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Raptors, Columbia Central Win in Tennessee HS 7s

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Raptors, Columbia Central Win in Tennessee HS 7s

Raptors boys raise the trophy.

Raptor Rugby Boys and Columbia Central Girls won their respective Tennessee HS 7s championships over the weekend.

Raptor Boys capped an undefeated 2023 fall season (17-0) with a hard-fought win in the Olympic 7s Championship Final versus 901 Rugby out of Memphis. The Raptors and 901 both used solid team defense and high octane offense running the table in pool play. Led by Ben McCall and JR Judd, 901 had come through a comeback victory in the semifinals against a strong Father Ryan side. 

The Raptors were led by junior Bishop Reilly and seniors Tanner Loebsack (double-digit tries on the day) and Caleb Ebert, who was eventually named the tournament MVP. 

Reilly, a dominant 7s player throughout the fall, was injured in the second pool match. Less than 100%, he sat out the remainder of the tournament.  With Reilly out, junior Eli Bauman stepped in and filled the gap with strong defense and several try-saving chase-downs.  The Raptors put away PCA (Memphis) Rugby in the second semifinal and never looked back with a comfortable win. Loebsack scored three in the game.

The final versus 901 seemed to be heading the same way with the Raptors jumping out to an early 15-0 lead. But like with most affairs between these two sides, 901 roared back cutting the lead to 15-12 with under a minute to play.  The Raptor defense, despite being down to six men, held on. When Referee Sybil Levine told the teams it was the last play, 901 had possession and looked to get that game-winner. However, Raptor sophomore Bo Linstroth forced a penalty for holding-on, and sophomore Jake Orefice tapped the ball and kicked to touch to secure the championship.

In the Bronze Medal match, the underdog PCA team upset Father Ryan led by junior speedsters Lewis Howard and Tristian Parsons. Coach Samuel Toliver has been instrumental in revitalizing PCA Rugby and this third place showing is a testament to the hard work put in by him and his players.    

Tennessee Olympic 7s Boys Championships

Gold Medalists - Raptors

Silver Medalists - 901 

Bronze Medalists - Power Center Academy (Memphis Inner City Rugby)

In the Girls Cup Championships, the Columbia Central Lionesses continued their undefeated Fall 7s season with dominance throughout. The Lionesses were missing their superstar Kiyanah Edwards, as she was in Chula Vista training with the U18 National Team preparing to travel to New Zealand. Without Edwards, the Lionesses still were in control. They did have closest match of the season, however, i a 24-10 win over Lady Raptors in pool play.

The Lady Raptors, led by sophomore Kate Gilliam and senior Sue Majors, defeated Soulsville (Memphis Inner City) in their semifinal.  Soulsville had finished as the top seed from the opposing pool. The semi had several lead changes and the Raptors held on 12-10. With time up in the heart-pounding match Soulsville had possession and a chance to win it, but a knock-on ended that chance.

Columbia dispatched their semifinal opponent Riverdale Lady Warriors 29-0.

In the final, it was a rematch from Pool Play with the upset-minded overall #5 Seeded Lady Raptors.  This time the Lady Raptors hoped to flip the script, but ultimately succumbed to the deep and athletic side from Columbia. The Lionesses pulled away for a dominant win after an evenly-played first half. The Columbia Central Lionesses went undefeated on the day and took the 7s State Championship home on the heels of their dominant Spring 15s Championship.  Leading the way was Tournament MVP Cara Workman with dominant line-breaks, tackles, and tries.

In the Bronze Medal Match, the Riverdale side turned the tables on the spunky Soulsville side winning 27-5 to take home 3rd place and the Bronze Medal.

Tennessee Olympic 7s Girls Championships

Gold Medalists - Columbia Central

Silver Medalists - Lady Raptors

Bronze Medalists - Riverdale Lady Warriors