On Saturday December 6th, Bell Gardens Intermediate in East Los Angeles hosted 100 Middle School students for the 2014 After-School All-Stars (ASAS) Fall Cup.
The ASAS program was one of the first to partner with Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) in Los Angeles, and have had over 30 sites take part in flag rugby over the past five years.
During this event, about 50 new players had the opportunity to take the field in several exciting matches. The tournament format – based on the extremely successful HSBC Sevens World Series – saw teams play six-minute matches against five teams in their pool. All 12 teams were then ranked based on their performance and put into various finals.
For this tournament, PRUSA mentors tasked each team with defining what one of our values means to them, both on and off the field. The value was ‘Camaraderie’ with all squads submitting very insightful answers. Our staff selected La Merced Intermediate (LMI) School as the team who best expressed these values in their feedback.
“When you work together using teamwork and maintain a positive attitude. Continue to give motivation and keep your spirit going. The camaraderie on the LMI team is described as helping each other and trusting each other’s instincts.” – La Merced Intermediate.
All teams fielded co-ed teams, with flag rugby being one of the few sports that this can be done safely and effectively. In total 36 matches were played during the tournament, with each student running for an average of 30 non-stop minutes. The action on display was fantastic, with so many pool round matches decided on the final play of the game!
The Bowl Final (3rd Place) saw CRMA #4 take on Skirball in a hotly contested clash. Skirball struck first, but CRMA #4 danced through the defense to score on fulltime, taking the match into ‘sudden death’. A brilliant sidestep led to a try, giving Skirball the title, and Bowl trophy!
The Cup Final was another classic.
Griffith went through unbeaten in their pool with wins over CRMA #12 (3-0), LMI (4-1), BGI (3-1), Crown Prep (2-0) and Skirball (2-1). They scored 14 tries, conceding 3.
Edison – who must be commended for their sportsmanship throughout the event – also reached the Cup Final with five wins in their pool including: Stella (2-0), CRMA #4 (3-0), Southeast (4-0), O’Donovan (3-0) and ICEF Vista (4-2). Edison only conceded 2 tries, and scored 16 times.
Both teams produced some brilliant plays, resulting in another tie (2-2) on fulltime. The referee then announced ‘sudden death’ with the next team to score winning the match. It was Griffith who took possession and used some slick passing to scorch through for the winner!
The tournament MVP Awards went to Anias Camarillo from ICEF Vista and Blake Green from Skirball.
The prestigious Spirit of Rugby Award for sportsmanship was presented to Deijanei Johnson (Skirball / LMI) and Gerrod Milton (CRMA #4). Instead of a yellow or red card issued for discipline issues, a positive award was given out in the form of a ‘green card’. The recipient for this was Rafael Araiza from hosts BGI.
View all the tournament photos here from Casey Bollinger.
The remaining PRUSA LA fall tournament schedule includes –
December 20th: Beyond the Bell Co-Ed Elementary Schools (30 Teams)
PRUSA would like to thank the marvelous LA84 Foundation for all their support, as well as the superb After-School All-Stars program and staff. Stay updated on the San Francisco and Los Angeles program by liking our Facebook and Twitter pages.
After-School All-Stars Co-Ed Middle School Fall Tournament Results (BGI)
Cup Champions: Griffith
Plate Champions: Edison
Bowl Champions: Skirball
Participating Middle School sites: Southeast, Griffith, Skirball, CRMA #4, CRMA #12, Crown Prep, Stella, BGI, O’Donovan, LMI, ICEF Vista, Edison.
About Play Rugby USA: The non-profit 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 115 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 LA’s Best, After-School All-Stars (ASAS), the Sheriff Youth Academies League (YAL), Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), Summer Night Lights (SNL), and Beyond the Bell (BTB).