This list is not a suggestion for who should get looks at a 7s All American camp or who would make the best Eagles someday. This list is about who performed the best at the College 7s National Championships Dec. 16-17 in College Station, Texas. Though USA Rugby allowed teams to carry 15 players on their rosters, we'll go with a more traditional approach and name 12 on our all-tournament team.
|Colorado's Luke Lahman. Pat Clifton photo|
|Arkansas State's Paul Benade. Pat Clifton photo|
|Kutztown's Acker dragging defenders. Pat Clifton photo|
|A&M's Brian Guillen about to score. Pat Clifton photo|
|Central Washington's Patrick Blair on defense. Pat Clifton photo|
|Arkansas State's Danie Swanepoel. Pat Clifton photo|
|Michael St. Clair going to score. John Eilts photo, courtesy of USA Rugby|
Tim Stanfill (Central Washington)
He was the only choice for tournament MVP, despite not CWU not winning the Cup. Every time he touched the ball he was a threat to score, and he forced overloads and drew a lot of attention, which created midfield opportunities for teammates. Not only was he superb with ball in hand, but on defense and at the breakdown. He held up mauls, intercepted passes and made big tackles. He keeps getting faster, stronger, better.
Patrick Blair (Central Washington)
The best forward in the competition. Blair used his size and deceptive speed to constantly soak up multiple tacklers. He also won just about every ruck he was in and displayed supreme fitness for a big man.
Colton Cariaga (Life)
He led the tournament in points by wide margin, dotting down seven tries and slotting nine very important conversions. He was the speedy sparkplug for the Running Eagles on the wing and provided anchoring leadership.
Paul Benade (Arkansas State)
Benade was truly impressive throughout the entire tournament. His physicality and field vision were superb, and he managed five tries on a talented team that hardly had enough ball to go around.
Danie Swanepoel (Arkansas State)
Swanepoel's most impressive game was in pool play against Central Washington. The South African contained Stanfill better than anyone else in the tourney, and he created a lot of offensive opportunities himself.
Brian Guillen (Texas A&M)
Guillen was the heart and soul of the Aggie effort. Connor Mills gets a lot of credit, and rightly so, but Guillen is the best 7s player A&M has. He has a never-ending motor and was the one man who could make a play out of nothing for the home team. He could have started on any team in the event.
Tim Acker (Kutztown)
Acker's competitive fire is second to no ones. When Kutztown needed a line break, he provided. When they needed a tackle, he provided. The quintessential effort play for him on the day? In a 19-17 pool win over UC Davis, the diminutive Acker practically dragged three Aggies across the try line for KU's final score.
Landis Nasser (Cal Poly)
He didn't score a ton of tries, just two in fact, but Nasser set up several. He was Cal Poly's most dangerous threat to score from distance, and he created many opportunities for the Mustangs' big forwards.
Kingsley McGowan (St. Mary’s)
McGowan makes the cut despite going down with injury in the Gaels' Cup quarterfinal loss to Central Washington. Outside of Stanfill, McGowan was the scariest wing in the event. He had a ton of pace and turned it into five tries.
Derek Patick (Miami)
He led the tournament in tries scored and was a load to bring down. Miami was very solid 1-7, and he was the benefactor of good work from his teammates.
Luke Lahman (Colorado)
Lahman almost single-handedly drove Colorado. No team relied on one man more than the Buffs did on Lahman. He was their most ferocious defender and talented attacker. Lahman could have started on any team in the tournament.
Michael St. Clair (Stony Brook)
St. Clair ended his tournament on day one with a hamstring injury, but his four tries in less than three games, three of which came in a blowout of Tennessee, were good enough to get him onto the team. His pace was truly impressive, and if he'd stayed healthy, Stony Brook may have gone home with some hardware.