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Who's Going To College 7s Nationals?

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Who's Going To College 7s Nationals?

David Barpal photo.

Who has qualified for the USA Rugby Collegiate 7s Championships?

And qualified is the key word here. The USA Rugby championships differ from the other big college event in the spring, the CRC, in a couple of respects: 1. The CRC is a private event and is designed to showcased top-level college 7s in a way that will attract fans and TV viewers, so there is no responsibility (nor should there be) for the CRC to provide a competitive outlet for different kinds of teams. The CRC is first and foremost a men's college event. There's a women's event that's interesting and competitive, but not enormously competitive. 2. The CRC is an invitational. There are a couple of tournaments that provide qualifiers, but it's largely an invitational in which teams are brought in based on name recognition, the ability to bring fans to the event, and then, also, on-field competitiveness.

USA Rugby, as the national governing body, has a responsibility to provide a championship for different divisions—men and women, D1, D2. This year, the tournament will have six brackets, D1A Men, D1 Elite Women, D1AA Men, D1 Women, D2 Men, D2 Women. The teams get there by winning a qualifier, or coming in a close second and applying. One or two teams do get in without playing a qualifier tournament, but all of those teams have gone deep into the spring playoffs, and have performed at a high level in previous years.

USA Rugby College 7s Nationals live on FloRugby May 24-26

Here's who is competing and why they're there.

D1A Men

Team Why They're There
Ohio State Big 10 Champion
Air Force Rocky Mountain Champion
Arkansas Red River Champion
Cal PAC Champion
Northeastern Liberty

There will be seven to 11 at-larges, with Arizona a certainty (they're hosting after all), and quite possibly Grand Canyon. Lindenwood and Life headline the list. 

D1 Elite Women

Central Washington
Penn State

These are teams from D1 Elite level or NIRA. There's one more spot open.

D1 Women

This is an eight-team bracket. Five teams have won qualifiers:

Team Why They're There
Air Force Rocky Mountain Champion
Washington State Oregon/Pac Mntn Champion
Sam Houston Texas Champion
Iowa State Hawkeye Classic Champion
Virginia Tech Queens Qualifier

Three at-large spots remain, and there are several really strong teams: Princeton won the Ivy League and will likely get in. Davenport, West Chester, Northeaster, UC Davis, Clemson, Colorado, and UCSB are all possible.

D1AA Men

Team Why They're There
Mary Washington Chesapeake Champion
Oregon State NCRC Champion
St. Joseph's MARC Joint-Champion
Iowa State Heart of America Champion
Western Michigan MAC Champion
FIU Florida Champion
Stanford Pac West Champion
Sam Houston Lone Star

Ivy champion Dartmouth will go to the CRC only, and SCRC Champion Kentucky is reportedly unable to attend. That leaves four at-large teams. Possibles include Dayton, Lindenwood-Belleville, Western Washington, Nebraska, and USC. WWU is a weird situation because they lost in the semis of the NCRC, but lost to the eventual winner 26-24. 

D2 Women

Team Why They're There
Claremont Colleges Pacific Desert Champion
Bryant Rugby NE Champion
Bloomsburg MARC Champion
Vassar Tri-State Champion
Babson NEWCRC Champion
Fresno State West Coast Champion

The SIRC champion, Lee, is an NSCRO team and will pursue that avenue. Two at-large spots are left, and Grand Valley State and San Jose State could be your teams there.

D2 Men

Team Why They're There
William Paterson Tri-State Champion
Norwich Rugby NE Champion
Bloomsburg MARC Champion
Iowa Central CC Upper Midwest Champion
Principia Gateway Champion
NC State Cardinals Champion
Hartford NEWCRC Champion
East Carolina Southern Champion

This bracket was full of shockers, so you've got a lot of competition for the four at-large spots: Wisconsin-Whitewater (2018 runner-up), UNC-Charlotte (2018 champion), and Queens (won a strong non-qualifier tournament) all could be there. And it's highly likely that Montana State, which won the Rocky Mountain, a conference championship that isn't officially a qualifier but should be, will be in.