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The Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championship qualifier division is back at the Las Vegas Invitational for another year. In February Arkansas State emerged from a field of 24 teams to win the CRC bracket, and the Red Wolves made it all the way to the Cup Quarterfinals at the main event in May.
The CRC qualifier is annually the most exciting division of the LVI, and save the CRC proper, it's arguably the best college 7s tournament in the country every year. The 2015 field combined for 25 tournament titles last season, meaning over half of the men’s DI college 7s trophies won in 2014/2015 were done so by someone who competed in Las Vegas. Lindenwood, winner of USA Rugby’s 7s title, finished fifth at the LVI.
In addition to top-notch competition, the CRC qualifier bracket provides an incredible amount of exposure. The LVI is both the largest tournament in the country every year and the largest high school tournament, providing programs a chance to showcase themselves to prospective recruits.
The atmosphere of the final is alone worth the price of admission. The CRC qualifier final is played mid-day Saturday amidst the HSBC Sevens World Series in front of an incredible crowd. Last year, over 34,000 watched Arkansas State edge American International College in the final. In 2012, over 30,000 saw Life knock off Utah. Those two crowds are the largest on record to ever watch a college rugby match live, 7s or 15s.
Registration for the 2015 Las Vegas Invitational is now open. The CRC qualifier bracket will run from Thursday March 3 through Saturday March 5.