ACRC Bowl Series a Smashing Success

Ten games, 20 teams, hundreds of spectators, worldwide coverage: The ACRC Bowl Series brought the very best in collegiate rugby to the Rugby Athletic Center in Charlotte this past weekend. 

The event kicked off Friday afternoon with a high school game pitting local teams North Meck and William A. Hough, followed by a close-fought match between Iona and Boston College that saw the BC Eagles come out on top. Rugby under the lights continued with the N.C. State Wolfpack vanquishing the Renegades of Texas State. 

Things were just heating up as sunny skies greeted a full day of elite rugby competition on Saturday. The day started with Western Michigan falling to the Life University Eagles and AIC pulling out a dramatic win over Bowling Green before a roaring crowd.   

In the afternoon it was Kutztown over Michigan and, in another dramatic and thrilling contest, Stony Brook eking out the victory over West Virginia.

UMass won convincingly against North Texas before one of the weekend’s most highly-anticipated games: Life vs Army. Before a packed house and online audience enjoying lively play-by-play from Next Level Rugby’s Ryan Ginty, the Running Eagles defeated the cadets of West Point in a game widely considered the de-facto ACRC championship. 

And still it was not over. The Bowl Series’ final game saw ACRL champs Clemson and SCRC champs South Carolina battle it out in what was dubbed the Palmetto Bowl, the most dramatic meeting ever between South Carolina’s two best college rugby squads. When the dust settled it was Clemson holding the Dudley DeGroot Trophy before cheering fans. 

As the Rugby Athletic Center emptied out on a brisk November night in Charlotte, all agreed the event, the format, the venue, the athletes and fans showcased the very best in collegiate rugby. With no better way to cap an exciting fall college 15s season, talk immediately turned to next year and the Bowl Series as an important new institution for this growing sport.