Ten D1A teams vie for West Coast Sevens supremacy

D1A Rugby: Ten D1A teams vie for West Coast Sevens supremacy
Photo Credit: Karen Drinkwater

LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The West Coast Sevens tournament is not only one of the most competitive collegiate sevens tournaments of the fall, but of the entire year. Now in its sixth year of existence, this year’s Oct. 8 West Coast Sevens in San Louis Obispo, Calif., has lined up its most talented pool of teams yet.

Of the 12 teams competing over four pools, 11 of the schools come from D1A Rugby. The PAC Rugby Conference will be well represented with Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC all gunning for spots in the Cup Semifinals. The PAC has a good shot at playing in the Cup Final, too, as Cal (2015) and UCLA (2013-14) have combined to win the previous three West Coast Sevens tournaments.

The other five teams from D1A Rugby represent the California Conference. Headlined by 2016 College 7s National Champions Saint Mary’s, Cal Poly, San Diego State, Santa Clara and UC Santa Barbara will also be contention for a first-place finish, which comes with an invitation to the 2017 USA Rugby College 7s National Championships.

The two lone non-D1A squads competing in San Louis Obispo will be reigning back-to-back D1AA National Champion UC Davis and up-and-coming Gold Coast Conference side Grand Canyon University.

Andrew Doukas, who has organized the yearly tournament since its inception in 2011, believes this year’s field is one of the best he’s seen and has potential to be fiercely contested based on the amount of times these schools play against each other during the year.

“This will be a very competitive collegiate sevens event and possible contentious due to the rivalries going for dominance on the West Coast.”

Cal and Saint Mary’s seem like viable options to label as tournament favorites. Cal won the event a year ago, although the Gaels didn’t participate in 2015, and eventually won the Collegiate Rugby Championship sevens tournament. Saint Mary’s is coming off its own major tournament victory after getting past American International College in the Cup Final of this past May’s College 7s National Championships.

Arizona State is worth keeping an eye on, as well. The Sun Devils reached the Cup Semifinals at College 7s five months ago and more recently lost to Lindenwood in the Final of the Red Bull Uni 7s tournament.

All of the teams eyeing a West Coast Sevens title, minus Stanford, will also be competing at another massively competitive college sevens field on Treasure Island in San Francisco Oct. 22-23.