Claremont Colleges Lions win rugby national championship

For the second time in three seasons, the Claremont Colleges Lions men’s rugby team won the National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) 15s national championship. The Lions defeated Christendom College, 57-17, on April 28 in Albany, N.Y., in the Champions Cup finals, after besting St. John’s University (Minnesota), 49-12, in the semifinals.

This marked the fourth-straight season the Lions have competed in the national championship match for 15s, having been champions in 2017, and runner-up in 2016 and 2018. The team is now the reigning NSCRO 7s and 15s national champion and will have the opportunity to defend its 7s title in Philadelphia, May 31-June 2.

“The success this season came as a complete surprise to me,” head coach Jeremy Ognall said. “The character shown by our young men and the leadership that developed throughout the team despite the loss of our captain Conner Pederson (CMC ’20) to an injury was incredible. The performances in the four national playoff matches were unparalleled.”

Six Lions were named to the All-Tournament 15s Team including Most Valuable Player Chance Sears (CMC ’21). Brian Wahl (CMC ’19), Frankie Rayis (CMC ’20), Lucas Hackett-Provenzano (Pomona ’22), Ethan Takeyama (CMC ’21), and Matthew Grundlingh (CMC ’21) were each named to the All-Tournament team.

—Chris Watts