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Mount HPA Wins Surfside 7s

The Mount Men's Rugby High School High Performance Academy (HPA) returned to action July 13 at the Surfside 7s Tournament in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. The team looked to continue its strong summer campaign after a second place finish at Collegiate Rugby Championships (CRCs) in the high school division.  

surfside-hpa-3.jpgCoach Mike Williams and the squad arrived in New Jersey on Friday evening in preparation for Saturday's single day tournament. The Mount Rugby HPA returned a core of five players from CRCs and introduced six players who were invited to make their Mount Rugby HPA debut.

The team began the tournament with a tough matchup against MD15, a local select-side team from the Philadelphia area. Despite limited practice time and a major roster overhaul, the Mount Rugby HPA overcame a rocky first half to win 35-5. The team next faced off against a talented West Chester, Pennsylvania squad. In what would become a theme of the day, the team began slowly in the first half. Despite the slow start, the Mount Rugby HPA fought their way to a 17-5 win. After finishing 2-0 in the opening rounds with a +42 point differential, the team entered the semifinals as the #2 seed. The Mount Rugby HPA faced off against rival Archbishop Shanahan, who stopped them just short of a national title at CRCs last month. Despite another sluggish start, the team fought back to a thrilling 24-19 win on the final play of the match. They faced Berks Rugby in the championship match and overcame early mistakes to win the Surfside 7s Championship 28-19 in another exciting match.

surfside-hpa-1.jpg“I am incredibly humbled by the efforts put forth by the young men and the coaching staff of the Mount Rugby HPA team and the feat they accomplished this weekend!" said Mount St. Mary’s University Director of Men's Rugby Jay Myles. "I also want to thank our amazing university that fully supports rugby and has given us the unique possibility to provide opportunities for talented and hard-working young men!”

The Mount Rugby HPA is fully funded by the university, which means that once players are selected, they bear no expense to play with the program. This gives all players an equal opportunity to showcase their talents at the highest level of competition. This pathway also provides a unique opportunity for the university, which has taken notice of the program’s success. “The Mount’s HPA side continues to impress and winning the Surfside 7’s clearly demonstrates the commitment of our players, families and coaches to Mount Rugby’s winning mindset," said Mount Vice President of Advancement Bob Brennan. "The future of this program is very positive, and we look forward to welcoming many of our HPA players to the Mount this fall as part of the Class of 2023.”

The Mount Rugby HPA finished the season with three cup wins and a second place finish in four tournaments. The team will return to 7s action this fall, seeking to repeat as New York 7s champs.