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CHESTER, Pa. — In their first appearance at the CRC, the Utah Cannibals — a select side comprised of players from various high schools in Utah — won the girls high school title at the 2017 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship with a 22-5 victory over the NJ Blaze at Talen Energy Stadium Sunday.
“Yesterday, we saw (the NJ Blaze) play against Summit,” Utah’s Addie Horsley said. “Summit didn’t play hard defense, gave them a lot of space. We decided go up 10 meters instead of chasing them back. Play hard defense and when we got the ball, just run the system.”
Malvern Prep secured the boys open bracket championship with a win over La Salle, which was played inside the stadium just before the girls final on Sunday morning. In the boys elite division, the DMV squad beat the Utah Cannibals boys team, 26-14.
The N.J. Blaze are previous winners of the CRC, but fell in last year’s final to West End.
“For a lot of the girls, it’s new to them,” Utah’s Kat Stowers said of playing inside Talen Energy Stadium. “We’ve never played in a stadium. We’ve never gone through a tunnel. It was nerve-wracking to a lot of them. Once we got the first tackle going, that’s when we started to play our game.”
The Utah Cannibals are a select-side team comprised of rugby players from primarily Utah Valley high schools. The Cannibals' boys side has previously attended the CRC and also traveled abroad to compete.
“We have 7s in the fall and so then we can select from that,” Utah coach Matt Kanenwisher said. “That team sort of stays together through Vegas and this tournament. And then we try to do some tournaments in the summer as well.”