The Midwest kicked off their 7s season over the weekend, and set the stage for an exciting qualification series.
Despite less than ideal field conditions, the Midwest 7s Qualifier season kicked off this past weekend, with a successful Firehouse 7s tournament, hosted by the Chicago Blaze. A longstanding tradition, the tournament spanned over 12 hours of solid rugby across three dedicated rugby pitches. With more over 30 teams participating in total, Firehouse undoubtedly hosted a variety of talent through the qualifier, social, and even hippo divisions.
In the men's bracket, twelve teams filled out three highly competitive pools. In the first, Metropolis A side quickly set themselves apart with three wins followed by the Chicago Lions A side with two wins. The second pool featured a dominant Cincinnati side with the Chicago Blaze advancing out of pool play as well. And in the final pool, both Milwaukee and Chicago Lions B side beat out the competition. At the end of the day, a series of playoff games left Cincinnati with a third place standing over Milwaukee and Metropolis' top side narrowly beating out the Chicago Lion's A-side for the championship. And although neither made it to the semifinal round, new teams Legacy Academy and Cleveland Academy showcased some young talent that will be something to keep an eye on as the season advances.
On the women's side, a number of new teams filled out the two brackets, making this the largest women's bracket in the tournament's history. Long-time contenders, Chicago Lions and newcomers, Chicago Northshore advanced from the first bracket while a strong Metropolis and dominating Cincinnati rounded out the playoff contenders. Metro was able to beat out the Lions in the semifinals, though, and rally to beat Cincinnati in the championship despite an earlier loss to the Ohio team. The Lion's then narrowly beat out North Shore to take the third place trophy. Although newcomers to the sevens scene, Legacy Academy showcased some exceptional talent beating out an improved Grand Rapids in pool play.
Given the results of this weekend, the next two qualifiers will surely be exciting to watch with the favorites for the Midwest Championships still far from decided.