Trio of Eastern Qualifiers Sets the Stage for Big Weekend of 7s

The Club 7s series kicks it up a notch this weekend as National Championship qualifying tournaments continue to take place this weekend.

The Club 7s series kicks it up a notch this weekend as National Championship qualifying tournaments continue to take place this weekend. Along the eastern seaboard there will be three competitions taking place, with Danbury and Wilmington getting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic seasons underway; while down south in Georgia at the Georgia games teams will be fighting in the last southern qualifier for a chance to play on the national stage come August.

Danbury 7s

It is the first qualifier for the Men in the Northeast, and a tune up for the women before their qualifiers start next weekend. It is shaping up to be a tightly fought contest in the men's northeast 7s circuit, with both of last year's national plate finalists, Old Blue and Bulldog making an appearance. While they may fancy their chances to prevail out of the Northeast again this year, they will have to go through some stiff opposition including 2018 Men's Division I XVs National Champions Mystic River, and Men's Division III runner's up, Long Island. Chris Taylor, the tournament director noted that "for the National Championship Series Circuit, Old Blue and the Bulldogs are the 1 and 2 seeds from last year.  They are looking to continue their success.  The men's division will have a couple tough opponents."

In addition to the Men's qualifiers there will also be a men's social and a women's division. Both look to be evenly contested, but with only four teams entering the women's field, Morris looks to be the favorite. In the social it is a toss-up, but as Danbury are defending champions and have the home field advantage they could wind up securing their second in as many years.

7s has proven to be a source of constant growth for clubs throughout the country and Danbury is no exception. They rely on the 7s circuit and their annual event to draw in and recruit new players. "Sevens is great for our club because it gets new college kids involved.  They get to come out and learn about the culture of our team.  In essence, they are the future of someone's program.  Hopefully, they will stay and be part of ours when they graduate", Taylor elaborated.

Danbury's tournament has been a success consistently and they continue to reap the rewards from hosting it, as Taylor mentions, "The best part of this tournament each year is seeing the way it has grown over the years.  Not only in numbers, but in learning from the success/failures to make sure it gets better and better each year."

Blue Ball 7s

Only a few hours south of the Danbury 7s the first qualifier in the Mid-Atlantic for both the men and women will be taking place. In the men's division, it will be a cutthroat affair as there will only be one team that gets an invitation to the Nationals in August, opposed to the two they traditionally received. For the last year's qualifiers Beltway and Schuylkill River, they'll know their job just got that much harder. One of the biggest threats to either team's ability to repeat will come from Rocky Gorge, who will be coming into the tournament on the back of a successful XVs season and will be hoping to translate that into their 7s program.

On the women's side it won't be as dire, but it will definitely be a toughly contested. There are three spots available for women's sides coming out of the Mid-Atlantic, and with only five teams participating in this weekend's tournament they'll have a good chance to establish an early foothold. The Scion Sirens, Philadelphia, and Northern Virginia were all in the national championship tournament last year, with the sirens finishing 3rd. They'll be the favorites to take the three spots again, but the DC Furies could come up and send some shock waves through the competition. The Mid-Atlantic is arguably the toughest region for women's 7s in the country and they'll be producing some quality matches this weekend.

Georgia Games

Southern qualification wraps up this week and it's still there for anyone to claim. There is one spot available to the men, and two for the women. Last weekend in Nashville Atlanta swept the competition both men's and women's, as Old White and the Harlequins took the spoils. But because this is only a two-week qualification process, nothing is guaranteed. Old White currently sits a top of the men with 22 points, they are followed closely by Southern Pines, and last year's representative, Charlotte, on 17. It will be a weekend filled with desperation on the men's side.

The women have a little more room to breathe, as they have two available spots for qualification; but again, the short qualifying season could provide a few twists and turns. As it currently stands Atlanta and Phoenix will be qualifying for the nationals but Charlotte and Orlando who sit in 3rd and 4th respectively have shown their potential. Orlando was a particularly tough team last weekend, as they fell just one point shy of a semifinal win over Atlanta, proving they can hang with the  best. Charlotte is a resilient team and if they get going can beat anyone on any given day. It's too close to call who will advance from the south, but it will be a wild ride from start to finish on Saturday in the women's bracket.