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Mount St. Mary’s Men’s Rugby Team Wins National Championship

Donna Klinger

Championship team photo

The CRC Nationals 7s champions; photos by Tyler Kraft

The Mount St. Mary's University men’s rugby team won its second-ever national championship April 30 as the team defeated Indiana University 19-5 in the title match of the Premier Division of the Collegiate Rugby Championships (CRC) 7's National Tournament at the Maryland Soccerplex in Boyds, Maryland.

Photo Gallery

rugby-celebration-in-text.jpgThe Mount last won a national championship in 2016 in the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) tournament. Following that win, the team moved to the highest level of competition, D1-AA, and competed in the Chesapeake Collegiate Rugby Conference (CCRC) for several years. The team joined the powerhouse Rugby East Conference in 2022.

During the weekend tournament, the Mount shut out the University of Michigan and held Adrian College, Wheeling University, Belmont Abbey College and Indiana University to a single try each (5 points). The closest game came against Wheeling with the Mount taking the match 7-5. In addition to the Mount’s stellar defense, led by stalwarts Jude Fangmeyer and Hayden McKay, the rainy weather conditions may have dampened the scores. The team focused on creating pressure and forcing opponents to perform under pressure.

rugby-score-in-text.jpgChris Cleland, who scored four tries in the match with Michigan and played strongly throughout the tournament, was named championship Most Valuable Player. Jude Fangmeyer had a hat trick in the final match, scoring all three tries. Bastian Brunello helped drive the attack.

Head Coach Jay Myles credits the national championship to the “incredible bond and brotherhood” that the team has developed this year. “Our ethos matches that of the university as a welcoming and supportive family where students develop as ethical leaders. We are there to support each other through the most difficult times and the high successes like this championship.”

mount-rugby-crowd-in-text.jpgMount fans, including students, alumni and parents, also helped the team capture the championship. “We had a loud and vivacious crowd, and the team fed on it. The positive energy lit them up and helped them get through the dark times in the title game,” said Myles, who also thanked the university, players’ families and students for supporting and believing in the team.

The championship capped off a dream undefeated 15s spring season for the Mount. The team chalked up wins against University of Mary Washington, West Chester University, Bowling Green University, Pennsylvania State University and the Naval Academy. To prepare for the CRC national 7s tournament, the team played in two tournaments, earning a record of 4-2.

rugby-bonds.jpgThe roster for the CRC tournament included Brunello, Cleland, Evan Corbett, Fangmeyer, Hunter Hertzog, Kiahi Horan, Fin Hughes, Damon James, DJ Johnson, Shemar Lewis, McKay, Cornelius Nagbe, Declan O’Loughlin, Joe Sharrock, James Stelluti and Dylan Van Stry. In addition to Myles, the team is coached by Kyle Powers and Chet Rockwood.  Mike Williams, C’01, joined the coaching staff for this tournament to tune up the team for 7s play.

The young team is only graduating three players, James, Nagbe and Van Stry. James will continue to play for the Mount as a graduate student. McKay, a dual U.S. and New Zealand citizen, will play on the U.S. national under-20s side this summer, with hopes of playing in the International Trophy Cup.

Donna Klinger