Dartmouth Sweeps Ivy Sevens Tournament

Dartmouth Sweeps Ivy Sevens Tournament

Big Green Sees 1st, 2nd and 3rd Sides Go Undefeated

Princeton, NJ – Dartmouth capped off its fall season with a successful weekend at the Ivy Rugby 7s Championships at Princeton. Displaying the depth of its program, the Big Green sent three sides to compete in the two tournament divisions. After a full day of rugby, all three teams emerged on top, as the 1st team was crowned champions of the A division, and the 2nd and 3rd teams were declared co-champions of the B division.

Dartmouth entered the weekend coming off an undefeated fall XVs campaign that saw the Big Green capture its 8th straight Ivy XVs title. Hoping to add a 7s title to the season’s resume, the team put in two hard weeks of 7s specific training in preparation for the tournament. The traveling squad for the weekend included many freshmen ruggers, who after dedicating much time and effort into becoming accustomed to the game, were finally ready to test their skills against Ivy competition.

The 1st VII side got its morning off to a fast start, defeating familiar foes Penn and Columbia by scores of 50-0 and 39-0 respectively. The key to the team’s early scoring spurt was its patience with the ball on offense. The Big Green was in no hurry to make contact with the fresh legs of the Penn and Columbia defenders, opting instead to move the ball through the hands from sideline to sideline, waiting for the defensive wall to lose its shape. This strategy proved to be worthwhile, as eventually Dartmouth was able to exploit fractures in its opponents’ defenses, leading to tries by senior captain Madison Hughes and freshman Benji Hannam.

The 1st team’s next competition was tournament host Princeton. While Princeton’s defense held the Big Green scoreless in the opening minutes of the match, some hypnotizing sidestepping from sophomore Dawit Workie put the team on the board. Skillful aerial work from Hayden Aldredge allowed the Big Green to gain possession on several restart kicks and lineout throws, allowing for more tries from seniors Peter Savarese and Andrew Berson. In the second half, a squad of reserves led by senior Jake Levine contributed more explosive offense and disciplined defense to end the match in a 35-0 victory.

The 1st team’s final match of the day pitted them against a physical Yale side in the A-division championship. The Big Green defense was prepared for an early offensive challenge by Yale, calmly maintaining its shape despite a Yale line break. Juniors Ryan Maguire and Curtis Oberg took advantage of some Yale mishandling, each scooping up turnover balls for first half tries. Another strong offensive showing from Hughes and more impressive jukes from Workie put Dartmouth up going into the half. Again, solid play from key reserve players kept the Yale team off the board and delivered the Big Green to its third straight Ivy 7s title with a commanding 46-0 win.

Looking back on the season, Hughes commented, "At the beginning of the fall, the team had its sights set on retaining the Ivy League trophies we had won the last 3 years in both 7's and 15's. We knew that the other Ivies were more determined than ever and displaying renewed commitment to challenging us. Therefore, we are delighted to add the Ivy League 7's title to the 15's trophy we won a few weeks ago."

Just as impressive as the first side’s play were the performances put forward by Dartmouth’s 2nd team and development 3rd team. The 2nd team featured plenty of veteran players whose experience and talent were reflected in the teams’ score-lines. The team opened the tournament with a 50-0 rout of Harvard’s B-side and a 42-0 defeat of Yale’s B-side. Senior Jake Levine and junior Erik Warnquist set the tone for the day, leading the team by example through hard running and savage tackling. Will Dechatellus ’16 and Max Hannam ’16 worked well together out on the wing, putting together several scoring plays for the Green. Some of the other highlights on the day for the 2nd side were long, exhausting runs by Keith Hamren ’15 and Gordon Driscoll ’17, including an 80-meter scamper down the sideline by Driscoll that capped off a 33-0 victory over Columbia’s second team. These three wins put the Dartmouth 2nd team safely through to the final of the tournament’s lower division.

The parents, alumni, and friends of the club that came out for the day were able to catch a glimpse of the DRFC’s bright future, as the Big Green’s 3rd side, compromised completely of freshmen development players, also found its way to the tournament’s lower division championship. Though many of the players had only a few weeks familiarity with the game of rugby, the boys made up for their lack of experience with hard work in pitch training and video sessions. Their work ethic paid off as the 3rd team started the day with a 21-7 win over a Brown B-side and a 17-17 draw with Princeton’s 2nd team. Strong showings put forward by Ernie Pichardo ’18 and Chris Nkoy ’18 carried the team past Yale’s C-side 31-5 and into the B-division final, where Dartmouth’s 2nd and 3rd teams were pronounced co-champions.

Ending the day, tournament organizers presented the A-tournament champion’s trophy to Madison Hughes and the B-tournament champion’s trophy to Jake Levine. Levine was also named Player of the Tournament for the B division, while Dawit Workie claimed the honor for the A division.

Reflecting on the day, Dartmouth head coach Gavin Hickie stated, "We are very pleased with our performances and victories at the Ivy 7s for our three teams. Yesterday's wins were the culmination of hard work put in by the DRFC student athletes since preseason in August."

Captain Madison Hughes added to Hickie’s comments, "Over the course of the season, many players have emerged as key contributors to the team. The team that won the Ivy League 7's was almost unrecognizable from last year, but the high standards Dartmouth Rugby has set were maintained, boding very well for the future of the program. The C-side's displays show that Dartmouth Rugby should go from strength to strength in the coming years, and continue to be the pre-eminent force in the Ivy League."

With the fall season over, Coach Hickie is already shifting the team’s attention to the challenges that lie ahead. Despite the Big Green’s impressive 7s play and undefeated record, Hickie emphasized, "It is paramount that we continue to develop as a program and we look ahead with anticipation to our spring season which includes the Penn Mutual Varsity Cup and CRC." In looking toward the spring, the boys are hoping that a winter regiment of pitch training, lifting, and conditioning will see them ready for even better competition.

Dartmouth Rugby appreciates the longstanding support of our Alumni and Friends. Without this support, we would not be able to achieve the success we have enjoyed over the last six decades. We hope that we can continue to earn the support of all our Alums and Friends. To donate, please go to www.dartmouthrfc.com/support/ and click the "Support" button. Then select “Friends of Rugby” under the “Club Sports” section and fill in the required information to proceed to the billing page.


1st Team:

1.     Peter Savarese ‘15

2.    Benji Hannam ‘18

3.     Hayden Aldredge ‘17

4.     Dawit Workie ‘17

5.     Madison Hughes ’15 ©

6.     Curtis Oberg ‘16

7.     Ryan Maguire ‘16

8.     Andrew Berson ‘15

9.     Jake Levine ‘15

10.  Keith Hamren ‘15

11.  Max Hannam ‘16

12.  Will Dechatellus ‘16

13.  Gordon Driscoll ‘17

14.  Erik Warnquist ‘16

15.  Ollie Engelhart ‘18


2nd Team:

1.     Gordon Driscoll ‘17

2.     Erik Warnquist ‘16

3.     Keith Hamren ‘15

4.     Jake Levine ‘15

5.     Ollie Engelhart ‘18

6.     Max Hannam ‘16

7.     Will Dechatellus ‘16

8.     Andrew Zhu ‘16

9.     Chris Brown ‘17

10.  Ben Hawley ‘16

11.  Steve Hinshaw ‘18

12.  Julian Johnson ‘18


Development Team:

1.     Peter Badenhausen ‘18

2.     Rob Doumar ‘18

3.     Johan Curmally ‘18

4.     Matt Ferguson ‘18

5.     Henry Gardner ‘18

6.     Benny Goodman ‘18

7.     Bobby Maguire ‘18

8.     Alex McDowell ’18

9.     Chris Nkoy ‘18

10.  Ernie Pichardo ‘18

11.  Will Romness ‘18

12.  Ian Sullivan ‘18

13.  Andy Werchniak ‘18

14.  Andres Jacobs ‘18

15. Theo Wilson ‘18