The 2012 Rocky Mountain Challenge, a premier Under-19/17 all-star tournament, was held June 16-17 at the Aurora Sports Park just outside of Denver. 14 teams competed in two age brackets showing outstanding talent.
In the U19 bracket, Minnesota defeated Heart of America (a side from Kansas and Missouri) 17-12 on a last-minute try in a hard fought and extremely close championship match. Both teams had completed pool play 3-0. Minnesota defeated Texas, Southern California and Colorado en route to the title match. Heart of America advanced with wins over Louisiana, Wisconsin and Nebraska.
The Under-17 championship was won by a strong and consistent Southern California side over Colorado, 40-5. Colorado beat Wisconsin 19-5 in one U-17 semifinal, while Southern California topped Heart of America 38-5 to set up the championship match.
On Saturday evening, over 600 players, coaches, trainers, volunteers and family members from the Rocky Mountain Challenge attended the international test match between the USA Eagles and the Republic of Georgia. Dressed in their various team colors, the RMC participants showed vocal support for the Eagles. Seven of the players on the USA starting side had played in the Rocky Mountain Challenge on their way to becoming Eagles.
On championship Sunday, eight of the current Eagles players came to the Rocky Mountain Challenge to watch the championship matches, present Man-of-the-Match medals, award first- and second-place trophies, and hand out t-shirts to the players selected to the all-tournament teams. The Eagles also met with many players, signed autographs, posed for pictures and cheered for their home teams.
Final standings in the 12th Annual Rocky Mountain Challenge
2. Heart of America
5. Southern California
1. Southern California
5. Heart of America
Championship Minnesota 17 Heart of America (HOA) 12
3rd Place Wisconsin 36 Colorado 33
5th place Southern Cal Louisiana
7th Place Texas 31 Nebraska 14
Pool A: HOA 26 Louisiana 0
Wisconsin 33 Nebraska 17
HOA 28 Wisconsin 26
Louisiana 24 Nebraska 20
Wisconsin 31 Louisiana 5
HOA 26 Nebraska 17
Pool B: Minnesota 27 Texas 5
Colorado 21 Southern Cal 19
Colorado 22 Texas 10
Minnesota 13 Southern Cal 7
Southern Cal 20 Texas 12
Minnesota 19 Colorado 10
Championship Southern Cal 40 Colorado 5
Semifinal 1 Colorado 19 Wisconsin 5
Semifinal 2 Southern Cal 38 HOA 5
Pool 1: (Saturday) Wisconsin 15 Heart of America (HOA) 3
HOA 17 Texas 13
Texas 19 Wisconsin 15
Pool 2: (Saturday) Southern Cal 22 Colorado 0
Southern Cal 13 Minnesota 6
Colorado 17 Minnesota 7
(Sunday) Minnesota 12 Texas 12 (Minnesota wins on kicks)
Wisconsin 56 Texas 17
Minnesota 8 HOA 5