Middlebury Takes the Plate at Armory 7s

On April 11, 2015, the MCRC 7s squad boarded a charter bus and headed down to Springfield, Massachusetts for the Armory 7s tournament hosted by American International College the following day.  The tournament featured top-level competition from nationally ranked teams such as Colgate, Dartmouth, Boston College and the host, then ranked second in the country, AIC.  This was the official ECRC 7s Tournament for the spring.

Middlebury was placed in the most difficult pool and would have to face AIC and Dartmouth before the elimination rounds.  Pool play kicked off at 9 AM, and the squad made light work of Albany, with a 40-5 victory.  The win included two tries for Vermont Gatorade Football Player of the Year, track star and rugby newcomer Tanner Contois, the first of many expected to come.  In the next match, Middlebury faced off against ECRC newcomers Fairfield, and again were victorious with a resounding score of 33-0 that featured a 90 meter scorcher from Junior fly half Dylan Gorman.  The competition ramped up severely in the next pool play match as the MCRC faced off against AIC, fresh off a second place finish at Las Vegas 7s.  The boys played hard, but in the end were unable to maintain possession and fell to the tournament hosts 30-0.  With an hour break and 5th ranked Dartmouth up next, the boys took some time for mental preparation.  Dartmouth drew first blood scoring one under the posts and then another a few minutes later in the corner.  Midd Freshman scrum-half Jackson Bock struck back before half with a quick tap, catching the opposition unawares and scoring beneath the posts.  Middlebury scored again after the half as Bock chipped over the defense and dotted it down under the posts, but Dartmouth scored again almost immediately.  A few phases after the kickoff the ball was passed out to the unmarked sophomore center Jackson Yang and the match was tied 19-19.  With less than a minute remaining a speedy Dartmouth winger cut through the MCRC defense, but was held up in the corner.  The referee blew for a high tackle, awarded Dartmouth a penalty try, and the match drew to a controversial close, 19-26 Dartmouth.  Based on record and point differential, the boys advanced to the Plate elimination bracket.

After some time, Middlebury kicked off against Colgate in the Plate Semi-Final.  The MCRC freshman dominated the score sheet with two more tries from the speedy Tanner Contois, one from the freshman tank with Aussie heritage Henry Muter and another two from young Bock.  The final score was 29-5 and Middlebury advanced to the Plate Final.

In the final, the Panthers squared off against UMASS Amherst.  After a heartbreaking loss early in the 15s season, the boys wanted blood.  Needless to say, they collected.  After 20 short minutes, the score was 34-7, UMASS was demoralized and Middlebury were the 2015 Armory 7s Plate Champions.

The Armory 7s marked a great weekend for the squad.  The boys fought hard against top tier programs and brought home some hardware to merry, merry Middlebury.