The Ohio State University Men’s Rugby 7’s squad headed to Glendale, Colorado for the 2017 USA Rugby College 7’s National Championship, held May 19th through Sunday the 21st in a forty-team fracas.
The Buckeyes were placed into Pool C, D1 which included: Florida International, Arkansas, and Santa Clara. On the 19th, first up – Florida International, the Buckeyes were rusty, losing 19-14 in a beautifully tight match. Try’s were scored by both Ronan Forrestal and JoJo Eramo, conversion points gathered came at the foot of Jack Walsh. Jaime Barlow played very well too, I feel it should be noted with some nifty passing. It would, ultimately, at the end, be a mere motivational push for the next round.
And, that it was. Also on the 19th the Buckeyes met up with Santa Clara, winning 24-17. The first try was laid down by Mike Matthews. JoJo Eramo would conclude the match with three try’s. Another note: Harry McCallum, Jaime Barlow, and Matthew Stauder all shone well in their Buckeye warrior attitudes – making us members of Buckeye Nation light up with joy and approval.
Come Saturday the 20th there were two matches. One to finish off the Pool Competition, and then off to the playoffs. First, the Pool completion – against Arkansas. The Buckeyes had a swarm of participants in the try-makers; JoJo Eramo, Jack Casey, Jack Walsh, Jaime Barlow, and Spencer Krueger all scoring a try. The score never left the sight of the Buckeyes dominance in this one, Arkansas simply came upon a better team that seemed more focuses. The Buckeyes won 26-12.
Then came a brief rest before the Utes of Utah of Pool D, D1 for the beginning of the playoffs. It did not play out well, as the opener had. The Ohio State University Ruffians were handed an extremely disappointing loss of 15-5. The lone try was scored by Ronan Forrestal. The only other thing that I could add here, in honesty, is that Matt Stauder played well, and with tremendous heart, though no statistic provides any such evidence. The Buckeyes, were simply flat and outplayed. And after the end of the second day of punch-yaw-in-yaw-face Rugby, the Buckeyes were 2-2.
On the 21st the Buckeyes had one more opportunity to advance – against their old nemesis, Bowling Green of Pool A, D1. In another tight match the Buckeyes fell short – losing 27-17. JoJo Eramo and Matt Stauder would be the bight-in-shining armor on this one. JoJo having two try’s and Matt one. I personally believe it was closer than it looked – if – God! – there were just five more minutes. The Buckeyes came on strong towards the end. But, truth, they should have punched the energy card sooner.
Even with the Buckeyes out, no opportunity to go on for the National Title, the Rugby was good, and serious.
On Sunday, the 21st came the riotous adventures all Rugby players yearn for – bragging rights – a national title. Saint Mary’s played Davenport, and Lindenwood took on the Utes of Utah.
First – The Utes and Lindenwood, the Missouri Rugby powerhouse, faced off. The Lions punched their card for a victory, and the right to head for the Title match with a 22-12 win. On the other side of the excitement was Saint Mary’s versus Davenport. This one was a run-away. Saint Mary’s dominated with a 40-12 thrashing.
The Title match was all it was predicted to be – as all the top seeded teams played as they were “suppose” to. Saint Mary’s against Lindenwood in Rugby is like The Ohio State University against Alabama for the National Title in Football … it’s the way the die-hard College Rugby know-it-alls tell us from the beginning of how it’ll all end. Lindenwood would triumph with a 26-5 win. Which, as I see it, was a bigger point spread than I would have ever predicted. But there you are – The Lindenwood University Lions are the USA Rugby College 7’s National Champions.
This concludes the Buckeyes season in Rugby. They were spectacular too. The usual names, JoJo Eramo, Ronan Forrestal, Jack Walsh, and Jaime Barlow were mentioned time and time again. Hats off to our Buckeyes – Be Proud folks. Be Scarlet and Gray Proud!