UMaine Men’s Rugby competes in national championship May 28–30

The University of Maine Men’s Rugby Team will compete in the 2022 Collegiate Rugby Championship May 28–30 in New Orleans. 

Black Bears will participate in the small college division of the competition, which consists of 28 teams. Of the 25 UMaine team members, 16 will travel to New Orleans for the championship, also known as May Madness 7s. Eight are returning players for the UMaine team, led by team captain Shawn Nitsche of Shelton, Connecticut. 

Dale Russell, assistant director of sports clubs and youth programs, says the team qualified with an at-large bid based on its overall spring season performance. 

Black Bears have a 15–2 record this season, and recently defeated teams from Colby College; Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts; Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island; Holy Cross University in Worcester, Massachusetts; and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. 

The competition will be the first 7s national championship, meaning seven players per team competing in a game, for which the UMaine team has qualified. The last national championship the team participated in was a 15s championship in 2016, during which it finished in sixth place. 

“This is an exciting moment for rugby at UMaine,” Russell says. “Most of the players on the team missed out on a shot at a national championship run in both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, but the team wasn’t discouraged. Our athletes worked hard to represent their team and school on a national stage.”     

May Madness 7s can be watched on the CBS Sports Network and the Rugby Network. Visit the competition website for more information.