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Halfback Combo Fires New Mexico Tech 7s Championship Run

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Halfback Combo Fires New Mexico Tech 7s Championship Run

NMT celebrates. Photo Alex Goff.

New Mexico Tech defeated Christendom 26-10 to win the CRC 7s Small College National Championship, finishing off a six-game run.

NMT had lost to Christendom in the NCR Small-College final and so were looking for some measure of revenge. 

Christendom, led by the imposing Owen Kennedy and winning their opening five games, had a good mix of power and open play. But they were dealing with a very quick-thinking Miners team.

The two teams traded tries and Christendom led 10-7. But then a key moment. Kennedy was yellow-carded, and unlike many teams over the weekend, NMT took full advantage.

First off, the Miners had a penalty in the Christendom 22. With the delay because of the yellow card, New Mexico Tech opted for a scrum—a smart and somewhat ruthless move as it forced three forwards into the scrum and created a 4-on-3 mismatch out wide. 

From the scrum, scrumhalf Elijah Naranjo gathered the ball and curved wide. He fed scampery flyhalf Milan Van Wyk, who was over. Now it was 14-10 New Mexico Tech.

Right after that, Van Wyk made a tackle and immediately popped up to poach the ball. Penalty to New Mexico Tech, and Van Wyk tapped, took off, and sold a dummy before feeding Naranjo for the try.

Within less than 120 seconds they had turned the game around and led 19-7.

Despite a later yellow card to NMT, the Miners held on and then capped the game with a big charge from Willie Uhrle to set up Nikolas Crosato.

In the end it was an impressive showing by the Miners. They beat Colby College, Oregon Institute of Technology, Susquehanna, Loyola, and John Carroll as well as Christendom to do it. It was a fitting end to it all for NMT.

Babson capped off a really strong run with 3rd place, sparked by the skill of Bejamin Aliker and some intense tackling and a breakaway try from Flynn Michael-Legg.

Maine blew by Denver to take 5th.

Final Top Six Standings:

1. New Mexico Tech
2. Christendom
3. Babson
4. Endicott
5. Maine
6. Denver