Twenty players from the AIC men’s and women’s teams attended a weekend training camp hosted by Serevi in partnership with USA Rugby. Training sessions were led by US national team coaches Matt Hawkins, Ric Suggitt, Richie Walker and Justin Fitzpatrick, along with current USA Eagle and Serevi coach Emilie Bydwell. AIC’s own Coach Macy was able to help out and coach three sessions as well.
The USA Rugby High Performance Training Camps series emphasizes skill development, situational awareness, the ability to play creatively, manipulate defenders and exploit and preserve space, all while providing opportunities for high-potential crossover athletes new to rugby.
While skill development was on offer for all participants, the camps also serve as a talent identification vehicle for both men’s and women’s national team programs. “We’ll be looking for athletes with an appropriate mix of skill, athleticism and potential to invite to train in an immersive, high-performance environment during our summer residence camps,” said Ric Suggitt, Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s National 7s Team. “As we build towards the 2016 Olympics, these camps will be the foundation of finding and developing the next generation of women’s and men’s Eagles.”
In rugbymag.com’s latest women’s collegiate rankings, the American International College Yellow Jackets, led by head coach Mel Denham, sit in the national top four. In their first season in Division I, AIC enjoyed wins over Vermont, Quinnipiac, New Hampshire, Boston University, Rhode Island, and Brown. The team also played Army and Norwich down to the wire and went deep into the playoffs.
RugbyMag’s Top Five D1 Women’s Rankings
1. Penn State
4. American International College
5. Northern Iowa
With a young team, school support, and solid coaching, the Yellow Jackets are looking forward to more growth this spring as they continue to build a team to be proud of.
After a leisurely twelve hour drive, the men’s team was itching for some on field action to follow up winning the plate championship at the Las Vegas Invitational. The pool draw for the tournament was a difficult one, with North Carolina State, North Carolina, and Kutztown University standing in the way of a cup victory. After a strong start, the team was undone by two losses at the final whistle. Lessons abound in the fourth place finish and will surely push the Yellow Jackets forward as they head into the East Coast Rugby Conference Sevens Series.
In the first game of the day, the Yellow Jackets took on NC State. Deshae Edwards scored AIC’s first points of the day by finishing a strong three phase possession from the kick off. The Wolfpack found some wiggle room as AIC worked out the kinks in its defense, but the pressure from Yellow Jacket speedsters Ben Roach and Christian Adams were just too much.
Up next, AIC took on the Tar Heels of North Carolina. Scrum half Kurt Werner was all over the pitch and put several team mates through for tries. In addition, the team was bolstered from some crunching defensive play from senior Mike Martinez. The team enjoyed contributions from all twelve players and strode comfortably to a second win.
In what was billed in the match of the tournament, AIC took on Kutztown in their final pool match. It was a physical game, so much so that the ref spoke to the captains early on but managed it well. KU scored an early try, but struggled to find any space thereafter. It was no easy road for the Yellow Jackets though, as it took until the second half for Christian Adams to get the team onto the board. Kurt Werner quickly added one of his own and the Yellow Jackets were in control heading into the final minutes. Just after, in a puzzling passage of play, the referee brought back a clear AIC score from a stolen kick off as he deemed himself in the way. From the ensuing scrum, the Golden Bears scooped up an errant pass from the scrum and scored the game winning try. The Yellow Jackets were clearly deflated.
In the tournament’s bronze match, the Yellow Jackets took on conference mates Northeastern University. AIC enjoyed an early lead, but struggled to maintain possession in the final stages and suffered consecutive losses at the final whistle.
While the team’s finish was underwhelming, there was much to take away. AIC welcomed three new players into the sevens team, showed itself to be a powerful scoring threat from nearly anywhere on the field, and set a clear benchmark to move forward from this semester.
The team’s next sevens competition will be its first ever at home. AIC will welcome sixteen teams into the Armory Collegiate Sevens, the first date in the ECRC Sevens Series.
, Ben Roach, Kurtis Werner
Tries: Christian Adams (4), Deshae Edwards (3), Benjamin Roach (4), Kurtis Werner
Conversions: Christian Adams, Bryce Neff, Benjamin Roach (8)
North Carolina State (W 28-20), North Carolina (W 19-5), Kutztown (L 14-19), Northeastern (L 19-22)
In a thrilling end to their 2,500 mile journey, the men’s team won a tense match over the University of Texas to bring home the plate championship at the Las Vegas Invitational this past weekend.
The Las Vegas Invitational is one of the largest rugby tournaments in the country, seeing over 200 teams compete a year in multiple divisions. The collegiate sevens division was packed with big names and quality competition like Oklahoma, Texas, St. Joseph’s, Stony Brook, British Columbia, Notre Dame and others. In all, the college tournament hosted twenty four teams this year.
The Yellow Jackets found themselves matched up against Oklahoma to start competition. After a back and forth start, the Sooners were stunned by long strikes from the Yellow Jackets, AIC, still fighting off a bit of nerves, took a 24-12 victory to open the day.
The University of British Columbia, a long time powerhouse in Canadian rugby, gave AIC its first defeat of the day. UBC was nearly flawless and AIC struggled to find form, opportunity, or structure. AIC would drop this game 0-26 to the eventual tournament champions. The Yellow Jackets ended pool play 1-1 heading into the plate quarterfinals.
That next morning, because of a tight point differential, Oklahoma once again stepped up to bat against the Yellow Jackets. This game, however, was much tighter. The lead changed hands several times and, in sudden death overtime, Christian Adams scored from distance to advance the team to the semi-finals.
A feisty Georgetown team was up next and, with fatigue starting to take its toll, the team was looking for contributions from players more seldom used. The Hoyas fought until the final whistle, but the support and athleticism of AIC saw them through to the plate final against Texas.
In their last game of the tournament, AIC started strong with another long range try from Christian Adams. The Longhorns, however, quickly tied the game with their own. The game was mostly played on the Texas end of the field, and both teams were committing themselves to defense with some tight alignments and big hits. The Yellow Jackets seemed to find their second wind late and were able to lock down some solid pattern play. Junior Deshae Edwards, a Las Vegas native, played a great game without scoring a try. His defense won the ball for AIC several times, and his ball handling led to Adrian Ray getting over the line twice and clinching the game.
After the game, the Yellow Jackets’ supporters (made up of of family, friends, and a few other teams) welcomed them off the field and congratulated them on the big win. Once the competition was over, the players soaked up all the experience they could. They were able to visit with friends and family who had come to watch, attend the USA Sevens at Sam Boyd Stadium, sight see in Las Vegas, and found time to volunteer at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. In addition three players (Roach, Jackson, Adams) were featured on the Northeast Olympic Development Academy‘s two teams enrolled in the men’s elite division of the tournament. It was truly a well rounded and successful trip.
University of Oklahoma (W24-12), University of British Columbia (L0-26), University of Oklahoma (W19-14), Georgetown University (W33-19), University of Texas (W15-5)
Confused on the structure of sevens rugby? Read up on it here.
The men’s rugby team will mainly be focused on the abbreviated form of the game this spring, playing in six tournaments while hoping to qualify for the American Collegiate Rugby Championship Sevens in May. New for this year as well, the East Coast Rugby Conference will be hosting a series of tournaments to declare a conference champion rather than the one-off tournament the team participated in last year. In yet another first, AIC will be hosting its own tournament, Armory Collegiate Sevens, on the 29th of March. Despite all of the sevens, the Yellow Jackets will spend some time to play some of their collegiate neighbors in some fifteens matches geared toward development.
|1/24||Thu||Las Vegas Invitational 7′s||Las Vegas, NV||3 Day|
|2/22||Sat||Atlantic Coast Rugby 7′s||Raleigh, NC||All Day|
|3/26||Wed||Western New England||Home||600pm|
|3/29||Sat||Armory Collegiate 7′s*||Home||All Day|
|4/5||Sat||Albany 7′s*||Albany, NY||All Day|
|4/12||Sat||UMASS 7′s*||Amherst, MA||All Day|
|4/19||Sat||Empire 7′s||Stony Brook, NY||All Day|
|5/2||Fri||ACRC 7′s||Virginia Beach, VA||2 Day|
*East Coast Rugby Conference Sevens Series Dates
Fall ’13 Men’s Schedule
|Date||Day||Opponent||Location||Time||A Result||B Result|
|9/14/2013||Sat||Northeastern||Away||530pm||W 39-26||W 22-15|
|9/21/2013||Sat||Middlebury||Away||1200pm||L 12-37||L 17-33|
|9/28/2013||Sat||UConn||Home||700pm||W 31-5||W 22-0|
|10/4/2013||Fri||UMass||Home||700pm||W 29-5||L 12-24|
|10/12/2013||Sat||Albany||Away||100pm||W 39-27||W 27-5|
|10/19/2013||Sat||Boston College||Home||700pm||W 20-10|
|11/2/2013||Sat||Springfield 2nd XV||Away||230pm||W 53-14|
|11/9/2013||Sat||Wheeling Jesuit||Philadelphia||1000am||W 31-19|
|11/16/2013||Sat||St. Bonaventure*||Shippensburg||100pm||W 42-22|
|11/30/2013||Sat||New York 7′s||NYC||All Day||Plate (4-1)|
*ACRA Bowl Game
Fall ’13 Women’s Schedule
|9/28/2013||Sat||New Hampshire||Home||330pm||W 65-0|
|10/19/2013||Sat||Boston University||Away||700pm||W 52-5|
|11/2/2013||Sat||Rhode Island||Home||400pm||W 93-0|
Three AIC freshman made the trek to Tempe, AZ to participate in the Men’s Junior All American Program’s first assembly of the year. Christian Adams, Connor Gleason, and Kurtis Werner were all in attendance to take in the experience and compete with the best players in the USA in their age groups. The Junior All-Americans will next assemble in February, likely at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, and then work toward the April Junior World Rugby Trophy in Hong Kong with another assembly and some practice games. All three players were evaluated with some areas to improve as players, benefiting them no matter what their continued involvement in the program may be. Best wishes in future selections to these hardworking guys
In a successful fall campaign (highlights), the men’s team welcomed scoring contributions from 14 different players. Here’s a look at the scorer’s table with the players ranking in the all-time scorers’ list parenthesized just after their name.
|Benjamin Roach (5)||SR||8||0||0||40|
|Christian Adams (17)||FR||7||0||0||35|
|Gavan D’Amore Morrison (15)||JR||7||0||0||35|
|Bryce Neff (13)||JR||0||11||4||34|
|Tyler Nawrocki (6)||SO||2||8||2||32|
|Deshae Edwards (26)||JR||2||0||0||10|
|Connor Gleason (34)||FR||2||0||0||10|
|Monte Davis (23)||SR||2||0||0||10|
|Forrest Morgan (35)||SO||1||0||0||5|
|Kurtis Werner (35)||FR||1||0||0||5|
|Brandon Solomon (35)||FR||1||0||0||5|
|Jamal Hadley (14)||JR||1||0||0||5|
|Blake Gurgul (35)||FR||1||0||0||5|
|Johnni Dideriksen (16)||GR||1||0||0||5|