|Mike Pelagalli offload. John Eilts photo courtesy of USA Rugby|
|Pat Clifton photo|
|Reed Fenton on defense. Pat Clifton photo|
Miami went to College Station with a very specific goal in mind – win the inaugural College 7s National Championship. Through most of pool play, until the final seconds of their final game, the Reds were on pace to do just that, or at least extend their bid to do just that.
However, a pair of unlucky calls fell out of their favor and Miami gave up 19-straight points to Colorado in a 24-17 loss, which coupled with a Virginia tie against Texas A&M knocked the Reds out of Cup contention. Having trailed less that two minutes all of day one, Miami’s National Title hopes were dashed.
“We felt like we could have played in the Cup. We felt like we could have advanced in the Cup, and we wanted to make it known that we’re here to play and Miami’s going to be on the map in the national stage of 7s,” said Miami’s Mike Pelagalli.
“So we were disappointed, obviously, with the result, but we decided to come out here, try to make a name for ourselves on the national stage and win the bowl, plate, cup, whatever we could have done.”
“We just talked all night, had a couple of meetings had dinner and we just talked about what we could do today,” added Miami’s Luke Markovich. “We could just come out and play ourselves, or we could just come out and try to prove a point and just play the best that we can.”
If Miami didn’t play the best it could, it certainly played better than anyone else vying for the Bowl. The Reds never trailed and surrendered just 20 points on Saturday en route to 5-1 overall and a Bowl title.
“We thought we should have been in the Cup round, but we did what we had to do on day two, so we got the best outcome,” said Markovich. “We’re happy with it. No regrets after the tournament. It was a fun tournament, we had a good time, and sometimes things don’t go the way you want it, and you make the best out of it.”
Miami’s Midwest rival, Bowling Green, won the Bowl at the inaugural Collegiate Rugby Championship in 2010 against probably weaker competition. Asked if Miami now owned bragging rights, Pelagalli said, “We like the guys at Bowling Green. There’s a little bit of a competitive rivalry, but hey, a bowl’s a bowl. The thing we like about this is we earned our spot to be here, and we showed them what we can do.”