the nation.
We discussed the brand-new St. Thomas Aquinas HS girls team from earlier this fall.
Well this new, untested team, continued to improve and this past weekend beat Liberty North in overtime in the Kansas Youth Rugby state final.
"The girls were amazing," said Head Coach Tim Kluempers. "They have been working hard and learning. They found they can tackle girls bigger than them. They just tackle hard and run hard, and we work really hard on improving their rugby IQ. Developing the IQ is huge because then when you play you don't have to think and you just play."
With Tatum Green-Lockwood and Samantha Miller the senior leadership along with Caroline Doerfler, Bailey Francis, and Delaney Wallace—the last two freshmen—playing strong, STA continually improved through the season.
"By the end of the season they were smashing people," said Kluempers, who added film sessions and screenings of international 7s into the team's curriculum and who credited the rest of his coaching staff for developing this team.
The Colorado Interscholastic Rugby Association has gotten progressively stronger with Regis Jesuit, Denver East, and Monarch all putting in some solid performances. But at the top is, no pun intended, Summit. In fact, Summit is so strong that its second team is the second-best team in the league.
This past weekend Summit's 2nds, the Tigers, swept Denver East 19-10, 19-10, and 19-15. (CIRA sends one team to the home of another for a three-game series, rather than holding tournaments with many teams in one area). Summit HS 1sts swept Eagle Valley with two shutouts, 34-0 and 43-0, and another convincing victory 41-5. Summit HS is now 6-0. Chasing those two is Monarch, which won two and lost one versus Regis Jesuit. Denver East is 2-5-1 but their record against Monarch was solid. Earlier this month Monarch won two against East, but the scores, 17-14 and 19-14, were very close. Their other game was a tie. Monarch is, overall, 4-4-1 with their closest loss being 7-5 against the Summit Tigers.
It's a very tight competition at the top in Ohio with three teams that are essentially equal. Brunswick is 13-2, Medina is 13-1-1, and St. Joseph's is also 13-1-1. While St. Joe's leads by a significant margin in terms of points scored, what's most interesting to us at GRR World Headquarters is that they are virtually tied in points allowed (52, 54, and 54). All of them are allowing about one converted try for every two games.
Right behind those three is Highland, which is 10-5 and those five losses are to St. Joe's (twice), Medina (by one point), Brunswick, and West Pitt (which is a Western Pennsylvania team that essentially fulfills its Rugby PA season by playing in the more nearby Cleveland, Ohio). So there's a reason to think Highland is still a challenger.
So if we (just for fun) take look at those four teams in their games against each other, we might have a better barometer on who is strongest:
St. Joe's 38 Medina 12
Brunswick 12 Medina 15
Brunswick 5 St. Joe's 33
Medina 19 St. Joe's 19
St. Joe's 24 Highland 7
Medina 27 Highland 26
St. Joe's 29 Highland 12
Brunswick 14 Highland 10
St. Joe's at 4-0-1
Medina at 2-1-1
The state playoffs are this coming weekend.
The state playoffs have already happened with Rocky Mountain, Owyhee, Eagle HS, and Middleton HS.
In the playoffs Rocky Mountain took 1st, Owyhee 2nd, Eagle 3rd.
Summit HS (not to be confused with Summit in Colorado), has been very strong. The Valley Panthers, East County Grackles, and Chinook have all played well. But Summit has beaten all of them on their way to a 7-1 record.
This team is relatively new, too, as they formed the team in February. All of the players on the Summit team were new to the game, but by the end of the season five had been selected to the Oregon Redhawks select side.
"The 7s game was new for everyone and again we had four new players but our size and speed made us a good fit for 7s," said Head Coach Lindsay Gadsby. "We emphasized the basics but added some nuance, and focused on speed, and decision making to play a style of positionless rugby that leaned on team cohesiveness and individual confidence."
It worked. Team captain and founder Hazel McRobie led the way with her powerful defensive work while Naomi Bowers proved an excellent finisher and Tatum Hoffman showed speed on and off the ball. With Zoe Bartlett getting points with her kicking, they put it together.
"A boon for the program was finding Steve Lopez, formerly of Rugby NorCal and Pleasanton, through the Central Oregon rugby network,'" said Gadsby. "His experience and technical coaching skills brought the players up to speed very quickly."
Lopez likes to keep a low profile ... oh well.
The St. Francis Saints are 9-0 and have been chased a bit by Carondelet. Well those two teams faced off this past weekend. Carondelet, let by Pilar Rodriguez, Mlia Valasco, and Julia Jarrett, has impressed and unleashed a pretty effective attack. But the Saints shut tem out. And behind the scoring acumen of Dana Greer and Emma Perez, torched Carondelet to the tune of 37-0.
So while Carondelet, Cougars, TAM Highlanders, and St. Francis A are all playing well, the Saints are well ahead.
Cedar Falls remains unbeaten led by 14 tries from Emma Jacobs and 12 from Grace Fober, who also leads the team in tackles.
Southeast Polk is 10-1-1 led by Felicity Severs (14 tries), Peyton Sams (12 tries), and Cecilia Scharff (11 tries, 139 points) as well as a solid team defense (six shutouts). Their only loss was to Cedar Falls, 17-12, and they also tied Waverly Shell Rock.
WSR is 8-1-1. Lilly Stough leads the entire league with 22 tries. She also has 25 conversions for a total of 160 points in 10 games.
Next up for this group is tonight in Nora Springs and in Ankeny. But the big tournament is Sunday, October 29, where the state championship will be held in Fort Dodge.