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Principia University sped by UW-Stout 27-12 to win the first Men’s DII college 7s championship Sunday in Greensboro, NC.
Principia and Stout were easily the class of the competition. Principia lost a pool game, but it was a game they didn’t need to win to make the cup round. Stout was undefeated and hardly challenged coming into the final. But at the same time, Stout players said they prided themselves on their defense, and they found themselves repeatedly giving up tries they weren’t used to conceding.
Principia, a tiny college of under 500 in Elsah, Illinois, fielded an athletic team (their football team was discontinued at the end of 2009) coached by former Middlebury head man Ward Patterson. While Patterson molded the squad into rugby players, he freely acknowledged he wasn’t an expert in 7s, and often deferred to two of his players – Trevor Marunde and Naveed Hosseinmardi.
Marunde and Hosseinmardi played rugby with the Azul y Negro program in Texas, accompanying the team to the USA 7s Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas.
“Naveed got me to go there,” said Marunde. “They needed a flyhalf in Vegas, and we made the semifinals, and then they invited me out for the rest of the year. Ward specializes in 15s and he wanted our input in 7s, but we’re one program.”
Patterson pointedly credited both Marunde and Hosseinmardi for the work they did with the Principia 7s team. Without them, he said, there would be no Principia 7s.
In the final on Sunday, Principia’s speed undid Stout’s power game. Jordan Anderson completed his MVP performance with two tries and several more big runs. Marunde also touched down twice to put the Thunder Chickens up 22-0 before the Wisconsin team could get over the line.
This they did through Stetson Smith and Adam Fagerstrom. But Principia kept working the ball and capped off the 20-minute final with a try from Jake Milner.
It was an impressive performance in a division that boasted some solid teams. But it was also clear that the Thunder Chickens and Blue Devils were the best two teams.
All DII Scores
James Madison 7-24 Lafayette College
Principia 47-5 Emory
Sonoma State 24-10 Elon
New Hampshire 12-19 UW Stout
James Madison 5-10 Emory
Principia 38-12 Lafayette College
Sonoma State 19-28 UW Stout
New Hampshire 17-5 Elon
Emory 10-26 Lafayette College
UW Stout 24-7 Elon
James Madison 12-10 Principia
Sonoma State 19-19 New Hampshire
Emory 0-28 Elon
Principia 19-5 Sonoma State
UW Stout 24-15 Lafayette College
New Hampshire 21-15 James Madison
Emory 12-14 James Madison
Elon 14-24 New Hampshire
Sonoma State 41-0 Lafayette College
Principia 27-12 UW Stout
3. Sonoma State
5. New Hampshire
7. James Madison