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The DIII men’s club playoff field is taking shape with two weeks to go until nationals. There are some familiar teams and some new faces battling it out for the DIII national title.
The national tournament is made up of eight teams from the various geographic unions across the country. (see the picture above to see how the eight spots are made up). Like past years, the field will be divided into regional spots, Tuscon, Ariz., and Pittsburgh, Penn.
Heading to the Pittsburgh regional will be the winners of the Atlantic North, Mid-Atlantic, Southern and Midwest. Most of the regions are still finishing up their playoffs but here is what we know so far:
The Atlantic North is made up of the New England Rugby Football Union (NERFU) and the Empire Union (mostly the Tri State area of New York, New jersey, Connecticut).
Playoffs have been completed in each of these unions with defending DIII national champions, the Fairfield Yankees, steamrolling their way through the Empire and Saratoga winning NERFU. The teams will meet on May 6, to determine who heads to nationals.
The Mid-Atlantic is made up of Eastern Pennsylvania/southern Jersey, and the Maryland, DC, Virginia area. The playoffs are down to the final two teams, Lehigh Valley and James River.
Lehigh Valley is undefeated, having knocked off Western Suburbs and Blackthorn while James River comes into the match with one loss and after beating a previously undefeated North Bay in the semifinals. These two will meet May 6.
The southern region is one of the largest qualifier groups. The region is made of geographic unions ranging from the Carolinas to Alabama.
The playoffs are down to four teams and are set for May 6-7. The teams will play on back-to-back days with the winner heading to Pittsburgh. Southern Pines will play Montgomery and the Atlanta Renegades will battle Gainesville.
The Midwest is another region that is made up of a number of geographic unions. Western PA, Michigan, Iowa Indiana and Illinois all comprise the Midwest.
The playoffs are down to two teams after a weekend of back-to-backs. Bremer County is one win away from returning to the top eight. Standing in its way will be Toledo. The squads will meet next week in Chicago.
The western regional will be comprised of the Pacific North, Pacific South, Frontier and Red River. Here is how things have shaken out so far:
The Pacific North is made of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest (which contains Oregon and Washington).
The Eugene Stags won the Pacific Northwest with a 44-16 win over the Battleground Bulldogs. They will take on Chico Oaks of NorCal, who is looking for its first trip to the final eight since 2002, for a spot at nationals.
This region is made up of southern California, Arizona and New Mexico. This group is down to its final two teams with the Santa Fe Santos battling the Orange County Ravens for a ticket to nationals.
This region includes Mid-America (Kansas and Missouri), and the Rocky Mountains. Four teams were supposed to battle it out over two days to anoint a team to nationals this weekend.
However, nasty weather prevented anybody playing on Saturday. The union elected to have all three-division winners move on to Sunday, with second and third seeded teams, the Denver Highlanders and the Wichita Barbarians, respectively, playing for the right to take on top seeded St. Louis Royals next week, Wichita won the match and will travel to St. Louis next week.
The Red River includes all of Texas and Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. The playoffs are down to four teams and will feature a back-to-back playoff this weekend with Shreveport taking on top seeded Houston Lonestars and San Marcos playing H.U.R.T.