The high school invitational, despite the criticism, still pits some of the best high school teams from different parts of the country against one another in a really exciting tournament.
In the single school bracket, Indiana takes on Washington DC when Westside battles Gonzaga in one quarterfinal. North Carolina (Charlotte Catholic) plays Indiana (Penn), New York (Xavier) plays Kansas (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Utah (Snow Canyon) plays California (Dixon).
Xavier, 2010 champs, could be up against a buzzsaw in St. Thomas Aquinas. Coach Tim Kluempers thinks his team is underrated and deserving of a higher seed, and he’s got his team primed to try and make a point.
Dixon will try to take the trophy back to California, while Gonzaga is eager to win the title that’s evaded them recently. Having beaten Xavier already this year, nothing short of a title will suffice for coaches Peter Baggetta and Lee Kelly.
The high school club division is equally compelling, as the top two teams in RUGBYMag’s rankings, Cathedral and Colorado Springs, could meet in the semifinals Friday if they beat Union (New Jersey) and TRYBE (Utah), respectively, in the quarterfinals.
The Kansas City Jr. Blues are fresh off losing the Missouri state title game to Desmet of St. Louis, and they’re keen to prove they are better than the second best team in the Show-Me State. They clash with Red Mountain, another outfit aligned directly with a successful men’s club, out of Arizona.
TRYBE and United are hoping to not only win their way into playing in front of a great home crowd at Rio Tinto Saturday, but also prove that the recent changes in high school rugby won’t prevent the state of Utah from reigning supreme in the high school club sector. Since the youth game was split into high school and U-19 or high school club in 2008, a team from Utah has claimed every title in this competition.