The 2015 Los Angeles Rugby Cup on May 2nd – held again in conjunction with the fantastic BritWeek celebration – saw a record 350 students in attendance. Webster Middle School – home of the Santa Monica RFC Dolfins – hosted the 40 teams, which consisted of boys, girls and co-ed squads from the Beyond the Bell, After-School All-Stars and EduCare programs.
Play Rugby USA Los Angeles has experienced tremendous growth since it’s inaugural season in 2011, expanding from 6 to 125 elementary and middle schools over the last four years. In 2015 the program took the next step in completing the player pathway by introducing flag rugby to four schools through the EduCare Foundation program. These schools received co-coaching from a PRUSA Mentor over a 6-week pilot season, culminating in the LA Rugby Cup tournament. The average participation numbers for these training sessions were 15-20 students, with the highest being 44 on one afternoon!
This year’s fourth annual LA Rugby Cup also featured over 30 middle schools, the majority of those from Beyond the Bell, who have successfully adopted the train-the-trainer method to ensure that more of their staff are able to deliver the effective Play Rugby USA ‘Give Rugby A Try’ and ‘Team Rugby’ curriculums. Our longest partnership has been with the After-School All-Stars, and their 8 schools produced some brilliant rugby during the tournament.
An impressive 175 girls and 175 boys played in this tournament, with each student playing 6 flag rugby matches, totaling 45 minutes of non-stop action. The match format – based on the popular Sevens World Series – saw teams play seven-minute games against five teams in their pool. All teams were then ranked based on their performance and put into various finals, matching their competitiveness against each other. A record 725 tries were scored during the LA Rugby Cup!
High School Girls: EduCare
Esteban E. Torres stormed through the pool rounds undefeated, setting up a Cup Final with Bell Senior. The match showcased some outstanding team play, with Esteban E. Torres scoring 6 tries to 1, capping off a wonderful tournament. Bell Senior took home the Plate trophy with their only losses coming from Esteban E. Torres.
In the Bowl Final it was West Adams Preparatory who defeated a combined team 3-0 to finish the tournament on a high.
Cup Champions (1st Place): Esteban E. Torres (26 Tries)
Plate Champions (2nd Place): Bell Senior (15 Tries)
Bowl Champions (3rd Place): West Adams Preparatory (9 Tries)
High School Boys: EduCare
Esteban E. Torres and Jordan Senior went head-to-head in the pool rounds, with a nail biting finish seeing them ranked 1 and 2 after the initial matches. The Cup Final was another high scoring affair, with Esteban E. Torres scorching through to win the inaugural event 5-3 against Jordan Senior.
The Bowl Final also went down to the wire, with West Adams Preparatory holding on for a superb 4-3 victory over Bell Senior.
Cup Champions (1st Place): Esteban E. Torres (21 Tries)
Plate Champions (2nd Place): Jordan Senior (15 Tries)
Bowl Champions (3rd Place): West Adams Preparatory (14 Tries)
Shield Champions (4th Place): Bell Senior (12 Tries)
Co-Ed Middle Schools: After-School All-Stars
The level of talent on display was superb to watch, with the After-School All-Star students combining nicely with their teammates throughout the 24 matches in this division. Only one or two tries separated many of the teams, setting up some barn burning finals.
Griffith was the only unbeaten team after the pool rounds, and kept their record in tact with a masterful Cup Final victory, defeating ICEF Vista 5-4 in a thrilling encounter! In the Plate Final it was SUVA who ran in some excellent scores, taking out Crown Prep 5-3. LALA and Skirball were involved in one of the best games of the tournament, scoring a record 13 tries between them. In the end it was LALA who claimed the Bowl Final with a score of 7-6 in sudden death. O’Donovan won the Shield Final 6-4 against Stella 5/6 in another entertaining clash.
1st Place: Griffith (28 Tries)
2nd Place: ICEF Vista (29 Tries)
3rd Place: SUVA (28 Tries)
4th Place: Crown Prep (24 Tries)
5th Place: LALA (25 Tries)
6th Place: Skirball (26 Tries)
7th Place: O’Donovan (20 Tries)
8th Place: Stella 5/6 (18 Tries)
Middle School Girls: Beyond the Bell
The ten middle schools taking part scored a total of 140 tries in the pools rounds, highlighting the skills that the students have been working on during the spring season. Two teams in the girls and the boys divisions also epitomized the ideals of rugby and combined their players so that each could field a side.
Emerson and Burbank – who both brought two teams to the tournament – stormed into the Cup Final. The match was hotly contested, and Emerson ended up scoring a 4-2 win and thus claimed back-to-back LA Rugby Cup titles!
Hollenbeck finished off a wonderful day with a 5-1 victory over Emerson Red to claim the Plate Final. Nightingale also finished strongly thanks to a 4-0 result against a combined King/Dodson outfit. Burbank Blue rounded out this division with a 4-3 victory over Sepulveda, while Dodson/King took out Portola 3-0.
1st Place: Emerson Blue (28 Tries)
2nd Place: Burbank Red (21 Tries)
3rd Place: Hollenbeck (19 Tries)
4th Place: Emerson Red (19 Tries)
5th Place: Nightingale (18 Tries)
6th Place: King / Dodson (12 Tries)
7th Place: Burbank Blue (15 Tries)
8th Place: Sepulveda (11 Tries)
9th Place: Dodson / King (7 Tries)
10th Place: Portola (15 Tries)
Middle School Boys: Beyond the Bell
The highest number of teams were in this division, creating a very competitive finish to an amazing season. The Cup Final was decided in sudden death with an unbelievable team try from Emerson Blue, defeating Burbank 5-4. Pacoima produced some magic and took the Plate Final 2-1 against Emerson Red. In the Bowl Final it was Nightingale who stormed through with a 5-3 win against Pio Pico. Dodson also went into extra time in their Shield Final thriller against a combined Byrd/Irving squad, winning 5-4. That same Irving/Byrd squad then defeated Hollenbeck to claim the Cup Consolation Final 4-3. Burbank Red went on to defeat Portola 5-4 in the Plate Consolation Final.
1st Place: Emerson Blue (30 Tries)
2nd Place: Burbank (35 Tries)
3rd Place: Pacoima (24 Tries)
4th Place: Emerson Red (12 Tries)
5th Place: Nightingale (29 Tries)
6th Place: Pio Pico (15 Tries)
7th Place: Dodson (23 Tries)
8th Place: Byrd / Irving (15 Tries)
9th Place: Irving / Byrd (19 Tries)
10th Place: Hollenbeck (17 Tries)
11th Place: Burbank Red (24 Tries)
12th Place: Portola (12 Tries)
13th Place: YOKA (19 Tries)
For this tournament, PRUSA tasked each coach to nominate a player from their team that embodies the values learnt through our flag rugby program.
The following players received a PRUSA rugby shirt: Janelle Lopez (Burbank), Julian Martinex (Burnank), Pacoima (Robert Valdez), Andrew Berrueco (Dodson), Amberlyn F (Dodson), Boni Carreon (Pio Pico), Ivan Zambraner (Hollenbeck), Yesenia Barreto (Hollenbeck), Justin Frutiz (Byrd), Rafael Mena (Irving), Anthony Martinez (Sepulveda), Krisaluz Medrand (King), Angela Vicente (King), Kaelyn Campbell (Emerson), Bruce Iamamoto (Emerson), Ron Lima (West Adams), Jayaira Mendieta (West Adams), Michael Amaya (Jordan Senior), Claudia Iraheta (Jordan Senior), Kelvin Chong (Bell Senior), Maria Hernandez (Bell Senior), Victor Gonzalez (Esteban E Torres), Joyce Perez (Esteban E Torres).
The After-School All-Stars MVPs: Amarea Lewis (Skirball), Jaylin Harris (Crown Prep), Anias Carillo (ICEF Vista), Abner Alfaro (O’Donovan), Daniel Medrano (SUVA), Brian Perez (Griffith), Diego Macias (LALA), Antonio Juarez (Stella 5/6)
The After-School All-Stars sportsmanship awards went to: Joshua Mckenzie and Marcos Rodriguez (Skirball), Jonathan Ruiz and Nester Perez (Crown Prep), Johnatan Flores and Brandon Amara (ICEF Vista), Daniel Gatcia and Joshon Perry (O’Donovan), Larry Velasquez and Adrian Rangel (SUVA), Rudy Ibarra and Angel Quinonez (Griffith), Erick Mojica and Claudio Rodriguez (LALA), Christian Charlie and Tremaine Walker (Stella 5/6).
View all the tournament photos by Paul Peytavin on our PRUSA Flickr Account as well as those taken by Rene Merideth/Red Dragon Mgmt (which can be downloaded for free using the code PlayRugbyUSA at checkout: select your photos then ‘digital download’ and add to your shopping cart). Special thanks to Paul and Rene for capturing these priceless moments!
Another massive thank you is due to the Pasadena Women’s Rugby volunteers that assisted during this tournament – including Monica Au Yeung, Marlena Gomez, Anna Jimenez, Jessica Ricks and Clarissa Uribe. Visit the Pasadena ladies online: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Website. Dave Pett – from the Pasadena Men’s Rugby program was also on hand to help during the event.
Two new Play Rugby USA supporters have provided us with some superb prizes for students that display our values in action – such as ‘Try Makers Not Try Scorers’, ‘Play What You See’, ‘Get There’ and ‘Go Forward’. These wonderful organizations are MOBOT and Re:Mind Recover.
PRUSA would also like to thank the sensational LA84 Foundation for all their support, as well as the amazing staff at Beyond the Bell, After-School All-Stars and EduCare.
About Play Rugby USA: The non-profit organization was founded by Mark Griffin, MBE, 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.
These are exciting times for the sport, especially with Rugby returning to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Additionally the success of USA Rugby’s Men & Women’s 7s teams means there is a strong chance the Eagles might medal at the Olympics.
The Los Angeles PRUSA program has grown from 6 to 125 schools over the past five years, serving an estimated 2,500 students annually. With it’s first High School pilot season just completed, programming is now available for Elementary, Middle and High School participants. 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), Beyond the Bell (BTB) and the EduCare Foundation.