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St. Joseph's Academy Takes Girls Ohio 7s Title

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St. Joseph's Academy Takes Girls Ohio 7s Title

St Joe's Academy vs Walnut Hills in the final. Alex Goff photo.

St. Joseph's Academy won the Rugby Ohio Girls HS Fall 7s Sunday, beating a skilled Walnut Hills side in the final to take the title.

This was a very competitive finals day for the girls bracket, with some standouts throughout the teams.

SJA opened their account with an impressive 33-0 defeat of Brunswick but then had to really battle to beat Medina 15-7. While Medina's try came at the end of that game, it was a constant fight for the Jaguars to find the space they'd enjoyed against Brunswick.

Walnut Hills, meanwhile, opened up their tournament without possibly their best player. Strike runner, co-captain, and goalkicker Emily Steen was late to the event because she was traveling back to Ohio from a tour of Dartmouth (who would be lucky to have her in their program). Despite this, Walnut Hills took it to a very useful Hudson side 32-5. While star Davine Acklin said the team was nervous to play without Steen, they did well.

Steen was there in time for the semi against a big, physical Mentor side, and sparked them to a 26-0 shutout in which she and Acklin dominated the scoring—two tries each and Steen with two conversions.

That set up a final that was back and forth. For St. Joe's, playmaker Megan Chura was everywhere. Not the tallest or most robust player, Chura was simply everywhere, not afraid to make three tackles in a row, and quick to set up her teammates.

Up 10-0 St. Joe's looked to finish the game and get the ball into touch. They did and the celebrations started, only to have everyone called back because they had thrown, not kicked, the ball dead. That's a penalty. A minute or so of additional defense ended the game.

Mentor beat Medina 19-12 to take third with tries from Olivia Vallance, Allyson Lloyd, and Chris Peters—Vallance converted two. Mentor also got some big plays from Summer Benford.

Other teams had talent, too. Hudson's Anna Sturley is a scrappy scrumhalf with speed who likes to pester opposing halfbacks. Perrysburg lost in the opening round but went on to take 5th and they were led by Adina Castillo, who defended well and was superb at straightening attack lines and then freeing up her teammates, after which she was usually following her pass to get the return offload to do it all again. Faith Smallwood also played well for.

There was also a JV bracket and that was all about Highland. The club entered two teams, wth Highland Black beating Perrysburg 39-5 in the quarters and Highland Green beating Brunswick 24-15. Next up Black beat Mentor 22-10 and Green shut out Perrysburg 22-0. So they both made the final and well it seems like they just shared the title after that.

Ruth Musser scored four tries and two conversions for Highland Green, while Maya Weber added tree tries. Talulah Speck and Toni Iannaggi led the scoring for the Highland Black team.