MERLINA SAN NICOLAS | Sports Editor
The Lindenwood men’s rugby team won the 2019 Penn Mutual Collegiate Rugby Championships for the second year in a row on Sunday afternoon, becoming the only men’s team in history to win back-to-back national championships.
Carrying the momentum from last week’s three-peat win at the USA Rugby 7’s, the Lions defeated long-time rival Life University in the finals with a 21-12 score at the Talen Energy Stadium in Pennsylvania, making this year the first time in program history the Lions have won both the USA Rugby 7’s and CRC 7’s.
Senior Wesley White kicked off the championship match with an impressive 80-meter run for a try, converted by Cristian Rodriguez for a seven-point lead.
Going into the last minutes of the match either team was able to score, but the Lions forced a turnover to seal the victory.
White capped off his time as a Lindenwood rugby player with two Most Valuable Player honors in two weeks.
“I haven’t really been a 7’s player, so to be awarded that back to back and be the only player to do it is special,” White said.
The MVP honors were presented by the family of Mark Dombroski, a rugby player that passed away in a car accident two years ago.
“To have his family give the award to me felt really special,” White said.
White added that winning their third USA Rugby 7’s in a row and then the CRC 7’s this week, twice in a row, is very special.
“Not many teams have done that, it gets a little emotional knowing I won’t be able to share those memories again [with teammates] but you know those are the ones we will cherish,” White said. “It was sad that we had to say goodbye to each other at the airport knowing that some of my friends that I have played with won’t be coming back to Lindenwood, but that’s why it is such a special moment, to win it for them, we grinded and became national champions two years in a row and that can never be taken away from us.”
The Lions road to the championship match was flawless as the Lions swept their three pool play matches against Temple University, Clemson University and Virginia Tech.
Going into the quarterfinals, the Lions defeated Iona College with a 19-7 score. In the semifinals, the Lions faced Kutztown University and earned their ticket to the finals with a 30-12 win.
The Lions finished their season with a 32-5 record and a winning streak of twelve matches in a row.
Correction: a previous version stated that the men’s rugby team had won the triple crown for the first time in the program history. The Lions fell in the semifinals of the 15’s national championship.