Defending national champ Cathedral leads a field of 8 elite Indiana and Ohio teams set to meet in a showcase tournament March 9 at Ohio State.
The cross-state matches are as intended as more than tough non-league games. Organizers are collating roster info and inviting local college coaches to recruit, while also looking to promote the sport to local media outlets.
Though very few universities offer scholarships, rugby can sometimes be an admissions edge, according to coaches and guidance counselors. And while top college programs have figured out that summer camps help them identify attractive candidates, high school teams have done less to fill the pipeline from their end.
The one-day, single-venue competition comprises 16 matches, with both first teams and reserve grades playing twice. Indianapolis' Cathedral, the 2012 USARFU multi-school titlist, has drawn 2011 Ohio state champ Westerville and St. Ignatius, with some 140 players the Buckeye state's largest school team.
2012 state champ Saint Edward and football power and 2010 champion Archbishop Moeller also line up from the Ohio side, while the Hoosiers counter with 5-time national finalist Brownsburg, recent division 1 qualifier Southeastern, and 2012 USARFU 'single school' runnerup Penn.
Three of the four Ohio entrants are now varsity sports. The state is home to 48 boys teams, most clustered around Cleveland and Cincinnati. There are some 1,400 registered high school-age players, according to Rugby Ohio.
On the other side of the border, Indiana Youth Indiana counts 75 teams (boys and girls) with approximately 1,600 registered players, about two-thirds of whom are high school boys.
- Brownsburg HS (Brownsburg single school): 5-time national qualifier, 9 consecutive Midwest appearances, 4-time state finalist
- Cathedral (Indianapolis multi school): 2012 national multi-school champion, multiple national appearances, 3-time Midwest multi-school champion, multiple Indiana division 1 championships
- Penn HS ((Mishawaka single school): 2012 national single-school runnerup, 12-time national qualifier in last 14 seasons, 5 Midwest titles in last 8 years, multiple Indiana division 1 championships
- Southeastern (Indianapolis multi school): 2008 Indiana division 2 state champ, now in division 1
- Archbishop Moeller HS (Cincinnati varsity team): 2010 Ohio state champion
- Saint Edward HS (Lakewood varsity team): 2012 Midwest champion and 2012 Ohio state champion
- Saint Ignatius HS (Cleveland varsity team): 7-time Ohio state semifinalist
- Westerville (Columbus multi school): 9-time Midwest multischool champion, 14-time Ohio state champion, most recently 2011