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Indiana claimed the Big Ten 7s Championship and nabbed a bid to the Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship Saturday in Champaign, Ill., going undefeated on the day in dominant fashion. It was the Hoosiers’ third tournament win in as many tries this spring – they won a Big Ten Series event in Ann Arbor, Mich. and Atlantic Coast Series competition in South Bend, Ind., too.
Wisconsin won its pool Saturday, and Purdue and Michigan finished second in pool play. The Hoosiers blanked Michigan, 19-0, in one semifinal, and the Badgers needed overtime to dispatch of Purdue in the other.
Like it had done all day (the Hoosiers’ closest game of the day was that shutout in the semis) Indiana dominated the final. IU achieved a 33-0 halftime lead and tacked on another try before Wisconsin got on the board to prevent a shutout in the 38-7 decision.
The tournament win sends the Hoosiers back to the CRC for the first time since the inaugural event back in 2010. At PPL Park in Philadelphia, Indiana will run up against tougher teams than it’s seen so far this spring.
“We know that the CRC is going to be another level of competition, and we have got get up to that level,” said IU coach Sopa Enari. “I know we can be competitive. It will be a very good experience for the boys, and they’re looking forward to the competition.”
Indiana’s superior athleticism helped secure the conference title on the weekend, with brothers Campbell – Bryce and Jake, Jake Garwood and Jonathan Enari leading the way.
It’s been some time since Indiana has been in a postseason competition, with the program turning down some playoff offerings and being banned from others for eligibility violations in recent years.
“They said they wanted to have their rugby career at IU to mean something, so here it is,” said Enari of his seniors. “It was their last chance, whether they want it or not, and if they don’t that will be something they live with. If they do, then it will be a flag that they can wave.”