Rugby Team Wins Division 2 Nationals
The Claremont Colleges Men's Rugby team beat Temple 25-19 over the weekend to win the Division 2 National Championships at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. The 5C team began the tournament as the #2 seed in the Southern California, after having won a four-team playoff for the final spot. "Temple was violent, playing a little dirty and they were bigger than us physically, but our strategy was more intelligent, we attacked, we scouted their players, and moved more cohesively as a unit than they did, they didn't move as well as a unit, we came together better" spectator Julie Hailue CMC '11 said.
Captain Jeff Astor CMC '11 reflected on the team's attitude: "It was the last time this team would ever be together, and I knew that each guy would leave everything they had on the field. They did."
Under the leadership of first-year coach Jeremy Ognal, the team qualified for nationals for the first time since 2005 by winning the SCRFU D-II playoffs with a dominant 43-5 victory over their rival LMU, who knocked Claremont out of nationals last year.
The first two rounds of nationals were hosted by The Central Florida Sports Commission & The Orlando Rugby Club in Sanford, FL. Claremont, the #2 seed in the Southern California region behind Arizona State, who they lost to 40-0 in January. The 5C team defeated St. Louis University in the round of 16, and University of Vermont in the quarterfinals to advance to the final 4.
In the semifinals, the team eeked out a 36-34 victory over University of Miami (Ohio) to advance to Saturday's final.
This has also been a historic year for the team, as they defeated the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in double overtime back in April in a DI/DII Challenge Match to be promoted to Division 1 competition.
The video of the final can be watched here.
Some information from this article was taken from The Student Life's April 1st article.