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The 2016/2017 Play Rugby USA (PRUSA) LA Middle School season ended recently with a superb tournament on Saturday January 28 at Esteban Torres High School in East Los Angeles.

The school sites that participated in Flag Rugby over the past 12-weeks included: Burbank, Burroughs, Eagle Rock, Emerson, Griffith, Irving, King, Pacoima, Stevenson, Virgil, Wilmington and YOKA.

PRUSA sent Youth Development Mentors (YDM’s) to all 12 locations for one 90-minute rugby session per week to ensure all Beyond the Bell staff were able to deliver the ‘Give Rugby A Try’ and ‘Team Rugby’ curriculums. Leading up to this tournament – PRUSA attended 120 sessions with over 400 students experiencing flag rugby and it’s values – with the average attendance being 15-20 young boys and girls.

View all the tournament photos here!

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The Girls Middle School tournament took place on 19 November 2016, while some returned to take part in the Boys tournament making it a fantastic co-ed event! This tournament – which was based on the format of the HSBC Sevens World Series – saw round robin matches in various pools with all teams making finals depending on their rankings.

Each squad played twice against the three teams in their pool. Following that, teams were then ranked from 1 through 12 based on their performance and put into various finals, ensuring some nail biting finishes! Each team played a total of 7 matches, lasting 70 minutes in total.

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Pool A

Emerson Blue: 15 Points – 5 Wins, 1 Draw (Scored 22 Tries / Conceded 12 Tries)

Stevenson: 14 Points – 4 Wins, 2 Losses (Scored 23 Tries / Conceded 18 Tries)

Pool B

Emerson: 18 Points – 6 Wins (Scored 28 Tries / Conceded 6 Tries)

Burbank Red: 14 Points – 4 Wins, 2 Losses (Scored 19 Tries / Conceded 12 Tries)

Pool C

Pacoima Red: 18 Points – 6 Wins (Scored 26 Tries / Conceded 9 Tries)

King: 14 Points – 4 Wins, 2 Losses (Scored 18 Tries / Conceded 16 Tries)

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The three pools saw some very high level skills on display, with the top 2 teams in each division highlighted above. A mammoth 212 tries were scored during the 36 pool matches, an average of 5 per game.

The anticipated finals then saw 55 more tries bring scored by the 12 teams. The November 19 tournament had 243 tries scored at the Girls event – added to the 267 from this one equals an amazing 510 tries!

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Co-Ed Middle School January 28 Tournament Results

Cup Final: Emerson RED 7-1 Pacoima RED

Plate Final: Burbank RED 5-4 Emerson BLUE

Bowl Final: Stevenson 5-3 King

Shield Final: YOKA 6-5 Burbank BLUE

King Final: Pacoima BLUE 5-3 Irving

Star Final: Wilmington 3-2 Griffith

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The Finals – like always – came down to either the last play of the match or some went into sudden death overtime! This meant that one of the teams would score after time had elapsed to seal a famous victory. Emerson went on to win the LA Fall Cup tournament – adding yet another trophy to their cabinet – while Burbank took the Plate final. Pacoima was superb during the pool rounds, and showcased some great talent, in particular their female star Gabriela Marroqoin who was chosen as one of the MVP’s during the tournament!

Massive congratulations to all the sites that took part this season – and to the 100 students that participated in the super exciting end-of-season event.

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The Most Value Players (MVP) for the tournament were Jeremy Malchor (Stevenson), Andreri Gutierrez (Burbank), Gerald Jaster (Wilmington), Zach Bronson (Emerson) and Gabriela Marroqoin (Pacoima). These sleek sensations were awarded a Canterbury of North America rugby ball.

Several skilled players were noticed by staff from Beyond the Bell & Play Rugby USA for their sportsmanship: Isaha Lightfoot (King), Maribel Vasquez (Irving), Jair Gabriel (Griffith), Dante Espinoza & Alejandro Perez (Burbank), Chris Ramos & Isaac Abrego (Emerson) and Jonathon Aquino (Pacoima).

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Special thanks to the PRUSA staff who helped so far this season: Barnaby Audsley, Samir Gongolli & Will Ayers (Occidental Rugby), Matt Raba & Harrison Herndon (Pasadena RFC), Peter Sio (Belmont Shore RFC), Morgan Saout & Geraldo Lopez (Santa Monica RFC) and Ann Hoang (UCSB Rugby).

For more information visit Play Rugby USA (www.playrugbyusa.com) and Beyond the Bell (http://btb.lausd.net/home). PRUSA would like to thank the sensational LA84 Foundation (www.la84.org) for all their support in expanding rugby to Elementary, Middle and High School boys and girls across Los Angeles.

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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 135 schools over the past six years, serving an estimated 3,500 students annually.

PRUSA works with after school programs After-School All-Stars (ASAS), the Sheriff Youth Academies League (YAL), Police Academies League (PAL), Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), Summer Night Lights (SNL), LA’s Best, Beyond the Bell (BTB). Woodcraft Rangers and the EduCare Foundation.

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Stay updated on the San Francisco and Los Angeles program by liking our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

 The annual LA Rugby Cup – held in conjunction with BritWeek – will take place on Saturday May 13 from 8.00am to 2.00pm with the venue to be confirmed. This tournament will showcase schools from various Elementary, Middle and High School programs from Beyond the Bell, After-School All-Stars and the EduCare Foundation.

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