The Women’s 7s competitions will kick into high gear during the month of April. There will be two qualification tournaments for the Premier Cup in New Orleans and eight automatic qualifiers for Division I Club.
Premier Cup Qualifiers
On April 2, Boise State University will host the first Premier Cup qualifier on the road to the May Madness 7s Tournament. This will be the Boise State women’s team’s revival season after a long hiatus. The tournament has no clear favorite as it hosts many teams who have never played each other before including new team Cal Maritime, and New Mexico State University.
The following weekend, Life University will host the second Premier Cup Qualifier. Kennesaw State University and the College of Charleston are looking for a spot in New Orleans. Life University, a finalist last season, and Clemson University will also be in attendance, but both have already qualified for the CRC.
Division I Club Qualifiers
In the Great Lakes 7s tournament, scheduled for April 2, Grand Valley State University is the favorite to win, as they won the conference in the fall . Look out for Saginaw Valley State University to make a run to win, with their new coach and conference commissioner, Jasmine Day.
The Upstate New York 7s tournament will be held on April 3 at St. Bonaventure. Colgate University is the favorite after their success in their first season in Division I this fall. Watch All Americans Sara Neubecker and Sophie Shaffer to lead the way for Colgate all spring.
An interesting mix of teams will attend the Ohio Valley Conference Championships on April 9. Purdue University just joined the conference And, they are top contenders for the qualifying spot, but Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis should not be overlooked. IUPUI won the Ohio Valley 7s Championship in the fall, so they have been playing 7s all year.
Also on April 9, Bryant University and Roger Williams University will compete at the Rugby Northeast 7s tournament. Bryant went to the CRCs last year and has a great 7s resume. On the other hand, Roger Williams did well in the fall playoffs. The tournament should be well-contested.
Three key conference championships are scheduled for April 23. In the Midwest conference, conference powerhouse University of Northern Iowa has already qualified for the Premier Cup, so a new champion will be crowned. Watch out for Iowa State University and Minnesota as they battle to be next in line for qualification.
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire is looking like a top contender in the Great Waters tournament after they unexpectedly won the Minnesota 7s tournament. Other than UWEC, Marquette University placed fourth 15s Nationals and have three All Americans leading them this spring. With 7s, however, it can be anybody's game. Great Waters has a strong conference from top to bottom so it will be exciting to watch.
This is the first time MidAmerica will host a 7s qualifier tournament in a region where 15s dominates the schedule. However, several universities are jumping at the opportunity: Maryville University, University of Arkansas, and University of Mizzouri are filling their schedules preparing for the conference championship. Keep an eye out for the young Maryville squad as they are hungry to win.
The Division I qualification schedule ends with the Allegheny Conference Championship on April 30. Notre Dame College has already qualified for the Premier pool, so Kent State University leads the pack for the qualifying spot. However, other conference teams like Youngstown State have athletes so watch out for a potential upset.
Credit for cover photo: Shad Anderson