Schuylkill River's automatic qualification to nationals means they can coast at Blue Ball 7s, but the rest of the field goes back to work for the Mid-Atlantic bid to nationals.
After coming fifth at the Rites of Summer qualifier in Baltimore, Schuylkill River pulled off the last-minute victory over Old Blue to win the Eastern super qualifier in their hometown Philadelphia.
Schuylkill: Locked In
Winning the Eastern Super Qualifier is a luxury because now all the pressure of winning qualifiers is off Schuylkill’s shoulders. They can take advantage of those early ticket prices on flights to club 7s nationals in Kansas City.
Schuylkill can try new combinations and new moves without fear of losing.
Most importantly, they can rest players. They don’t have to burn veteran players out in long tournaments. Instead, Schuylkill can put more time into developing depth and solidifying the bottom of the roster.
Beltway: The Team To Beat
Beltway won the MAC in 2018 and they again sit atop the MAC standings.
Last year Beltway lost to Schuylkill in the final of Blue Ball 7s, but NAV could be the team that’s going to give Beltway the most trouble at the qualifiers. The two teams tied in pool play of Rites of Summer before Beltway won 15-12 in the final.
Dmontae Noble will not play this weekend as he is off with the Eagles preparing for the Pan-Am games. Dave Hightower will have to hold down the edge if Beltway is to hold onto the top spot in the MAC.
NAV: The New Kids On The Block
The new kids on the block were a bit disappointed after not being allowed to compete in the super qualifier bracket at Philly 7s. USA Rugby rules disallow teams that are less than three years old from competing for a chance at automatic qualification.
NAV competed in the open bracket and skunked every team in their way. In four matches they put up 162 points with only one try scored against them.
NAV was disappointed in not being allowed to compete against the best in the east, so they’ll have something to prove at Blue Ball 7s.
Washington RFC: The Dark Horse
No one really saw Washington coming until they upset the Dallas Reds at the Eastern Superqualifier. Don’t forget, the Reds won the super qualifier last year and beat Schuylkill, the eventual champion, earlier in the day.
Washington went as far as the semifinals before losing to Old Blue.
With the MAC getting another bid, Washington is a team that could sneak into nationals relatively unknown. More likely, they’ll beat NAV or Beltway and ruin some dreams.
Nobody can stop Scion.
The Woos went down to Cape Fear to take on some of the best teams in the country as a preliminary test for nationals. Unfortunately, there are no super qualifiers in the women’s game; but if there was Scion would win it.
Scion destroyed the Atlanta Harlequins 31-0 in the quarterfinals. The Harlequins are a perennial power that runs through the southern competition every year.
31-0 in 14 minutes isn’t just a win, it’s a bludgeoning.
Then Scion ran through both ARPTC teams on the way to hoisting the Cape Fear trophy. The Woos shutout ARPTC 1 in the final.
Scion lost in the final last year and their dominance in Cape Fear has boosted them to the number one spot in the Club 7s rankings.
DC Furies & NOVA
The Furies lost to Scion in the finals at Philly 7s two weeks ago, but they’ve played them the toughest of any other team so far.
NOVA doesn’t stand a chance. At Cape Fear, Scion beat NOVA 36-0 allowing KiKi Morgan to score five tries.