12 teams are set to compete in Firehouse 7s, the fourth stop in the Midwest’s 7s qualification circuit, Saturday in Chicago, Ill.
Half of the field has already competed in a qualifier this summer, while the other half is making its debut.
1823 of Columbus, Ohio has been the most active so far, playing in and pointing in all three tournaments. They sit atop the league table with 14 points.
Behind them are Youngbloodz out of Minneapolis, who won the first qualifier in Des Moines and finished second in Minnesota.
|4. Cincinnati Wolfhounds||4|
|5. Chicago Griffins||2|
|6. Bremer County||1|
|6. Indianapolis Impalas||1|
In third place is Milwaukee, who beat 1823 impressively, 33-7, for the title in Minnesota earlier this month.
The most notable team making its qualifier debut is the Chicago Lions, defending champs of the Midwest. They’re coming off a $7,500 win of the Club Championship Series organized by USA Sevens in Las Vegas in February, but have undergone a youth movement.
Gone are longtime stalwarts Mark Roberts and Jeremy Nash. Roberts has returned to Ireland and Nash to Seattle.
Lions 7s coach Aaron Manheimer estimates about 9 players from the CCS championship squad are back playing 7s this summer, but they’ll be challenged for roster sports by several collegians.
Bowling Green’s Nick Viviani and Rocco Mauer, who played with the Lions last summer, are back. They bring with them Rocco’s brother Dominic, who played with 1823 last year, and BGSU freshman/sophomore-to-be Max Narewski.
Also joining the Lions are All-Americans JP Eloff (Davenport) and Peter Tiberio (Arizona). Both will miss some time due to All-American duties this summer, and both are favorites to be named to the first-ever 7s All-American team next month.
At time of print, Manheimer hadn’t settled on his roster of 12 for Firehouse 7s.
Likely to challenge the Lions Saturday are Milwaukee and the Chicago Griffins. The Griffins finished third in Des Moines, but the 2010 Midwest runners up should be considerably stronger on Chicago soil.
Milwaukee was a threat to the two Super League clubs last summer, and two of their players, says Manheimer, recorded the best numbers at last week’s 7s combine, hosted by the Lions and surveyed by Eagle 7s coach Al Caravelli.