The high school all-star rugby season got an early kickoff with this past weekend's Midwest All-Star Challenge.
The event, which was held in Elkhard, IN, was a good warmup opportunity for teams from Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere in the Midwest.
Celtic Elite of Ohio, which draws largely from St. Edward, St. Ignatius, Brunswick, and Hudson, went 2-0, beating the Indiana Hawks and Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Midwest.
Against the Hawks, the Celtic Elite won 35-15. The Ohio team got tries from Colin Sustersic (Brunswick), Joe Hawthorne (Hudson), Rafe Lewis (Walsh Jesuit), Joe O'Brien (St Ignatius), and Jack Bradfield (St. Edward). Bradfield converted all five tries for a personal haul of 15.
The second game was much closer, as the Elite held off EIRA Midwest 31-29. Hawthorne scored two for the Elite, while the St. Edward trio of Mo Hamed, Charlie Green, and Bradfield all touched down for EIRA, with Bradfield adding three conversions, including the one that nudged his team ahead. EIRA actually led 22-0 at halftime before the Celtic team stormed back, with Bradfield's try with no time left tying the game 29-29 and his conversion finishing off the comeback victory.
"We came out slow to start the first half but we didn't let the scoreboard discourage us," Bradfield said. "Coach [Tom Cleary] said if they scored 22 in the first half, we can score more than that in the second half, and that is exactly what we did. The game was never out of reach."
This was a good, competitive event for the teams involved, especially since they will go their separate ways for the major Regional Cup Tournaments in the next couple of weeks. Celtic Elite will play in the Northeast RCT in New Jersey next weekend. The Indiana Hawks will play in the Midwest RCT in Fishers, IN, on June 24-25. And the EIRA Midwest team will play in the Rocky Mountain Challenge in Aurora, CO, this coming weekend. The RMC will be live-streamed by FloRugby.
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