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The club 7s circuit had only two tournaments on the docket this weekend. The newly minted Eastern and Western qualifiers, with the winners getting automatic spots to nationals, took place with Dallas taking the eastern tournament and Belmont Shore taking home the western bid.
In Leesburg, Va, eight teams were divided into two pools. In Pool A the Chicago Lions, Schuykill River Exlies, Optimus and Pittsburgh Pandas did battle, while in Pool B, Dallas the Beltway Elite, Nova and Rocky George squared off.
After pool play, the Exiles and the Chicago Lions emerged as the top two respectively while Dallas topped Pool B with Rocky Gorge was runner Dallas cruised over Chicago but the other semifinal was a bit heated and controversial. There was a discrepancy about the number of subs Gorge used but in the end the talented 15s team edged out their local rivals for shot in the finals.
At the end of the day, the semifinal did not really matter. Dallas ran away with the final 26-5, putting an explanation point on the weekend. This means Dallas will not have to qualify through the Red River as in years past, opening a potential spot for another team from the area.
The Western tournament was a two day affair. There were eight teams on Treasure Island which were divided into two groups. Unlike the Eastern tournament, the format for the west was different. All eight teams made the cup playoffs with the top team in Pool A taking on the last place finisher in Pool B.
Life West and Belmont Shore both topped their respective groups and made mince meet of the competition in route to the finals. In the end, Belmont Shore outlasted Life West 14-12 to take home the automatic spot.
With one tournament left in the Pacific South this opens up a path for OMBAC and Santa Monica. The region gets two spots, and after Belmont Shore captured the first tournament, it looked like OMBAC and Santa Monica would be battling for one spot. Now, Belmont Shore may choose to forego the tournament and have the other two teams take those spots. It is unclear whether a Belmont Shore top two finish would automatically give the third place finisher the second qualifier spot in the region.