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Unpredictable Weekend in Store at CRAA D1AA Sevens

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Unpredictable Weekend in Store at CRAA D1AA Sevens

Sam Houston State can play 7s too. Photo Valentina Vazquez.

CRAA's D1AA Men's 7s kicks off Saturday morning with 10 teams fighting it out in Bellingham, Wash.

Pool A
Iowa State
Sam Houston
NCRC Selects

Pool B
Western Washington
San Jose State
Texas State

So we have a Bowl Game winner in SHSU and a CRAA D1AA 15s finalist in ISU in Pool A, and a team that missed out on the 15s final by a single point in the other pool (WWU) plus a bunch of very competitive teams.


Some of these teams are testing out some younger players after a long 15s season.

Some are looking for redemption after a tough loss. Then we also have the wrinkle of the NCRC selects team filling out the 10th spot. What happens if they win their pool? That would be interesting.

Iowa State

“We were fortunate in having a core of seven guys for three years in 7s that culminated in winning this event last year," said Iowa State Head Coach Ant Frein. "That core has since graduated which leads to an exciting new era of Iowa State 7s, Drew Guinn and Ian Klein helped round out that rotation last year and return to captain the side."

Aiden Lewis, Justin Johnson, Ryan Snider and Nick LaKose all step into rotational spots from situational reserve roles they have held for the last couple of seasons to provide experience.

"We have a roster of different skill sets that, when they mesh, can provide some excitement," added Frein. "Competing in the 15s final this year has really hindered our 7s prep but the last two weeks have been intense for the guys and we have preached that wearing the Iowa State jersey is not about results in 7s but the processes that create those results! We have had some positive results when we have played 7s this semester so we are hoping the prep can lead to more positive results.”

ISU did not have a good D1AA final—it all seemed to go wrong for them. This is a second chance to show what Cyclones Rugby is all about.

San Jose State

Another playoff team that was a step or two away. The Spartans have high hopes.

“We are looking forward to competing against some of the best D1AA programs in the country," said Head Coach Hayden Warneke. "This will be a great opportunity to not only travel as a team but compete against different styles of rugby in a different form of the game. Coming off a hard fought 15's season, playing 7s was never a thought for us until after regionals. We are a forwards dominate 7s teams and looking to showcase our athletic ability on the pitch."

This is finals week for the SJSU players, however, so they have other things on their minds.


Also out of Iowa, the Iowa Hawkeyes have a team with talent. They have targeted this tournament over the last four weeks and feel they can show well.

"There is a good mix of veteran and young players so the expectations are high," said Iowa Head Coach Tyler Dailey. "This program qualified for nationals in 7s and 15s in the Spring of 2020 and unfortunately those opportunities were lost due to the COVID pandemic.  So this group is very excited to get back and have an opportunity to carry the torch for those that laid the foundation before them."

Sam Houston State

After winning a bowl game in impressive fashion over Florida, the Bearkats are happy to unleash their not inconsiderable 7s abilities.

It's only been two weeks since that bowl game, but, said Head Coach Ramon Serrano, they have been full-on into 7s since then. And yes, like with SJSU, it's Finals Week and graduation. 

"It’s been challenging," said Serrano. "Our expectations are high but we're taking a relaxed approach based on past experiences on the national 7s stage. We have the talent and experience to be successful but we have to execute.

All-everything SHSU player Jaxon Stokley isn't letting this chance slip by, and they bring a powerful side that may just make it happen with a relaxed approach.


A bit of a wild card, Stanford could surprise many. They have been working hard on their 7s and while their travel squad of 14 includes six rookies in their first season with the program, they have ability.

Thane Brueschke and Riley Elliot will share captains’ honors for the tournament as Stanford dials in for each of the four pool matches .

"We are looking forward to seeing all their individual strengths come together on the pitch," said Coach Irene Gardner.

Western Washington

One freak play from making the 15s D1AA final, the Vikings are essentially tournament hosts and want to show their best in the PNW.

They have played in just one 7s tournament this year, in Boise, Idaho for the NCRC conference 7s. They went 4-0 and outscored the opposition 166-26, so they have that going for them. They've been hard at work preparing for Tournament #2.

"The team is confident, healthy, fit, and anxious to perform in front of family and friends in what will be a great atmosphere," said DOR Paul Horne.

Here's the schedule (all times Pacific Time). This is a challenging schedule for everyone as the teams play four pool games on Saturday. Teams will be at the venue for several hours, with hosts Western Washington and defending champs Iowa State there the longest, playing their final game more than eight hours after they kick off their first contest of the day. By contrast, UT San Antonio plays their final game less than four hours after they start the tournament.

9AM NCRC Selects vs Iowa State
9:22AM Texas State vs WWU
9:44AM Stanford vs SHSU
10:06AM Iowa v SJSU

10:50AM Oregon vs NCRC Selects
11:12AM UTSA vs Texas State
11:34AM Stanford vs Iowa State
11:56AM Iowa vs WWU

12:40PM SHSU vs Oregon
1:24PM NCRC Selects vs Stanford
1:46PM Texas State vs Iowa

2:30PM IOwa State vs Oregon
2:52PM WWU vs UTSA
3:36PM SJSU vs Texas State

4:20PM Oregon vs Stanford
4:42PM UTSA vs Iowa
5:04PM Iowa State vs SHSU
5:26PM WWU vs SJSU