National Small College Rugby Organization LLC: Latest News: NSCRO Men's National Championship Report - St. John's over Duke in Final

SJU 2013 NSCRO Men's Champ
St. John's University - 2013 National Champion. Photo by Marc Williams
Wednesday, May 1
NSCRO Men's National Championship Report - St. John's over Duke in Final

On Saturday, April 27, under blue skies, 70 degrees air temperature and a thousand plus fans in the stands with many thousand more all over the world watching on line…the 2013 NSCRO Men’s Small College National Championship kicked off at Infinity Park in Glendale, CO – Rugbytown USA.

The path towards the NSCRO National Championship began last September and has winded its way down to the ‘best of the best’ – the top 4 small college rugby clubs in the country. With 211 colleges aiming for the top, it was Duke University, New England College, St. John’s University and the University of Denver, that earned their way to Infinity Park. The NSCRO Championship is not a tournament, we invite no one, we provide a pathway for clubs to qualify and earn the right to be called the ‘best of the best’.

When the dust settled on Sunday, St. John’s stood atop as the 2013 NSCRO National Champion.

See “Handout” below for full match reports provided by Bernie Decker, Rugby Blogger for Rugby Atlas at www.rugbyatlas.com.

New England College (Henniker, NH), the NSCRO Northeast Region Champ, was rebuilt from the ground up in just 2 plus years by head coach Jeremy Treece and his staff. NEC joined the New England RFU in 1984 but fell on hard times in 2006 and disbanded. What they’ve accomplished in just their first year of league play is a testimony to the hard work and dedication of the players and coaches. NEC was undefeated in league play, won 3 NERFU playoff matches before beating Quinnipiac in the semifinal and Salve Regina, the 2012 NSCRO National Champion, in the Regional Championship. Lions rugby is back and ready for a bright future.

Duke University (Durham, NC), the NSCRO Mid-Atlantic South Region Champ, was making its 2nd appearance in the final four. In 2005, Duke finished 2nd to Furman University in the East Coast Division 3 Championship, the predecessor event to the NSCRO Championship. In March’s NSCRO Regional competitions, under the guidance of coach Mike Morgan, Duke played 4 nearly flawless matches, including a win over North Florida, the 2012 NSCRO 4th place finisher, in the South Cup Qualifier. It took a late match come-from-behind effort against Gettysburg College in the Regional final to earn their trip to Glendale.

St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN), the NSCRO Central Region Champ, led by head coach Dan Franklin, recently completed a 3 match tour of Ireland in preparation for the NSCRO Championship. Rugby clubs in Minnesota, like those in many northern states, have the challenge of dealing with lingering winter snow in March as they prepare for Spring rugby. Last Fall, SJU was the convincing winner of the Regional Championship after Grove City put up a real challenge in the semifinal holding a small halftime lead over SJU. SJU’s goal last Fall was to sit atop NSCRO as its Champ. Well done lads!

The University of Denver (Denver, CO), the NSCRO PacWest Region Champ, is a great story of success like their New England counterparts at what years of hard work and dedication can accomplish both in rugby and life. It was just 5 years ago, the rugby club was literally in a state of disrepair, when Allan Wilson took over as head coach and began to guide the student-athletes on the right path. This past year the club finished the Eastern Rockies RFU NSCRO league in 2nd place to the Colorado School of Mines but earned a place in the NSCRO Cowboy Cup. They beat Lonestar Conference Champ, UTexas - Dallas in the semifinal and faced nemesis Mines in the final and left no doubt at the final whistle who was the better team that day. DU went on to win the PacWest Region Championship by defeating the previous 2 NSCRO National Runnerps, California Maritime Academy and Occidental College. Not an easy task in the least. The Pioneers have much to be proud of.

Both of Saturday’s semifinal matches were nothing short of brilliant. Many lead changes and both losing sides in possession of the ball on attack near their opponent’s goal line at the final whistle.

NSCRO is all about the growth and development of small college rugby and the young adults such as those we see before us. In fact, we no longer refer to this “division” as Division 3 but more properly as small college rugby. The small college division is the largest in the country with over 200 men’s and nearly 80 women’s colleges. After watching these players this weekend demonstrate their rugby prowess, it is evident that the only thing small about small college rugby is the size of their school’s enrollment. Full-time undergraduate male enrollments are:
Duke = 3300; DU = 2300; SJU = 1900 and NEC = 500

Rugby is a tough sport that upholds sportsmanship and is filled with the spirit of unity and cooperation. It is in ways the perfect sport to foster the growth and development of young adults who as student-athletes work hard to make themselves and others proud of their accomplishments.

NSCRO is very pleased to have brought you this event at this outstanding facility, which we've done so as part of our continuing desire to raise the standards for small college rugby and inspire young adults to be as successful as they can be both on and off the field of play.

NSCRO would like to thank the following for their support of Small College Rugby and make the weekend at Infinity Park a spectacular rugby experience for all…
The schools, parents, alumni and friends of the players.
The City of Glendale along with Kieran Nelson and the entire Infinity Park staff.
The web streaming broadcast team of Patrick Guthrie, Dallen Stanford and Dan Power and Live Sports Video Network.
World Rugby Shop for providing the match balls and referee jerseys.
Please visit www.WorldRugbyShop.com/NSCRO for your NSCRO apparel as a portion of all sales goes to NSCRO.
USA Rugby for the appointment of National Panel referees, Marc Nelson and George O’Neil along Dan O’Leary who scouted the players for possible invitation to the upcoming Collegiate All-American camp.
The Eastern Rockies Referees Society for providing referees for our 7s tournament and ARs for the National Championship matches.
The NSCRO staff of Owen Dennis and Nick Abbott along with our match reporter Bern Decker and official photographer Marc Williams.

All of the matches including this Awards Ceremony are available on DVD. A DVD order form is available from the NSCRO website at www.nscro.org.

Please also visit our website for the final NSCRO Playoff Brackets, selection of the NSCRO “Heart & Soul” recipients and the selection of the 2013 All-NSCRO Championship XV.

The NSCRO Top 30 Rankings is under review and will be released shortly.


Duke on Attack vs. NEC
Duke's Cameron Gillepsie on attack against NEC. Photo by Marc Williams
Handout: 2013 Men's National Championship