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Four Fallbrook boys become national rugby champions

 

Last updated 6/27/2013 at Noon

From left, Fallbrook rugby coach James Cross and players Ian Crilly, Steven Branham, Landon Benner, and Sierra Arteaga pose for a photo with the tournament cup after sweeping the competition June 15 and 16 at the Colorado Rocky Mountain Challenge Rugby tournament.

FALLBROOK – As part of the Southern California JV Griffins Elite Rugby Team, four Fallbrook High School sophomores competed last weekend, June 15 and 16, at the Colorado Rocky Mountain Challenge Rugby tournament and dominated the fields with their teammates to become the national champions among teams from across the nation.

The four boys had to go through rigorous try outs against boys from southern and some northern parts of California. The boys, wing Sierra Arteaga, wing Landon Benner, prop and hooker Steven Branham and forward Ian Crilly should be commended for their dedication and hard work not only in making the team, but for playing their hardest in the Rocky Mountain Challenge Tournament.

During the tournament The Griffins scored a total of 205 points while only having 5 points scored against them. The following scores reflect the stamina, courage, and selfless play demonstrated time and time again on the field; but what the score cannot reflect was the way these players represented Southern California with a level of maturity and sportsmanship which everyone can be proud of.

Friday Game 1: SoCal Griffins 39, Rugby Colorado 0

Friday Game 2: SoCal Griffins 49, Texas 5

Saturday Game 3: SoCal Griffins 58, Heart of America 0

Saturday Game 4: SoCal Griffins 59, Wisconsin 0

To directly quote one of the High School All American selectors “The JV’s were untouched and a class above the rest.”

Steven Branham, Griffins captain, defends against the Heart of America team.

The Southern California Griffins started in 2006 with a mission to produce top rugby players from Southern California for USA Rugby. They have since travelled to several national and international elite-level tournaments and have enjoyed success winning the 2012 and now 2013 Rocky Mountain Challenge and the 2013 Las Vegas Invitational Youth 7’s.

The Fallbrook boys will now compete for the Griffins 7’s elite Southern California team. In mid-July, Sierra, Landon, Steven and Ian will head to British Columbia to compete in their next tournament!

The Griffins coaches, Allen Andrews (head coach), Henry Bloomfield, James Cross, Sammy Gonzales, Dean Raby and Jason Raven are appreciated for their hard work and dedication to the team and its four Fallbrook boys.

 

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