The 2015 Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) Winter season kicked off with the Beyond the Bell flag tournament on February 21st at Eagle Rock High School.
A total of 30 Elementary schools are currently taking part in the 10-week flag rugby season, with 28 returning sites and two new ones added this year. All schools are invited to take part in the two action packed tournaments, which take place during the season.
The tournament format – which is based on the HSBC Sevens World Series – saw teams play six-minute matches against five teams in their pool. All 30 teams were then ranked based on their performance and put into various finals. This ensured those finals often being decided on the final play of the game!
A similar format will be used when Rugby returns to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio in 2016.
Besides the extremely active nature of flag rugby, PRUSA’s focus is infusing rugby’s values into the coaching curriculum. These values in action are showcased at the various tournaments, with teams tasked at Saturday’s event to create a poster board explaining what the love about the sport of rugby. PRUSA staff selected the students from First Street Elementary for their excellent feedback, including “Rugby teaches you fair play, team work, responsibility and respect; it keeps you active; you get to play a sport with your friends and meet new people”.
On the field, the skill level has improved tremendously over the years with players combining superbly with their teammates throughout the tournament to score a total of 478 tries in the 90 matches that were played.
In the Fall tournaments, the top placed teams that were awarded trophies included Bushnell Way (twice), Mount Washington, First Street, Mayberry and Lorena. This time three new teams took center stage, which is extremely exciting for the development of students at the various schools involved.
Allesandro took on Buchanan in the Bowl final for 3rd place. Earlier in the day Buchanan defeated Yorkdale 2-1, Second Street 3-0, Bushnell Way 2-1, Franklin 5-2 and tied 2-2 with El Sereno. Allesandro took out Glassell Park 4-1, Los Angeles 3-0, Euclid 3-2, Lorena 4-2 and tied 3-3 with Albion.
Both teams had several exciting attacking plays, and in the end it was Allesandro who found the tryline, claiming the Bowl championship 2-0.
Cup finalists Logan were on fire defeating Garvanza 5-1, Dorris Place 5-0, Ivanhoe 4-3, Cahuenga 3-1 and Buchanan 3-1. They scored a total of 20 tries, conceding only 6, for a points different of +14.
The other Cup finalists were Annandale, who knocked out Toland Way 5-2, Dahlia Heights 4-2, Monte Vista 4-3, First Street 1-0 and tied 3-3 with Clifford. Annandale scored 17 tries, conceded 10, for a points difference of +7.
The Cup final was a thrilling affair – with both teams scoring magic team tries to tie it up on fulltime. In sudden death it was Annandale who scorched through to claim a fantastic victory and the 2015 Winter Cup title!
The Girls MVP went to Miley Ball (Annandale) and the Boys MVP to Errol King (Logan). Both students were outstanding energy givers in their squads, and helped their teams go forward.
The prestigious Spirit of Rugby Award for sportsmanship was presented to Luis Macias (Lorena) and Atlantis (Ivanhoe). These students were wonderful leaders off the field, and a shining light for their teammates.
A newer award, called the Green Card (not the one given out by the US government), is given to students who best display any of PRUSA’s values in action (Try Makers Not Try Scores, Go Forward, Switch On or Get There). Instead of issuing Yellow or Red cards, which are used in sport for discipline issues, the positive Green Card award is used by Play Rugby USA and given out by the referees. The students honored for this award were: Matthew Monijo (Dahlia Heights), Anne Oriordan (Mount Washington), Brandon Hernandez (Ramona) and Glenda Ponce (Mayberry).
View all the fantastic tournament photos by Casey Bollinger on PRUSA’s Flickr account.
Massive thanks to the PRUSA staff who helped at this tournament: Julia Notar, Casey Bollinger (Santa Monica Women’s RFC), Yesenia Medina (Up2Us), Barnaby Audsley, Fernando Zepeda (Occidental Men’s RFC), Augustin Brajeux (Santa Monica Beachboks), Mathieu Lesgourgues (Santa Monica Men’s RFC), Gabriel del Campo and Harrison Herndon (Los Angeles RFC).
Beyond the Bell Elementary Winter Tournament Results (Eagle Rock)
Cup Champions: Annandale
Plate Champions: Logan
Bowl Champions: Allesandro
Participating Elementary sites: Albion, Allesandro, Annandale, Buchanan, Bushnell Way, Cahuenga, Clifford, Dahlia Heights, Dorris Place, El Sereno, Euclid, First Street, Franklin, Garvanza, Glassell Park, Ivanhoe, Lockwood, Logan, Lorena, Los Angeles, Malabar, Mayberry, Micheltorena, Monte Vista, Mount Washington, Norwood, Ramona, Second Street, Sierra Park, Toland Way, Yorkdale.
2015 Tournament Schedule – Los Angeles
February 21: Beyond The Bell Elementary School Tournament featuring 30 Teams (Eagle Rock High School)
March 28: Beyond The Bell Middle School Tournament featuring 18 Sites with 36 Teams
Location: Wright Middle School at 6550 W. 80th Street, Los Angeles, 90045 CA 90005
Time: 9.30AM – 1.30PM
April 18: Beyond The Bell Elementary School Tournament featuring 30 Teams
Location: Eagle Rock High School at 1750 Yosemite Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Time: 9.00AM – 1.00PM
May 2: LA Rugby Cup featuring 56 Teams at Mark Twain Middle School (Venice)
Time: 9.00AM – 1.30PM
Teams taking part will include 8 High School Teams (EduCare) and 48 Middle School Teams (After-School All-Stars & Beyond The Bell)
Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) was founded by Mark Griffin in New York City in 2003, and with it’s mission of ‘Developing Youth Through Rugby’ the program has spread to Los Angeles in 2010 and San Francisco in 2012.
The LA program has grown from 6 to 125 schools over the past five years, serving an estimated 2,500 students annually. These are exciting times for the sport, especially with Rugby returning to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio in 2016.
PRUSA works with after school programs After-School All-Stars (ASAS), the Sheriff Youth Academies League (YAL), Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), Summer Night Lights (SNL), LA’s Best and Beyond the Bell (BTB).