The Christendom Crusaders handily won the 2nd annual Frassati Rugby Invitational on Saturday, March 24, defeating Franciscan University of Steubenville and Ave Maria University on a muddy day in Steubenville, Ohio.
After winning the tournament last year in front of their packed home crowd, the Crusaders traveled to Ohio to defend the Shield and keep it in the Christendom trophy case. As hosts this year, Franciscan played in the first game of the day, taking on the Ave Maria Papists. The Barons, who earned the #3 ranking in the nation this year from the NSCRO, took control quickly in their opening match, eventually trouncing Ave Maria 26-3.
The Crusaders came up next in their first match of the day and their first game since December. The time off didn’t matter — the Crusaders quickly jumped on the board 24-3 against the Papists, thanks to two tries from Daniel Snyman and two tries from Andrew Hambleton. That point differential continued to rise as the game progressed, with Nick Santschi scoring two more tries before the half to make the score 39-3. Santschi and Hambleton each scored one more try, as did Dominic Mann, with the Crusaders winning the game 60-15.
The final match of the day decided the winner: #14 Christendom vs. #3 Franciscan. Playing a game only minutes beforehand didn’t slow down the Crusaders, with the game starting much like the previous one. Snyman made the first try yet again, followed soon after by Richard Blank, making the score 17-0. Hambleton, one of the day’s biggest heroes, came through again with two tries, raising the score to 34-5. Franciscan scored one more try, but it was too little, too late. The final whistle was blown: Christendom 41, Franciscan 10. The Crusaders, champions yet again.
Freshman Vincent Duhig finished the day with the most amount of points scored by a Crusader, 31, thanks to the numerous conversion and penalty kicks he made across two matches. Andrew Hambleton followed close behind with 25 points, while Daniel Snyman scored 20 and Nick Santschi scored 15.
Intense competition was found throughout the day, but intense heart even more so — both from the players and from the fans from all three schools that traveled to the tournament. The tournament helped to bring the three schools together in a special way yet again, with the bonds of fellowship expected to grow even deeper as the tournament continues on in the years to come.