The men of the Mount St. Mary’s Rugby Football Club became national champions on May 1, 2016, with a 26-19 victory over the Claremont Colleges at the National Small College Rugby Organization’s (NSCRO) National Championship Final in Glendale, Colorado.
The national championship victory was the culmination of a duo of closely contested matches played by the men’s rugby team. A massive 56-5 win over Duke University placed Mount St. Mary’s University in the semifinals of the national championship, where the men’s rugby team proceeded to beat the University of Southern Indiana and the Claremont Colleges to secure the title of national champions.
Mount St. Mary’s University’s run for the national championship began after defeating the University of North Florida and Duke University in the Region 2 championship. The men of the Mount crushed both teams, outscoring their opponents 139-10. As the Region 2 champions, Mount St. Mary’s University advanced to the semifinals of the national championship.
While the Mount easily pummeled their opposition in the regional championship, the two teams they faced in the final four proved to be considerably more tenacious. In addition to the formidable opposing teams, the men of the Mount were also forced to struggle against inclement weather during their semifinals and finals matches, both of which were held at Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado—also known as Rugbytown, USA.
Mount St. Mary’s University’s first match was played on April 30 against the University of Southern Indiana. Throughout the match, both teams struggled with the weather conditions on the pitch, which continuously shifted between snow, rain, and wintry mix.
The Mount took an early lead, thanks to senior Travis Bewley, who scored two tries in the first twenty minutes of the match. Mount St. Mary’s University held a 17-point lead for much of the first half, but University of Southern Indiana reentered the competition late in the first half by scoring their own set of 17-unanswered points. The two teams traded points throughout the rest of the match, but Mount St. Mary’s came out on top, thanks to a late penalty goal by graduate student Tito Miranda. The final score was 25-24.
With the victory over University of Southern Indiana, Mount St. Mary’s advanced to the national championship final against the Claremont Colleges, who had beaten Eastern Connecticut State University 14-7 to secure their own spot in the final match.
Claremont took an early lead only three minutes into the final match with a try and conversion to make the score 7-0. The men of the Mount quickly responded with a penalty goal in the eighth minute, followed by a try by freshman Luis Turbyfield to make the score 10-7. The Mount maintained the lead for the remainder of the match, a last-minute try by sophomore Jack Spera closing out the 26-19 victory.
With the victory over the Claremont Colleges, Mount St. Mary’s University secured their first national championship title after their third straight appearance at the final four in Rugbytown. In addition, Mount senior Travis Bewley was selected as the MVP for the tournament.
Over two hundred students, faculty members, and alumni of Mount St. Mary’s University traveled to Glendale for the tournament, and the rest of the university community celebrated the team’s success upon their return to campus. The university’s acting president, Karl Einolf, congratulated the team on their victory.
“Congratulations for a hard-fought and well-deserved victory,” said Einolf. “Winning the national championship title is a testament to your dedication to excellence, and we applaud your accomplishment.”
As the NSCRO national champions, the men of Mount St. Mary’s University’s rugby team were invited to take part in the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 4-5, 2016. The annual tournament showcases the best collegiate teams in rugby, and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports.
Members of the Mount St. Mary’s Rugby Club are shown celebrating their national championship success. The victory capped off a first-place season and put the Mount at the top of the NSCRO Men’s Top 50 teams.