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The summer 7s season got underway this month across the country. USA Rugby tweaked the qualification process this year to give more competitive regions additional spots for qualification. Some regions will earn two or three automatic bids and this year there is a newly established Eastern and Western Open tournaments that will see the winner get an automatic spot to Nationals.
The Southern Conference only gets one spot to nationals and the Atlanta Old White have already captured the spot. The region only had two tournaments and they occurred on June 9 and June 16, with Old White taking home the title. They are currently the only team to punch their ticket.
The Mid-Atlantic kicked off last weekend with traditional 7s powerhouse Schuylkill River taking home the title. This region still has a long way to go, however, with three tournaments left for the next few weeks. Only one team qualifies out of this union.
The historically strong Northeast gets three spots to nationals. Old Blue, Mystic River, NYAC and the Bulldogs will be fighting for these spots. Old Blue won the first bout in Danbury with Mystic and NYAC finishing second and third respectively. This region also has three tournaments left to play.
Sevens powerhouse Belmont Shore took home the first of three qualifiers out west. With two teams getting berths to Nationals, Belmont Shore, Santa Monica and several other clubs will be vying for those spots.
The Frontier will get under way this weekend in Denver. Defending champs Utah, Denver Barbarians, Kansas City Blues, Glendale and others will compete for three automatic spots on the final weekend.
The Midwest will receive two automatic offers to nationals and will begin play this weekend in Chicago. The Lions, Metropolis and Detroit Tradesmen are the favorites in this region.
The Pacific North has the most tournaments on the docket with five scheduled and is set to begin this weekend in San Jose. This region will get one spot and is comprised of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest.
The Red River will get one spot at the championships. The winner will be determined over three tournaments starting with the Bloodfest 7s this weekend. Look for the Dallas, Austin, or NOLA to come out of the union.