April 23 - The deepest field in the 13-year history of the Collegiate Rugby Championship is set, with returning champion Kutztown looking to defend its crown. The Golden Bears are one of four top seeds, alongside returning quarterfinalist Indiana, Rugby East champion Wheeling and Notre Dame College.
The Hoosiers, with capped Eagles Noah Brown and Will Chevalier, sit atop the West region, where 15s national champion Brown lurks as the second seed. The Bears draw a tough out in the Navy in the opening round, the Midshipmen returning to the CRC for the first time since 2019. Two-time CRC champion and returning semifinalist Dartmouth is another contender, and Air Force is a talented dark horse.
In the Midwest, Notre Dame and the University of Southern California renew their gridiron rivalry on the rugby pitch in the opening round. The winner books a date with either second-seeded St. Bonaventure or CRC debutant Rio Grande.
Wheeling is the beast of the East, with a dominating spring build up to nationals, even with two top players taking time away to play for the Zimbabwean national team. The Cardinals draw HBCU Classic Champion, local favorite and CRC debutant Howard in the opening round. Three-seed Mount St. Mary’s hopes to rebound from a second-round upset last year in New Orleans. Standing in their way in the opening round is Michigan, then pending victory, either Adrian or Virginia Tech.
In the South, Division II Eastern Carolina punches above its weight against NDC in the Round of 32, while two other first-round matches mark the inaugural meetings between programs – Siena versus Belmont Abbey and Aquinas against Iona. Second-seeded Mary Washington, named after the mother of America’s first president, and James Madison, the namesake of the fourth president, fight for Virginia-state bragging rights and a trip to the Sweet 16.