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Raptor Rugby Sweeps Tennessee Fall 7s

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Raptor Rugby Sweeps Tennessee Fall 7s

The Raptors Varsity boys overcame an early loss to win it all.

The Raptor Rugby Program in Middle Tennessee took all of the honors at the Tennessee State Fall 7s Championships this past Saturday.

Boys Open Division

The High School JV side took the Open Division playing well-connected rugby and with purpose throughout the day. They won every match decisively, which bodes well for the program's future. This was a mostly freshman team and they showed a good understanding of the game and played with confidence. 

The team was led by a freshman contingent of captain Bishop Reilly, Eli Bauman, Gavin Trussel, Jaob Marak, Bo Linstroth, Willian Wright, Tucker Ervin, and David Krivacka, and added 8th-graders Mac Sutherland and Jake Orefice. These players also won the 2021 Tennessee Middle School 15s State Championship last spring. Bauman was named the tournament MVP.


The Lady Raptors took on all comers and even with the pressure of being the pre-tournament favorites found their rhythm. Their pace and Rugby acumen outpaced their opponents' desire and they went undefeated on the day. The pace of Saraia McGhee and Kaylan Thomas were on display as was the reliable boot of Rachel Martelle, intense defense of Kelyn Branchflower, and tenacious leadership of Tournament MVP Stephanie Esmonde.  

Boys Varsity

The Raptor HS 1st side actually lost in pool play. Dropping a 14-10 decision to Germantown Rugby, the Raptors made the semis and put in a strong defensive performance in a 15-0 shutout over Christian Brothers Rugby to earn a spot in the final.

There they faced Germantown for the rematch. Germantown took a 14-12 lead in the second half but the Raptors rallied for two tries, led by senior captain and tournament MVP Stone Wilkinson, to win 22-14.

The Raptors won with strong defense and overcame injuries to senior Mike McWilliams and junior flyhalf Mitch Roberts. Big shifts were put in by juniors Xander Smartt, Nick Orefice, Jackson Meyer, Bailey Black, Alex Schleuter, and Jude Lenahan. Seniors Andreas Gobert, David Stazzone, Dakota Almazon, James Brigham, and sophomore Max Orefice all played well. 

This was the first season for Head Coach Dan Griff and his management of the squad was key in getting the most out of his players.

Special thanks to Brian Silkwood, Tom Brennan, and Sumner County Rugby Club hosted the event.