Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cleveland Rugby Academy Headed to Nationals

The Cleveland Rugby Academy recently qualified for a spot in the national tournament  for sevens after taking second place at The Midwest Championships, booting out a Metropolis side thought to have been a shoo-in this year.

During the Midwest Championship, the CRA finished 2-0-1 In Pool Play, handing Metropolis  their only loss of the season by a score of 12-5. The Academy tied the Chicago Blaze following that upset and soundly defeated the Rovers 31-7. Next on the docket was the Cincinnati Wolfhounds, hosts of the tournament. Cincinnati had always been a tough team on the circuit and wouldn't just roll over. When all was said and done, the CRA handed the Wolfhounds a 22-12 loss and moved on to the next round. Meanwhile, Metropolis rebounded to defeat the Chicago Lions in the other semi-final, which set the stage for a rematch and the match of the season to that point. Unfortunately, Metropolis was able to make the most of its second chance and defeated the CRA to claim the championship.

The team will head to Nationals at Columbia University in New York City. Match details and live stream details can be found on the Cleveland Rugby Academy Facebook page when available.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ohio Representative Sides Run Riot on Regional Competition

As April creeps to an end, the rugby community finds itself smack in he middle of the Midwest's grand experiment. As the Select sides rest up for the final round of the competition, one thing is abundantly clear. Ohio has the upper hand in the Midwest, so far.

The Midwest revived the regional Select Side competition in an effort to create top-tier competition between the LAUs and crown a champion in its men's and women's divisions. After the tryouts and coach appointments took place, the match dates were set out so the teams could face off against one another.

When this tournament was in its idea phase, perhaps the brain-trust behind it envisioned a slew of tightly-contested matches that went down to the final whistle. What it got, at least on the East side of the region, were some blow-out matches that saw the Ohio sides handing out beatings to its opposition. The women kicked off the slate of weekends with a sweep of the Allegheny and Michigan unions, respectively. The ladies from the Buckeye State only gave up ten points en route to their successful opening weekend. The final scores saw them best the Allegheny women, 29-10, and blank the Michigan women, 39-0. The second weekend of the series put the men center stage in the state's capitol. If the women were solid in their play, the men were nothing short of dominant. Suffice to say, the men put up over one hundred sixty points and only yielded three. That breaks down to a 78-0 routing of the Allegheny Union and an equally impressive 84-3 victory over the Michigan Union.

It all comes to a head in the Midwest Mecca - Chicago, Illinois - on May 5. When the weekend comes to a close two Midwest Championships will be handed out; and, by the looks of it, the Ohio sides seem to be favorites to bring back the hardware.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Select Side Tournament Venues Announced

Recently, the Midwest Territorial Union and Midwest Competitive Region announced the formation of select sides to represent various regions and states. Ahead of the kick-off of the competition, news came down laying out when and where the opening matches would take place.

There will be teams formed from the Allegheny, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Chicago Area, Michigan and Minnesota Unions. A special President's Selects will be formed to help round out the women's side of the bracket. Once the best 28 players have been placed on their respective teams, they will prepare and then converge on their respective venues.

Since teams will be traveling from all around the region, two match locations have been selected for each round to best account for these travel requirements.

For the women, the Conference Round of matches will happen on the weekend of April 14-15. The Eastern Conference teams - Allegheny, Indiana, Ohio, President’s Selects East - will face off at Bailey Park (2289 Knapp Avenue) in Youngstown, Ohio. For this weekend, the Allegheny Union will act as host. The Western Conference teams - Wisconsin, CARFU, Minnesota, President’s Selects West - will take the field at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex (4064 Vilas Road)  in Cottage Grove, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin will play host during this leg of the competition.

The men will play the following weekend, April 21-22. The Eastern Conference sides - Allegheny, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio - will compete at the Fortress Obetz (1841 Williams Road) in Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio side will play host to this opening round of matches. The Wisconsin Union will host the Western Conference men's teams -  CARFU, Iowa and Minnesota - at the Wisconsin Rugby Sports Complex as well.

The first round of matches will be determined by lottery drawing. Once that process is completed, a schedule will be sent out the week before to the competition commences. These matches will happen on Saturday, while the second round will happen on Sunday. These matches will pit the two winners from Saturday against one another; and the two losers will play one another as well. Once the Conference Round is completed, sides will be placed into cup, plate, bowl and shield finals. The competition will conclude at the Chicago Blaze's facility on May 5.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Canton Continues Elite Coaching Tradition

Every old dog needs to learn some new tricks now and then. The Canton Maddogs are taking active steps to expose high school players to different styles of and philosophies on play. In February, Canton Area High School Rugby will hold the third iteration of its Indoor Elite-Level Guest Coach Series.

Throughout the month of February, the men's team will welcome some accomplished and diverse rugby minds to come and impart some knowledge on the club's members. In the past, coaches like Brandon Sparks, from the University of Michigan; Mike Hidgins, from the University of Buffalo, and players from Notre Dame College led clinics for coaches as well as players involved with Canton's club. These men took the time to spread the knowledge they have because they know the importance of supporting up-and-coming clubs.

"These coaches understand that USA Rugby is almost entirely a grassroots community," said Chad Everitt, the event's organizer. "They have committed countless hours to the sport and to developing young men and women as the young players grow into adult roles."

This year's slate of guest coaches certainly have the pedigree necessary to continue that trend.The 2018 docket includes Jason Fox, Donnie Harbert and Stoney Brooks. Fox and Brooks have their roots in the realm of coaching collegiate men's rugby, while Harbert has foud success on the senior level in the men's and women's leagues. Though their experiences are diverse, what unites them is the time each has dedicated to honing the craft of coaching and bringing the best out of each player.

"We greatly appreciate their time and efforts," Everitt said. "These coaches are leaders, who I gladly invite to work with the student-athletes I coach. They are examples of what an American-born rugby player can become with dedication and hard work."

The sessions are open to everyone from the Canton rugby community - youth to senior, player and coach alike. Fox's session is tentatively set to kick off this year's sessions on February 11, followed by Harbert on February 18 and Brooks on February 25. All sessions will be held at the Hall of Fame Fitness Center. Times may vary. For details, head over to the Canton Area High School Rugby Facebook page.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Findlay Rugby Hosts Introductory Rugby Referee Class

The University of Findlay is working with the city's rugby community to provide an educational opportunity on its campus. On March 4, 2018, the university will host a referee course for anyone looking to get certified in time for spring rugby.

The university, in conjunction with its women's rugby team and the SCARS RFC, will host a Level 1 clinic for aspiring referees. Everything kicks off bright and early at 8:00am.

A portion of the class will take place in the classroom, but the  bulk of the day will be spent in the gym or on the pitch. Those that attend will role-play during the practical sessions, so participants should prepare for physical activity. Active clothing an weather-appropriate attire is recommended, as well as footwear for gym and field use.

Those interested in attending should register ahead of time. Registration involves registering with World Rugby an then completing the online modules provided. After each module is completed, download the certificate send it off to USA Rugby. The modules are the Law Exam, the Rugby Ready program and Concussion Management.

The deadline to complete these steps is February 28, 2018.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Registration Open for 2018 North Coast Rugby Festival

Spring carries various meanings for different people. It signals the time for certain traditions and ceremonies to take place. In Northeast Ohio, one such springtime tradition is the North Coast Rugby Festival.

This year's event is on March 24, 2018 at Mentor High School (6477 Center Street Mentor, Ohio). The competition is open to any varsity, JV and freshman high school teams that want to attend. The event routinely attracts teams from all over the Cleveland area and beyond. Even though entries are still being gathered, this year should be no different.

This year's tournament will be an all-day affair. Teams will take over  the MHS football field starting at 9:00am and go through 4:00pm. During this time each team will take part in two matches.  

Teams interested in in participating are being asked to register now. Team entry fees are $250, with a discount for teams that can provide a referee. All domestic teams must be registered with USA Rugby; and international sides need to have a tour sanctioning certificate.

Entry fees and RSVP can be sent to John Hummel at: 7394 South Chestnut Commons Mentor, Ohio 44060. Checks can be made out to a Mentor Rugby.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Midwest Opens Opportunities with Ohio Elite Teams

The Midwest Rugby Football Union is bringing elite-level rugby opportunities to the Buckeye State. A new competition set for the upcoming Spring will pit men and women from Ohio against representatives from other states and, potentially, put them on a course for higher-level competition.

There will be two squads coming out of Ohio for the slate of Spring matches, the Ohio Men's and Women's Elite teams. Rosters will be filled after four tryouts are held in March and April. Each tryout will take place on a Sunday and be held in different locations throughout the state. The two earlier dates will be on March 18 and 25, while the later sessions will be on April 8 and 15. While the dates have been established, locations are still being finalized.

Men's and women's teams will compete in two rounds of matches: Conference Rounds and Championship Rounds. The women will complete their conference play on April 14 and 15, while the men will play on April 21 and 22. On May 5 and 6 everyone will come together for the championship deciders. Venues for matches are still being sought out by MWRFU representatives. Players selected for the Ohio teams will face competition from the Allegheny, Chicago Area, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin unions. Details regarding format of play, participation guidelines and locations are being hammered out as well.

Those who participate on the Ohio teams will do more than just travel the beautiful Midwestern landscape and play a few weekends. Participants on these sides will be evaluated for slots on the Thunderbirds Select sides as well.

Stay tuned to the MWRFU Facebook page for details as they arise.