April 25, 2024

CRC Preview: Men’s Premier Cup

With the most comprehensive qualification series in the tournament’s 15- year history, the race for the Premier National Championship looks as competitive as ever. 32 teams representing nine conferences are split into four regions, with the Big Rivers, Liberty, Rugby East and Northeast Rugby Football Union claiming the top seeds in Wheeling, Brown, Kutztown and Babson, respectively.

Babson is only the second Small College program in the CRC’s history to qualify for the Premier Cup. The Beavers did so by winning the Frostbite 7s in Lancaster, PA. The title of Cinderella didn’t last long, though, as Babson bested several CRC veterans like Brown, St. Bonaventure, Siena and Iona at the Old Blue 7s to cement their top seed status. 

The Beavers are reigning Small College champions. All American Reed Santos helped them lift the trophy last year, and first year phenom Jack Byzsio is definitely one to watch. So are fellow first years Charles Price and Brice Muller, who cast long shadows at 6’6” and 6’3”, respectively. 

The first ever Small College program to make the Premier Cup was Cal Maritime, who knocked off Minnesota and Mount St. Mary’s to make the quarterfinals in 2022. Last year, Mount St. Mary’s bounced back from the early exit to win it all. This spring, with little 7s on their resume and reigning CRC MVP Chris Cleland transferring to Kutztown, the Mountaineers are back in an underdog role. 

Kutztown, with the last two MVPs in Cleland and 2022 honoree Mate Kvirikashvili, is the overall No. 1 seed. The Golden Bears were the only team to win two qualifiers this spring, claiming the Monumental 7s and Fighting Irish Invitational. Maybe having a better season than the two MVPs is Achie Grayson.   

Wheeling and Aaron Juma also can’t be counted out. The Cardinals repeated as Big Rivers champions, winning arguably the toughest 7s conference in the country. And Liberty champion Brown, featuring a pair of U20 national team players in Tito Edjua and Asa Rosenmeier, is capable of winning it all. 

The two opening rounds of the Men’s Premier Cup bracket will be played Friday, with the latter rounds playing out Saturday. All games advancing toward the Premier Cup national championship will be streamed live on The Rugby Network, with games outside the stadium streamed live on either The Rugby Network or National Collegiate Rugby’s YouTube page. 

More News Posts

May 17, 2024

Collegiate Rugby Championship Raises Funds for Olympic 7s Teams

Read More
April 29, 2024

Inaugural Class Enshrined in CRC Hall of Fame

Read More
April 28, 2024

Yale Claims Small College National Title

Read More