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Six Boys Champions and U23 Winners Too at NAI 7s

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Six Boys Champions and U23 Winners Too at NAI 7s

Belmont Shore U16s on their way to score. Alex Goff photo.

Seven champions were crowned in Boys and Men brackets at the recent NAI 7s, showcasing some pretty skilled rugby along the way.

Men U23

This bracket is an interesting one as it is not a common one in 7s tournaments and it's a bit of a one-off for many of the teams.

Tsunami Misfits are a little more dialed into this circuit but they ran into a very talented Mustangs side.

Mustangs won two shutouts in Pool Play and the San Mateo Wolverines were also unbeaten. Silicon Valley and Oregon Sharks ended up tied 2-1, but Silicon Valley won the head-to-head.

And Day One was most definitely an indicator of how Day Two would go, with San Mateo beating Salt Lake Valley and Mother Lode to make the final. Mustangs shut out Oregon and then held off Silicon Valley to make the championship game. Mustangs is a team made up of former Herriman HS players and they got right back on the bike to work together again. They didn't have blazing pace, but neither were they particularly slow; they moved the ball well, were powerful in contact allowing them to offload, and defended well.

The result was a 33-19 win in the final.

Final U23 Standings:
1st: Mustangs
2nd: San Mateo
3rd: Mother Lode
4th: Silicon Valley
5th: Salt Lake Valley
6th: East Rugby
7th: Oregon Sharks
8th: Tsunami Misfits
9th: Atlantis Teal
10th: SOC Raptors
11th: Antelope

Boys U18 Elite

We go into this in much detail in an earlier article.

NAI 7s U18 Elite Boys Lives Up to Expectations

Rebel Rugby Academy won in OT in the final over Next Phase Rugby.

Boys U18

The Open U18 continued the Year of Belmont Shore, with the Long Beach club, Rebel Rugby, SacPal Islanders, and Pioneer Selects all going 3-0 on Day One. Three teams in Pool 5 finished up 2-1 and while the KC Jr. Blues won the pool, it was clear the other teams, USA South and Titan were solid. Rebel showcased a stalwart defense, holding their pool opposition to just three tries. 

Belmont Shore rolled through the playoffs. Led by Elijah Lolesio-Pua and Josiah Apisala and with talent throughout, Shore won convincingly over Elsie Allen, SacPal, and, in the final, Rebel. 

Final U18 Standings:
1st: Belmont Shore
2nd: Rebel Rugby Academy
3rd: SacPal Islanders
4th: USA South Panthers
5th: Elsie Allen Lobos
6th: Pioneer Selects
7th: East HS
8th: KC Jr. Blues
9th: Titan Rugby
10th: Mother Lode Rugby
11th: Liberty
12th: Herriman
13th: New Mexico Desert Warriors
14th: Punaauia
15th: Rock Rugby
16th: WAR
17th: Riverton
18th: Hawkeyes
19th: Mountain Ridge
20th: WarFrogs

New Mexico's finish is another example of a growing program that keeps coming back to the NAI 7s and learns more and more each time. SacPal Islanders had an excellent weekend.

U16 Boys

The U16s had two tiers and Belmont Shore and Gorilla were very close. Shore and Gorilla tied in pool play and in the semifinals Shore won 28-26. Every other time Belmont Shore was in complete control. Lenny Ibarra has had an excellent year for the Belmont Shore 15s team, the North American Lions, and now in Shore's 7s team. He ran the attack superbly.

Smart, defensively sound, and with the ability to move the ball smoothly, Belmont Shore were deserved champions and shut down Layton Christian 24-7 in the final.

San Mateo's depth showed itself as they took 3rd over Gorilla, who had to be shaking their heads over how close they came this weekend.

Final U16 Tier I Standings:
1st: Belmont Shore
2nd: Layton Christian
3rd: San Mateo
4th: Gorilla
5th: USA South Panthers
6th: Try Time
7th: Rhinos
8th: Tampa Bay Stingrays
9th: Rebel Rugby 
10th: Atlantis Teal
11th: Los Al Tribe
12th: Cavemen
13th: Broncos
14th: Pioneers 7s
15th: California Grizzlies

In Tier II Mountain View shrugged off an early pool play loss to Hawkeyes to run through the playoffs against two SacPal Islanders teams and Atlantis Black in the final.

This was definitely a case of a team learning and adjusting through the weekend. Teams that learned to use their teammates did well.

Final U16 Tier II Standings:
1st: Mountain View
2nd: Atlantis Teal
3rd: Guam
4th: SacPal Islanders
5th: Hawkeyes Red
6th: Gorilla
7th: SacPal Islanders 2
8th: San Mateo
9th: Liberty 
10th: Mountain Ridge
11th: USA South Panthers
12th: Rugby Texas
13th: Rock Rugby
14th: Titans Rugby
15th: Hawkeyes
16th: New Mexico Desert Warriors

Guam, which started playing at the NAI 7s two years ago, produced an excellent showing this weekend with wins over Rugby Texas, both Hawkeyes teams, and SacPal Islanders. Their two losses were within a try and went to Atlantis and SacPal Islanders 2.

Boys U14

After fielding a series of very good rugby teams that just missed championships, San Mateo did indeed get a trophy to list, this time in U14. San Mateo has signaled its intention to return as a rugby power in the USA. 

Final U14 Standings:
1st: San Mateo
2nd: Belmont Shore
3rd: Atlantis
4th: Gorilla
5th: MVP Rugby
6th: CenCal Rugby
7th: Los Al Tribe
8th: Cavemen
9th: Hawkeyes
10th: Salt Lake Valley
11th: California Grizzlies