Christendom College traveled to the University of Notre Dame for their third, and most important, rugby 7s tournament of the spring yet, competing in the Fighting Irish 7s Premier Qualifier Tournament. The tournament, which is one of several automatic qualifier tournaments for the May Madness 7s National Championship, was a tough battle for Christendom, with the team fighting their way into a Top 20 finish.
Christendom’s rugby team, coming off a third-place finish at the Moosman 7s tournament in Tennessee, entered the Fighting Irish 7s as the smallest college in competition — a testament to Christendom’s incredible growth as a rugby program over the past eight years. Christendom started Saturday in the Qualifier Cup Bracket, competing in the same bracket as Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Miami.
After falling in their first match to Wheeling, Christendom dropped into the Survivor Cup Bracket, where they took on and handily defeated Marian 35-0, especially thanks to two tries from Matthew Westin. In the quarterfinal matchup, Christendom faced off against Wisconsin, one of their biggest 7s opponents ever. The matchup did not daunt Christendom, however, and they went to work, putting up a 17-0 lead over Wisconsin before they were able to score a try. By then it was too late, and Christendom won their quarterfinal matchup 24-5.
Christendom walked into the semifinal matchup against Iowa Central confident, quickly taking a 7-0 lead before Iowa mounted a tough comeback, going up 12-7 on Christendom. Christendom managed to come back again, taking a 14-12 lead, but Iowa powered back again, going up 22-14 with minutes left. Joseph Kokes brought Christendom within 3 with a late try, but it was not enough — Christendom fell in the semifinal matchup 22-19. Later in the day, Christendom fell again in the consolation matchup against Aquinas 34-7.
Reaching the 7s Premier Qualifier against the biggest teams in National Collegiate Rugby was another huge step forward for the rugby program, as was finishing in the Top 20 for the tournament. Christendom will ride that Top 20 finish into their next competition, as they compete in the Wheeling 7s tournament this coming weekend against West Virginia University and others.
Meanwhile on the baseball diamond this weekend, Christendom took on Mid-Atlantic Christian University in a doubleheader on Saturday at Mid-Atlantic. Christendom took early leads in both games but was unable to hold back Mid-Atlantic’s offense, ultimately falling 12-4 and 17-5 in both games. Christendom is 1-9 in the first half of the season with another doubleheader against Central Penn scheduled for this coming Thursday.