Sure, Belmont Shore is used to winning championships. They've got four Super League, one DI and now three 7s National Championship trophies on the shelf. But this title was different than most of those, and certainly different from the 7s championship won last year.
In 2011, Belmont had numerous Eagles, former Eagles and All Americans on the team. They brought in guys who usually live in San Diego, Texas and Denver to win it all, and it worked. This summer, though, they committed to a youth movement in 15s, and to using those same youngsters in 7s.
For that reason, the 2012 7s title is special.
"This is not only more gratifying than last year, it's the most gratifying win I've ever had as a coach, and that includes beating Spain and some other pretty big names out there. This group of guys, nobody expected us to do anything" said Belmont Shore president and 7s coach James Walker.
"It's been a fantastic ride, and what makes it even more pleasing is that it's been done by Belmont boys. No one came in from the outside. We just took our boys that grew up in the area and played our system."
Ask Walker if he thought his team had what it took to win it all, and you'll get the canned coach speak:
"I always believe, whether it's right or wrong, I always believe that we go to a tournament to win," he'll say.
Dig a little deeper, and he'll tell you that even he didn't expect to win it all this time around. Not with this group. They only returned two players from last year's National Championship roster, and they only played with 11 the entire tournament.
"I wasn't sure if the players had the belief, and that belief grew and grew and grew. You saw the final, I mean, that was outstanding," he said.
"Every boy pulled their weight...The guys were banged up, but it's amazing the heart they played with and the composure shown by our young guys."
The youth can't be overstated. Mike Te'o just turned 19, Pasefika Iosea was on the U20s team, Jack Tracy is in his early 20s, so is Kameron Moeller, Ollie Craig is in school at UC Santa Barbara and Eric Duechle is 26.
The baby-faced quality of this Belmont Shore team is the first thing veteran Ed McKenna noticed at training this summer.
"The first day, I went in and it was a very different group than we had before. Literally, all these guys are young guys from our 15s team," said McKenna. "These are all young guys from our 15s team that came out to play 7s. We didn't have any superstars. We got a bunch of average joes on our team and we came together and kicked ass."
This win is also a little more special for McKenna, who came off the bench for the 2011 title team.
"I got to play this time, so it's very much more gratifying," he said.