Miami of Ohio dominated the Midwest 7s tournament Sunday, averaging over 38 points in their four wins and zero losses. With the win the RedHawks have clinched the second automatic bid to the inaugural USA Rugby 7s National Championship Dec. 16-17 at a venue to be named later.
Miami impressed opposing coaches with their superior cohesion, physicality and 7s aptitude. Four RedHawks, Luke Markovich, Pat Rahill, Mike Pelagalli and David Patick, all played for 1823 in the Midwest senior club 7s circuit during the summer, and their comfort playing with one another was apparent.
"They know each other," said Miami coach Jared Moore. "7s seems to me a much more dynamic, flowing game because there’s more space and if your player know each other and what they’re doing and how they’re running, you can definitely be more effective. I think that plays into the success a little bit more."
Markovich captained the RedHawks, and he was not only a dynamic player both with the ball and without, but a valuable leader, as were his 1823 cohorts.
"I think Luke's matured a lot over the last two years. This is his fifth year, he's stepping up and competing well, along with all the other seniors I have on this team. I think I have five seniors on this team. All of the guys who played with 1823 are seniors" said Moore.
"The senior leadership, we talked about it last year in the spring when we didn't qualify for Nationals. We talked about how it takes more than one guy. It takes all of you leading the younger guys, and they're doing it. I'll tell you, it's been a good dynamic so far."
Miami's most impressive win, and all were by double digits, was a 57-0 walloping of UW-Milwaukee in the final.
Bowling Green defeated Davenport 31-17 to take third place.
Kentucky, Central Michigan and UW-Whitewater were all initially slated to compete but backed out.
Miami (OH) 57-0 UW-Milwaukee
Bowling Green 31-17 Davenport
UW-Milwaukee 26-24 Bowling Green
Miami (OH) 24-12 Davenport
Davenport 21-15 Bowling Green
Miami (OH) 38-5 UW-Milwaukee
Miami (OH) 34-17 Bowling Green
UW-Milwaukee 15-12 Davenport