The National College 7s Championship has undergone some changes since its inauguration two years ago, some positive, some regrettable. For the women, for example, two-time reigning champion Norwich – along with all of its fellow ACRA members – will not be competing in 2013, as the event conflicts with the teams’ 15s-only fall season. On the end of the spectrum, more official national qualifiers are being held this fall, making the 7s championship less like an invitational.
NOVA is hosting one such qualifier (Oct. 27, Manassas, Va. learn more) and is getting a good response from local, and not so local, teams.
“We felt like there was a need for a college tournament in the Mid-Atlantic in the fall,” co-tournament director Meganne Atkins said. “NOVA has a rich history in 7s, and we want to hold this tournament to give a little something back to the game and provide men's and women's college teams with the opportunity to qualify for nationals. As a club we recognize the importance of growing the game at the collegiate level, and this tournament is just one step in that direction.”
Since the country is still building interest around fall 7s, this regional qualifier is not restricted to Mid-Atlantic teams. Atkins indicated that teams from as far north as New Jersey and south to Florida have expressed interest. Additionally, teams that do not wish to participate at nationals are also welcomed in the open divisions.
“[We] already have four teams committed to play that are aiming to qualify for nationals, so we are expecting quality competition,” Atkins added. “We are pleased with the response so far. We expect this tournament to fill up.”
The winners of the qualifier receive automatic bids to nationals, which will be held Nov. 23-24 in Greensboro, N.C.
Volunteer guest coaches will be available on the day, and a free 7s clinic will take place after the tournament. Dana Creager, who is on the USA Olympic Development staff, will lead the instructional, which will also feature current and former USA 7s Eagles Toshi Palamo, Beth Black, Lauren Hoeck and C.J. Hildreth.
The qualifier is an important step in legitimizing the national 7s championship and is being led by one of the best 7s programs in the country.
For more information, visit the event page or e-mail