The Gonzaga University rugby football club had a successful trip to the Northwest Collegiate Rugby Conference 7s championships and national qualifying tournament last weekend at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Ore.
The Bulldogs, coached by Jon Reisinger and Drew Meuer, playing up a division, finished sixth in the 12-team field that was loaded with Division I schools. It’s the highest finish ever for a non-Division I team, Reisinger said.
Reisinger noted that Gonzaga primarily competes in Rugby Union 15s competition and had never won a competitive 7s match. (Sevens, where teams play with seven players as opposed to the more-usual 15-player teams, will make its debut at the Olympics in Brazil in 2016).
Gonzaga lost to Washington and upset Idaho in its first two games to earn the No. 7 seed into the playoffs. In its first playoff game, GU faced Central Washington, the nationally seventh-ranked team, and “showed great poise and determination, but lost by a landslide,” as Reisinger put it. Central went on to defeat Oregon State in the Cup final to qualify for the national championships.
Gonzaga defeated Eastern Washington then lost to Oregon 17-12, rallying from a 17-0 deficit with five minutes left in the game. Reisinger said GU had the ball in the last minute but could not find the try-zone after multiple attempts.
GU will face Puget Sound in its league championship match with the winner qualifying for the regional playoffs in Vallejo, Calif.
Reisinger noted that Gonzaga has a 10-2 record in 15s play dating back to January and the team put its 7s program on the map thanks to its performance in Monmouth.
Aaron Cockerill, an Idaho junior from Stony Mountain, Manitoba, was honored as the co-American Golfer of the Year by Golf Manitoba.
Cockerill won the season-opening match play championship in Manitoba and was runner-up at the Nott Autocorp men’s amateur championship, finishing with a 5-under par 67 in the final round. He ran away from the field in the Men’s Rural Championship, winning by 17 strokes, and concluded the season with a tie for 47th at the National Men’s Amateur.
He also had three top-10 finishes and an 11th for the Vandals last season.
• Kristen Hansen, a Western Washington sophomore from Mead, had her fourth top-10 finish in as many outings this fall when she tied for third, three shots behind the leader, and led the Vikings a fourth-place finish among 13 teams at the Sonoma State Women’s Golf Fall Invitational last week. Hansen shot 73-77 for 150.
The pros and senior pros both prevailed over their amateur opponents in the Hudson Cup matches that wound up Friday in North Plains, Ore. In the 65th edition of the Hudson Cup matches, the 10-man pro team scored a 12 1/2-7 1/2 victory over the amateurs, while in the 22nd Senior Hudson Cup, it was 10 1/2-9 1/2 for the pros.
High school scene
Greater Spokane League district rivals Mt. Spokane and Mead both collected honors when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced its fall team academic state champions.
Mt. Spokane was state champion in 3A girls cross country with a 3.926 grade-point average. Mead won in 4A football with a 3.333 GPA.
Other area state academic champions: Davenport, 2B boys cross country, 3.840; Northwest Christian, 2B girls cross country, 3.867; St. John-Endicott, 1B girls cross country, 3.985; Asotin, 2B football, 3.440; Colton, 1B football, 3.480; Colfax, 2B volleyball, 3.858; and Tekoa-Oakesdale, 1B volleyball, 3.956.
The scholastic awards program is sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Washington and Les Schwab Tires.