Collegiate Rugby Championship

Claremont Colleges Attends Penn Mutual CRC For First Time

The California-based Claremont Colleges Rugby Program will be participating in the 2015 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship (Penn Mutual CRC) for the first time this spring.

Philadelphia, Penn. — May 20, 2015 —The team will compete in the National Small Colleges Rugby Organization (NSRO) Men’s 7s Championship, after earning a spot in a qualifying tournament on April 19. Coincidentally the team itself actually hosted this tournament, the Claremont 7s, and came out on top winning 44-7 in the final match against Cal State Monterey Bay.

Claremont Head Coach, JClaremont 2015eremy Ognall, said, “We have been trying to accelerate our understanding of the game and the structures required to compete in 7s at a high level. It has been challenging since our 15s season just ended and the players are all in the middle of final exams at a very academically focused school. We have been working with Tiger Rugby, a high-performance 7s academy that is part of the Olympic Development Program, to help our acceleration.”

The Claremont team is unique in that it’s compromised of members of students from four schools: Claremont McKenna,  Pitzer College, Pomona College, and Harvey Mudd. Known as the Claremont University Consortium, this combination not only lets students play rugby together but also includes a centralized library, health services, etc. The opportunity to combine schools into one team like this is an opportunity allowed by NSCRO as well as USA Rugby. Claremont is a member of the Gold Coast Conference Intercollegiate Rugby.

“NSCRO is an amazingly well organized group run by people who seem to truly care about the sport of rugby and expanding it within the United States. The emphasis on small colleges and ensuring we don’t get left behind is essential. Just because we are small doesn’t mean we don’t intend to compete or professionalize our programs,” explained Ognall, who is now in his sixth season coaching Claremont.

Although the team has never competed at the Penn Mutual CRC before, they have faced one of the teams in 15s, New Mexico Highlands University. This southwestern team was the runner up from last year’s NSCRO Men’s 7s Championship and faced Claremont just this past April in the semifinals of the NSCRO Pacific Western Region Championship. The match was hosted by Cal State Maritime, where Claremont won in a finally tally of 39-24.

Claremont Team Captain Grant Frazier said, “I am excited to go up against some quality competition and continue working to gain recognition for the Claremont Colleges Rugby program. Although I have played 7s rugby before, our program is more focused on 15s rugby, as many of our players play NCAA Division III football during the fall semester. While we do have a relatively inexperienced 7s team, our roster is filled with a wealth of talented athletes and runners that have really come together as a team over the last month of 7s training. The guys on the team are excited to represent their schools and continue the Claremont Colleges Rugby program’s ascent to the top of US Collegiate Rugby. claremont2

The team’s past highlights include winning the 2010 Division II National Championship against Temple University, and earning a promotion to Division I after defeating UC Santa Barbara in a promotion/relegation match. Although this is Claremont’s debut, the team will only be losing three seniors from a roster of 35 players this year. Furthermore they have 10 new recruits whom Frazier feels confident will be an integral part of the program’s growth.

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