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Thursday, October 15, 2015

NCRC 7s Pool A & Pool B Preview

Press Release

Pool A

Central Washington comes in as the pool and tournament favorite, having never lost at the NCRC 7s taking home the Cup five times. Until anyone can prove otherwise CWU is the big dog in this tournament. With that comes target on their back but the Wildcats have proven able to handle the challenge. It's safe to say as the defending champs and hosts anything but winning the tournament would be considered a failure, in fact losing a game in Pool play would probably be rough outing.

Boise State has steadily improved since joining the conference in 2012 and are looking to take the next step forward to becoming a Pool favorite. The Broncos have one a Shield and been a runner up in the Shield and are looking to advance to the next round of hardware. Their challenge will not just be in CWU but also their neighbors Idaho State who have proven to be tough competitors in the past.

Take the jump to read more.

Idaho State comes in as a bit of a wildcard. They are always very well coached but the question will be if they can bring all their horses on the long road trip to Ellensburg. If they do they may be a threat to make the Cup quarters and do some damage. They participated in the 2012 NCRC 7s but ran out of steam, finishing in the Challenger Cup final.

WSU Tri Cities comes in as an almost unknown that has won it's way into the big tournament. The Cougs beat NW Cup 7s hosts and favorites Central Oregon to punch their ticket to Ellensburg. It will be a homecoming of sorts for WSUTC captain and player coach Mike Stiekema who briefly played for CWU. They are in a tough spot but will be looking to prove to their big school brothren that they belong.

Overall Records:

CWU 26-0 5 Cups
BSU 4-11 1 Shield (1 Shield Runner Up)
ISU 2-2 1 (1 Challenger Cup Runner Up)

Pool B

Outside of CWU no one has had as much success at the NCRC 7s as Western Washington. Despite never winning any hardware the Vikings are three time Cup runner ups. The Vikings are always well coached and conditioned, they expect to win the pool and get to another Cup final. The challenge for WWU is to be able to compete with CWU should the two meet in the final for a fourth time. Previous CWU - WWU finals have ended 31-7, 46-14 and 50-7. The next step for them is tightening that gap with the Wildcats.

Gonzaga comes into this year's competition with something to prove. The Zags suprised in the 2013 NCRC 7s ending up runner ups in the Bowl and again suprised in 2014 ending up runners in the Plate. The element of suprise is probably off for the Bulldogs as teams now realize that they have to take their squad seriously. Playing a downhill, front foot, attacking style the Zags are dangerous enough that seeing them upset WWU in a pool game is not out of the question, however with a small student population depth may be an issue.

Oregon always brings an athletic side to the competition. The Ducks are seasoned veterans when it comes to the NCRC 7s and have shown flashes of great play. In 2014 they were the only team who played CWU relatively close. That being said the Ducks also have a tendency to lose a game or two they shouldn't. UO has won two Bowls and one Sheild at the tournament and will be looking to take home the next set of hardware.

Western Oregon has made good strides under new coach Gavin Curtis but the Wolves biggest goal is going to be making the Cup quarterfinals and getting themselves in line for some hardware. They took home a Bowl in 2010 but WOU has been a fixture in the Consolation bracket and have taken home the Challenger Cup three times, it would be a nice step forward for them to get to the knockout rounds.

NCRC 7s Overall Records:

WWU 16-9 (3 Cup Runner Up, 1 Plate Runner Up, 1 Shield Runner Up)
UO 12-13 2 Bowls, 1 Shield (1 Shield Runner Up)
WOU 10-9 1 Bowl, 3 Challenger Cup
GU 5-6 (1 Plate Runner Up, 1 Bowl Runner Up)

Results from the NW Cup:

Cup - WSU Tri Cities 27 Central Oregon 5
Plate - Southern Oregon 21 Oregon Tech 0
Bowl - Seattle U 17 Willamette 12
Shield - Idaho 26 Reed 10

They will be in Pool A with Central Washington, Boise State and Idaho State

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