Christendom College took 4th at the Collegiate Rugby National Championship in Philadelphia this past weekend, falling in the semifinal round on Sunday after a hard-fought day of pool play on Saturday.
The Crusaders made it all the way to the semifinals for the 2nd year in a row, after a dramatic overtime victory to win the National Championship last year in their first year of contention. Christendom was one of only two returning teams from 2017 to make it back to the National Championship, and the only returning team to make it into the Final Four.
On Saturday, Christendom started their National Championship title defense well with a 19-17 win over California Maritime in pool play, with a strong showing from Thomas Audino, Vincent Duhig, and Daniel Snyman. The Crusaders fell in their second match of the day against Endicott, and came back strong against Iowa Community College, one of the favorites to win the National Championship this year.
Iowa, who went undefeated in rugby 7s in 2017-18, were fought to a 14-14 tie — the only match they did not win all year. Christendom’s defense stymied Iowa numerous times, particularly in a dramatic try line hold that kept the Crusaders alive. After California Maritime defeated Endicott in the final match of the day, Christendom earned its way to the semifinals on Sunday, broadcast on ESPN+.
Early Sunday morning, the Crusaders took on Claremont College for the chance to defend their title. Audino and Duhig again led the way with points, scoring a try each to give the Crusaders a 12-5 lead at the half. Claremont came back hard in the second, however, scoring back to back tries to take a 12-17 lead. The Crusaders made one last run down the field with seconds left on the clock, but Claremont held on, winning the game and eventually the National Championship later that afternoon.
The Crusaders finished with another tremendous year overall, making it into the NSCRO 15s National Championship playoffs for the first time in the fall, and making their way all the way back to the 7s National Championship this spring. Seniors Daniel Snyman, Richard Blank, Dominic Mann, Paul Maschue, Nick Santschi, and Sean Vance will be sorely missed next fall, but Christendom rugby can be confident they will return to Philadelphia again in the near future.