The University of Arizona team headed to the USA 7s CRC will have two key additions to their squad when they arrive in Philadelphia.
USA 7s player Peter Tiberio, who remains eligible to play for the team, will round out his Wildcat career by suiting up for them one more time. Meanwhile, Brett Thompson is back from his internship in Ireland and ready to play also.
But that’s only part of what the Wildcats will bring to the CRC. They will also bring a distinct feeling of unfinished business. Arizona swept their pool games in 2011, with Tiberio leading the tournament in tries, only to lose 5-0 to Central Washington in the quarterfinals.
It was a bitter blow that everyone remembers.
“Looking back, I think we had a different mood on Saturday night than we did on Friday,” said Head Coach Dave Sitton, who will once again have Emil Signes and Chris Kron to help run the team. “The psychology of the team is a huge factor, and we weren’t as nervous the second day.”
The team has been working enormously hard, driven by that unhappy ending. They have been rising early each morning and training in the late afternoon as well – two-a-days since May 1.
“In sevens, the more fit you are, the more options you have,” said Sitton, who agreed with his other coaches’ assessment that the team is focused, motivated, and working enormously hard.
Augmenting the Wildcats is a talented group of players, and Sitton said it was perhaps a little too easy to rely on Tiberio to provide the scoring punch. Central Washington keyed on the Arizona danger man, and won.
Thompson will be in his third CRC. Cody Naber, Jack Arnold, Trent Fischer and Mike Getzler all bring something special to the team. Naber is an excellent defender, while Arnold has the ability to break open a game.
All can play defense.
“I think if there’s anything we take pride in it’s our defense,” said Sitton. “We allowed only one try last year, and I think our defense is better this year.”