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The Claremont Colleges captured the NSCRO powered by Penn Mutual 7s national title held in conjunction with the Penn Mutual CRC. The Lions won their pool and ended up defeating Salve Regina 17-0 in the final to win their first ever 7s title.
The Lions took down the New Mexico Highlands, Susquehanna, and Salve Regina in pool play to take the top seed in Pool A. Claremont met the defending champions, Christendom College in the semis and dispatched the Crusaders 17-12 to reach the finals.
In pool B Iowa Central took care of business, going 2-0-1 in pool play. The Tritons were the tournament favors coming in and looked it on day one. Their only blemish was a tie against Christendom. The tie gave Christendom enough points to reach the cup quarterfinals.
The Tritons ran into disciplinary issues in the semis. Three yellow cards saw the Iowa school down to four players and Salve Regina came back from a 12-5 halftime deficit to win 15-12 and reach the finals.
Defense was paramount against Salve Regina. After defeating the Rhode Island school 17-5 on day one, the Lions were able to do one better and blank Salve 17-0 in the final.
A bigger side, Salve Regina tried to clog the middle. Claremont tried and succeeded in taking them out on the edge early on in the game to go up early. Connor Pederson was named the MVP of the final.
“We felt that if we stuck to the pattern and stayed with the system we could control the game. We controlled it to a shutout so that turned out to be the case,” said Director of Rugby Jeremy Ognall.
The Claremont Colleges have had a history of success in rugby but a 7s title had always eluded them. The Lions put more of a focus on 7s this year and the results paid dividends.
“After having such a successful 15s programs, we really took 7s more seriously this year. It was a fantastic weekend for us. We came in with a goal and delivered on that goal. I could not be prouder of the guys,” an exuberant Ognall told Rugby Today.
The Claremont Colleges are no strangers to national championships. However, this one, played in front a large crowd, in Talen Energy Stadium was special.
“This is something you look forward to all year. When it finally comes it is surreal. This is a moment that we will remember the rest of our lives,” Pederson said of the weekend.