The Running Eagles came to Las Vegas National Champions. They leave it CRC Qualifier champions, and have earned the right play to become Collegiate Rugby Championship champions.
Colton Cariaga and Cam Dolan are the veterans who led the group.
“I give props to those two, my senior players who keep stepping up,” said Life 7s coach Tui Osborne.
“It feels great. Obviously, I’m just happy for the guys. They’ve earned it.”
Another one of Life’s heroes of the tournament is Darrion Woodson. When Life needed a surge in its quarterfinal match against San Diego State, Woodson provided it off the bench. He made the line break that led to the game-tying Dolan try.
Woodson did the same thing for Life at USA Rugby 7s Nationals in December in College Station, Texas, against Central Washington. But in Las Vegas, after the quarterfinals, Woodson got the nod to start.
He scored against Kutztown in the semifinals, and dotted down twice in the final. He proved he’s not just the fast guy that can score with space by running through tackles, including an attempt by 7s All American Don Pati.
“Once I get going, it’s kind of hard to stop me. The training that we go through is kind of hard and tough. You’ve got to be dedicated to be on this Life program,” said Woodson.
“I started playing in high school, but I just knew the concept of rugby. Going to Life, they taught me the actual game, so now that I’m understanding it, it’s coming to me a lot easier.”
Life University, for what has to be first time in school history, will put a sports team in a nationally-televised sporting event. For a small science, business, computer and chiropratic school in Marietta, Ga. that , that’s an unbeatable marketing opportunity.
“This is an enormous achievement. These guys, we just told them right now, this is big for the university,” said Osborne. “No one knows who we are, and this is good for our brand.”
It's also an enormous opportunity for the Life players to play in the homes of their friends and family on television.
"That’s going to mean a lot, because I’m a lot of people’s role models, and a lot of people look for me to do well," said Woodson. "I’m glad I made that decision to come to Life and play rugby."