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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Illinois Wraps Up State Championships

Photo: Williams Calvert
Press Release

This Memorial Day the best young men and women in the state of Illinois gathered to battle for the title of State Champion. Morton West High School in Berwyn, Illinois, hosted this year’s games. Matches throughout the day were fierce in competition and showed tremendous athleticism. Some games were close until the final minutes, others were major upsets.

The Frosh Soph match was the first Championship of the morning in Berwyn. Brother Rice faced the Chiefs in the grass fields. The Chiefs came into the season with a bit more experience behind their belt with a middle school feeder program,but the newest players for Brother Rice were not only able to keep up with the Chiefs, they were able to win with a final score of 37-22.

In the D3 Boys High School Championship match, the Chicago Blaze Academy from Lemont played the All Reds from Metamora. Players from the All Reds joined the Blaze team during the Fall Ball season, so there were many familiar faces on both sides of the pitch. This was the first time the Blaze Academy had played as a team; and they were excited to make an appearance at the State Championship game. The All Reds used every meter of the pitch, trying to push back the Blaze in the first half, but remained scoreless in the first 25 minutes of the match. In the second half, the Blaze continued to dominate and pulled off a 52-12 win over the team from down state.

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In the D2 Boys High School Championship game, the South Suburban Cobras, from New Lenox, went into their game with an undefeated season. The Cobras faced the Montini Broncos, who had just one loss all season and had made it to the D2 State Championship six times, without grasping the title. The game was back and forth the entire match. In the final minute, Montini was able to take the lead and win 31-27. There was a roar of cheers, and also tears, for Montini and a heartfelt loss for South Suburban Cobras, who left with pride in their lead-up undefeated season.

In the Girls High School Championship, Hinsdale Central High School took on Rowe-Clark High School. This was the first year Hinsdale has fielded a girl’s high school rugby team and they started strong with a 5-2 Season. Rowe-Clark ended the regular season undefeated. The Rowe girls came out strong with a few quick get aways and tries. With only 10 minutes left in the match, Hinsdale had closed the gap to one try. There were some quick get aways and tough hits by both teams but Rowe-Clark held on to stay undefeated with a 39-22 win over the newcomers to their division. The stadium erupted with cheers from the Rowe-Clark fans.

In the final match of the day, Notre Dame La Salette, new to Rugby Illinois and recent powerhouse in Rugby Indiana, came into Berwyn to play Neuqua Valley. The two teams had amazing seasons, and with a stadium of fans, the battled it out. Neuqua was able to get some good passes to the outside and with quick legs, were able to score early on LaSalette. Notre Dame La Salette was able to keep pressure on their opponent, but could not hold them back. Neuqua Valley overpowered in defence and speed, taking the State Championship title with a score of 62-25.

This was also the first year, that D1 in Rugby Illinois selected All State players to be recognized. Players were selected based on play at matches throughout the Spring Season, nominated by the coaches of the opposite teams, with an even number of backs and forwards nominated, then announced at this year’s games.

Morton West High School was a fantastic venue for the Rugby Illinois State Championship games. Hosting three fields for playing and a practice field, fantastic volunteers, concessions, and a wonderful facility. Athletico provided trainers at all fields to ensure the safety of all players during the games. American Rugby Outfitters provided this year’s High School State Championship t-shirts, which can still be ordered at http://www.rugbygear.com/ecommerce/RI-HS-State-Championships.html. We look forward to this coming Sunday, June 4th for the Middle School State Championships, again hosted at Morton High School, in Berwyn, Illinois.

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