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Kansas City Blues 2010 News and Events

02.12.2010 - Blues finish in 11th place with 1-3 record in Vegas

The Kansas City Blues 7s side took on some stiff competition at the Championship Cup Series finale in Las Vegas on Friday Feb. 12th, played extremely well at times and looked inexperienced at others, while gaining invaluable experience against the nation's elite 7s programs en route to a 1-3 record and an 11th place finish in the 12 team event. The Blues lost a heartbreaker 17-24 in the opening round to eventual runners-up Chicago Lions, before dropping their 2nd pool match 7-24 to NOVA. In the consolation bracket, the Blues were pushed around by OMBAC in losing 12-34, and went on to defeat Long Island 32-7 in the last match of the day to secure a victory and stay out of the tournament basement.

Belmont Shore went on to defeat the Lions in the final to win the $7,500 prize purse, in front of 18,000 fans.

Blues Roster: Kevin Schwartze, Marshall Lurtz, Arnold Odera, Tyler Hodges, Conner Smith, Tommy Saunders, Pete Kowalski, Joe D'Agostino, Billy Racule, Ernie Moore, Tony Temple, Kenny Scott
Coaches: Scott Kram & Pete Winklebauer

KC Blues 7s Side at the 2010 CCS Las Vegas USA 7s - Feb. 12, 2010
(seated, l-r) Pete Kowalski, Kenny Scott, Billy Racule, Conner Smith, Tommy Saunders
(standing, l-r) Pete Winklebauer, Arnold Odera, Ernie Moore, Marshall Lurtz, Tyler Hodges, Kevin Schwartze, Joe D'Agostino, Tony Temple, Scott Kram

Blues Send Kenny Scott to Play For Atlantis 7s at Havana 7s

20 year-old Kenny Scott (KSU '11), the Blues 7s leading try-scorer in 2009 and at the Las Vegas CCS Tournament, has been invited to join the prestigious Atlantis VIIs invitational side at the Havana 7s on Feb. 27th & 28th. Kenny will become the 3rd player to represent the Blues with Atlantis, following in the footsteps of Doug Brown, Steve Robke, and Mike Skahan - all who went on to play for the Eagles 7s side. The trip has been made possible by generous donations from countless Blues and KSU alumni.

Atlantis will be joined at the Havana 7s by a Canadian Select team that won the Cancun Sevens, The Froggies (France), 2 Cuban teams including their National Team, West Indies National Team, Mexican National Team, and the Peruvian National Team.

Since 1986, 155 Eagles (99 men and 56 women) have played for Atlantis. 81 of these represented Atlantis prior to the US. Atlantis' coach Emil Signes was US National Men’s Sevens Coach from 1987-90. During this time the US had a winning record, defeating Wales, Canada, and Argentina, and won the Hong Kong Plate Championship. He was also the long-time coach of the US National Women’s Sevens Team.

Atlantis has competed in over 120 tournaments, including 70 in 23 locations outside the US, i.e. England, Scotland, Spain, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Italy, Uruguay, Bulgaria, Dubai, Trinidad, Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Holland, Portugal, Venezuela, Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Brazil and Singapore.

Blues Season Resumes on March 6th

The Blues 2009-2010 season will get back underway on Saturday March 6th, with a full slate of games on the calendar for the D1 and D2 sides. The D2 side will sprint out of the gates, travelling to Tulsa, OK to face Tulsa RFC in a D2 West Central League match. Coming off a 1-1-1 League record this fall, the D2 side is intent on getting 2010 started off right against perennial D2 leader Tulsa (0-1). The Blues D1 side will stay home, hosting Midwest power Metropolis RFC of Minneapolis, MN at Rockhurst University's Bourke Field, at 1:30pm. Since 2008 the Blues are 1-2 against Metro, and with all having been tightly played contests this one should be a perfect start to the season for both Clubs. Following the D1 game, Benedictine College RFC will take on the Metropolis D3 side.

Blues Name Captains and Vice Captains for 2010

Halfback Greg Gallagher has been named Club Captain for the spring 2010 season, an honor he maintains after successfully leading the Club in the fall of 2009. The 2009 D1 Back of the Year, Gallagher has been a member of the Blues since 2002. Joining Greg at the helm of the D1 side are Vice Captains Eric Munninghoff and Conner Smith. Both products of the Jr Blues program, Munninghoff and Smith will be tasked with keeping their units firing on all cylinders. Munninghoff, a hooker, was the 2009 D1 Forward of the Year. Smith was the 2009 7s Player of the Year and has captained the Blues 7s side since 2008. Flyhalf Caleb George, the 2009 D2 Player of the Year, will Captain the D2 side again this spring while not on loan to the D1.

New Blue Tommy Saunders Heads to Eagle 7s Camp

Blues 7s player Tommy Saunders will attend the USA National 7s Team Camp this week at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA as head coach Al Caravelli assembles 19 candidates to trial for the team's next two IRB Sevens World Series events in Adelaide AUS, and Hong Kong.

The camp will run from March 6 - 13, and if one of the 12 players selected Saunders will head on tour with the National Team throughout the remainder of March. A record setting wide receiver at the University of Missouri, Tommy joined the Blues in December 2009 and made a strong impression at the CCS 7s Finale in Las Vegas, where he was scouted by Caravelli. Since then, Tommy has split time training with the Mizzou RFC in Columbia and with the Blues, where the 6'0, 210lb 24 year-old has impressed at flanker.

The Blues wish Tommy the best of luck in Chula Vista!

Blues Tommy Saunders Makes National 7s Team

24 year-old Blues player Tommy Saunders was selected for the USA National 7s Team that will play in the Adelaide 7s (AUS) and Hong Kong 7s IRB World Series stops in late March, after the latest week-long Eagle assembly concluded at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA on March 12th. Saunders, a former stand-out wide receiver at the University of Missouri and a two-sport star at Kearney High School, joined the Blues in December 2009 in their build-up to the USA 7s Championship Cup Series in Las Vegas. Saunders was outstanding in camp, turning in an assembly-best 14.5 score on the 20m beep test and playing well in scrimmages throughout the week. Saunders becomes the first Blue to play for the Eagles in 7s or 15s since 2001.

03.13.2010 - Jay Allen's 3 Tries Pace Blues Past Des Moines

Inside center Jay Allen recorded a hat-trick of tries to help pace the Blues to victory on March 13th, as the D1 side defeated Des Moines RFC at Rockhurst University, 48-20. Greg Gallagher, Seth Budimlija, Dave Samples, and Conner Smith all added a try apiece with Gallgher 2/5 on conversions, and Sean Foley hitting on 2/3 kicks. The D2 was defeated by Kansas State University 30-12 in a game that showcased a number of Blues 7s regulars playing for a strong KSU side.

Next Up for the Blues: The D2 side travels to Omaha on March 20th to face the league-leading GOATS at 1:30pm, while the D1 side stays home to host Boulder RFC under the lights at Swope Park at 6:00pm in their D1 conference season opener.

03.20.2010 - Blues Resume West D1 Season This Saturday

The Blues West D1 campaign will finally get back underway this Saturday March 27th, as the Club hosts the Glendale Raptors at 1:30pm at Mid America Sports Complex. The match comes on the heels of the Blues March 20th date with Boulder being rescheduled due to weather, and will be a strong test for the rested home side. At 3-2, the Blues are currently in 3rd place in the West D1 League, one slot behind Glendale who went to 4-3 in the standings after a defeat of the Denver Highlanders last week.

03.21.2010 - Saunders Helps USA 7s Team To Best Finish Ever

Tommy Saunders, front row 3rd from left, made some crucial plays in Adelaide, AUS as the US Eagles defeated Argentina in the semifinals of the IRB Series stop en route to the country's first ever finals appearance in a Series event. The USA beat England, Niue, and Wales on their way to making the Cup Final at the Adelaide 7s, where they came up short against Samoa. The US team next heads to Hong Kong for the storied Hong Kong 7s.04.03.2010 - Blues Get Big Win in Denver, Drop Home D2 Match

The Blues split sides and results on April 3, 2010 as the D1 side took a hard earned road victory against the always-tough Denver Highlanders in Denver, while the D2 Blues were outplayed at home against the St. Louis Bombers. In Denver, center David Samples lead the way with two tries in a 31-27 win that is a credit to all 15 players for coming together and beating a respected League rival on their home field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

Next Up For The Blues: The Club will travel with a 30-man roster to play back-to-back League matches in Colorado on April 10th weekend, squaring off against the Denver Barbarians at Dick's on April 10th, and against defending National Champions Aspen on April 11th.

04.11.2010 - Blues Split D1 Colorado Tour - Move to 5-4

The Blues sent an extended roster to Colorado for two Division 1 league matches the weekend of April 9th 2010, and came away with a bonus point win, and growing confidence rolling into the final stages of the season despite some hard lessons learned at the hands of the defending National Champions.

The tour began on the campus of Denver University on April 10th, as the Blues took on the Denver Barbarians in a 12:00pm kick-off. The Blues jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Eagle 7s player Tommy Saunders scored a converted try 8 minutes into his first 15s rugby match. The Barbo's answered back quickly with a try of their own in the 20th minute, before Saunders dotted down twice more to give himself a hat trick in the opening 40 minutes and pace the Blues to a 19-5 lead at the half.

In the second 40, the Barbos struck for a converted try before Greg Gallagher hit a PK and wing Conner Smith rampaged for 2 scores of his own to extend the Blues lead to 36-15 with a little over 20 minutes to go. The home side battled back however, running in 3 unanswered scores in the final quarter of the game to cut the Blues lead down to just 4 points as the final whistle sounded with the Blues victorious behind 5 tries in a 36-34 bonus point finish.

The Club then headed west to Glenwood Springs for their Sunday date with defending National Champions and league-leading Gentlemen of Aspen, in Carbondale, CO.

On Sunday, Aspen took an early 5-point lead before Gallagher got the Blues on the board with a PK in the 16th minute. Aspen rang in three more tries in the half behind some excellent use of space and a hard-charging attack before Blues David Samples collected a loose ball to scamper in for a try at halftime whistle and pull the Blues within 12 points (10 - 22). With some momentum gained, the Blues came out hard in the 2nd half but it wasn't enough to overcome Aspen's balanced, experienced attack as the home side picked apart the visitors to the tune of 4 more converted tries en route to a 50-10 victory.

The Blues ended the weekend with a 1-1 record, locking in a playoff berth by bringing their league record to 5-4 overall with 1 game to play against Boulder on April 24th in Kansas City, and the USA D1 National Playoffs still looming in May.

April 10, 2010
KC Blues 34 - Denver Barbo's 32
Tries: Saunders (3), Smith (2)
Conv: Gallagher 4/5
Pens: Gallagher 1/1

1: Still, Afa
2: Munninghoff, Eric
3: Capps, Danny (Colin McFarland @ 60)
4: Orr, Adam
5: McDonough, Conner (Jim Stickford @ 65)
6: Saunders, Tommy
7: Gorden, Ben (Chris Cummins @ 65)
8: Vaka, Tony (Matt Wirken @ 40)
9: Fuimaono, Fatu (Tom Deitch @ 65)
10: Gallagher, Greg
11: Kowalski, Peter
12: Allen, Jay
13: Samples, Dave
14: Smith, Conner (Steve Carrington @ 65)
15: Schwartze, Kevin (Caleb George @ 65)

8:00 Saunders Try 5-0
20:00 Barbo Try 5-5 Gallagher Conv 12-5
38:00 Saunders Try 17-5 Gallagher Conv 19-5
47:00 Barbo Try/conv 19-12
49:00 Gallagher PK 22-12
53:00 Barbo PK 22-15
54:00 Smith Try 27-15 Gallagher Conv 29-15
57:00 Smith Try 34-15 Gallagher Conv 36-15
70:00 Barbo Try 36-20
78:00 Barbo Try/conv 36-27
80:00 Barbo Try/conv 36-34

April 11, 2010
KC Blues 10 vs Aspen 50
Tries: Samples
Conv: Gallagher 1/1
Pens: Gallagher 1/1

1: Still, Afa
2: Munninghoff, Eric (Jim Stickford @ 70)
3: Capps, Danny (Colin McFarland @ 65)
4: Orr, Adam
5: McDonough, Conner (Tony Vaka @ 70)
6: Saunders, Tommy (Ben Gorden @ 70)
7: Hoover, Matt (Matt Wirken @ 40)
8: Swanepoel, JP (Chris Cummins @ 70)
9: Fuimaono, Fatu
10: Gallagher, Greg
11: Kowalski, Peter (Steve Carrington @ 60)
12: Allen, Jay
13: Samples, Dave
14: Smith, Conner
15: Schwartze, Kevin

Scoring Report

9:00 Aspen Try 0-5
16:00 Gallagher PK 3-5
26:00 Aspen Try 3-10
32:00 Aspen Try/Conv 3-17
39:00 Aspen Try 3-22
40:00 Samples Try 8-22 Gallagher Conv 10-22
46:00 Aspen Try/conv 10-29
54:00 Aspen Try/conv 10-36
59:00 Aspen Try/conv 10-43
79:00 Aspen Try/conv 10-50

04.17.2010 - Blues Cap D2 Conference Season With Win, Drop Home D1 Friendly

Caleb George tallied 15 points in leading the D2 side to a road win at Springfield RFC

The Blues D2 side did the celebrating on April 17th, winning their final Western conference match of the season on the road against Springfield RFC to cap the year with a 2-3-1 conference record. Wing Solomon Johnson and flyhalf Keith Engle scored tries for the Blues, while center Caleb George added 2 conversions and 3 penalty kicks in the 23-18 victory in Springfield, MO.

The Blues D1 side had a rougher time on Saturday night, dropping a non-conference match to the visiting Palmer College RFC 37-19 in front of a big crowd at Swope Park. Down 32-0 at the half, the Blues battled back in the 2nd behind 2 tries from Eric Munninghoff. The D1 side will re-group and get some key personnel back from injury this weekend for their final Western conference matchup with Boulder RFC on April 24th at Rockhurst University's Bourke Field. Kick-off for th D1 game is set for 7:15pm, preceded by a D2 friendly between the Blues and the KC Rogues at 5:30pm.

Following the April 24th matches, the Blues will get a week off as they gear up for the Regional Playoff game with Texas Conference runner-up Austin Blacks, in Austin TX on May 8th. The winner of that match will advance to the National Tournament on May 15-16, coincidentally back in Austin.

04.24.2010 - Blues Close Regular Season On A Roll

The Blues closed out the 2009-2010 Division 1 West Conference season with a big victory on April 24th, handing the visiting Boulder RFC 68-10 defeat in an 11-try effort under the lights at Rockhurst University. Dominant set pieces and an organized Blues attack kept Boulder on the back foot for the full 80 minutes. Reserve wing Tommy Saunders lead all scorers with 4 tries in only 55 minutes of action, while David Samples, Pete Kowalski, Jay Allen, Panama Hoover, Steve Sharkey, and Conner Smith all ran in tries of their own. Greg Gallagher was good for 5 conversions and a penalty kick to round out the Blues scoring.

As a result of the win, the Blues finish the season with a 6-4 conference record, good enough for 3rd place in the West.

Next up for the Blues: The Blues will travel to Austin, TX on May 8th for a Regional Playoff game against the Austin Blacks. The winner will advance to the USA Rugby D1 National Playoffs Round of 16.

Blues Head To Austin - Sweet 16 Berth On The Line

The Kansas City Blues, who finished 3rd place in the Western Conference D1 competition this year, will travel to Austin, TX on May 8th for an all-or-nothing Regional Playoff showdown with the Austin Blacks RFC. The winner of the match will earn a bid to the USA Rugby D1 Championships, a 16-team tournament to be contested back in Austin on May 22nd & 23rd.

It would be the Blues first appearance in the D1 National Championship tournament since 2000, the last year that Super League teams also competed in the D1 post-season. The Blues advanced to the Super League semi-finals in 2001, before dropping out of the competition after the 2006 season and re-joining D1 in the Western Conference for the 2007-2008 season. The Blues advanced to the Regional Playoff game last May, dropping a heart-breaker to the Texas Champions Shreveport RFC by 1 point.

Austin, who finished in 2nd place in the Texas Conference with a 7-3 record, will be looking to hold off the Blues (6-4) in their own return to glory. The Blacks last played in the National Championship Tournament in 2008, following National Runner-Up finishes in 2007 & 2004. Kick-off on May 8th is set for 2:00pm at Austin's Burr Rugby Field.

05.08.2010 - Blues Beat Blacks in Austin, Advance to Sweet 16

Front row, l-r: Jay Allen, Matt Hoover, Siva Tali, Marty Cummings, Greg Gallagher, Pete Kowalski, Caleb George, Conner Smith, Ben Gorden; back-row, l-r: Mick hanna, Steve Jackman, Bubba George, Keith Hessel, Brian Fallon, Tony Vaka, Afa Still, Eric Munninghoff, David Samples, Matt Wirken, Kevin Schwartze, Danny Capps, Fatu Fuimaono, JP Swanepoel, Scott Adamson, Conner McDonough

It took the Kansas City Blues 85 minutes to get across the try line in Austin on May 8th, but in the end that was enough to seal the 14-13 victory in an extremely intense and physical match against the Austin Blacks RFC at Burr Field. The Blues, trailing 8-0 at the half and 13-0 after the 42nd minute, were awarded a penalty try (converted by Greg Gallagher) in the 47th minute before a 35-minute stalemate wrought with punishing defense ensued between the two sides. With the referee's clock into injury time, the Blues mounted a final charge downfield before rookie flanker Keith Hessel took the ball from 15 meters out and dragged three Austin defenders over the try line for the score under the posts. With no time left on the clock and down by 1 point, Gallagher slotted the conversion to win the game for the Blues 14-13. Blues outside center David Samples was named Man of the Match in what truly was a 15-man effort.

With the victory, the Blues advance to their first USA Rugby D1 National Championship tournament since 2000, the last year that Super League teams also competed in the D1 post-season. The Blues advanced to the Super League semi-finals in 2001, before dropping out of the competition after the 2006 season and re-joining D1 in the Western Conference for the 2007-2008 season.

The Blues will travel back to Austin, TX on May 22nd for Nationals, where they are set to face Northern California champions Olympic Club, from San Francisco. The two sides last met in May 2003 in a Super League match in SF. The Gentlemen of Aspen, and the Las Vegas Blackjacks round out the Blues' 4-team pool in Austin, with Glendale, Santa Monica, Belmont Shore, and the Denver Highlanders making up the other 4-team pool in the Regional. Notably, all 4 teams from the Blues' Western Conference won their Regional Playoff games to advance to Nationals, while the Austin Regional features 5 former Super League Clubs of the 8 teams in the competition.

Details on the USA Rugby D1 National Championship tournament's Austin Regional can be found here

Connor McDonough snags a lineout

KC Blues 14 v Austin Blacks 13

Tries: Hessel, Penalty Try
Conv: Gallagher 2/2

1. Capps
2. Munninghoff
3. Still
4. Vaka (Swanepoel @ 40, Wirken @ 65)
5. McDonough
6. Hoover (B. George @ 40)
7. Hessel
8. Tali
9. Fuimaono
10. Gallagher
11. Kowalski (Cummings @ 60)
12. Allen
13. Samples
14. Smith
15. Schwartze
16. Fallon
17. Swanepoel
18. Wirken
19. B. George
20. Gorden
21. Jackman
22. C. George

05.23.2010 - National Playoffs: Proud Blues Learn Some Lessons

The Kansas City Blues made their return to the USA Rugby D1 National Playoffs on May 22nd, the Club's first USA Rugby D1 National Championship tournament appearance since 2000 - the last year that Super League teams also competed in the D1 post-season. The Blues had advanced to the Super League semi-finals in 2001 and the playoffs in 2002, before dropping out of the competition after the 2006 season and re-joining D1 in the Western Conference for the 2007-2008 season.

2010's return to the Tourney marked a huge step in a long rebuilding process for the storied Club, and while the going was rough in Austin this time around, the boys certainly learned some valuable lessons on one of USA Rugby's biggest stages. Facing a seasoned Olympic Club team out of San Farncisco on Saturday (undefeated in Northern California in 2009-2010) and familiar foe Aspen Gentlemen on Sunday (defending National Champions), there was no shortage of challenges on the weekend for the young Blues side.

Against Olympic Club on Saturday, the Blues drew a well-organized, tightly-knit opponent who brought the physicality upfront and dominated the set-pieces and breakdown for much of the match. Weathering a storm of phased-posession work from the Northern Californians in the first 40, the Blues found themselves down 30-0 at the break with little having gone right for themselves. In the 2nd half however, the Blues settled in and began doing some of the little things right while stepping up their own physicality to match that of Olympic's. Despite the improved effort, things were mostly out of reach when Blues fullback Kevin Schwartze took a crash ball through the O-Club defense to score a try under the posts (Gallagher converted). The final whistle sounded with Olympic on top 35-7, and the Blues having been beaten by sound decision making and strong execution from the experienced and talented O-Club.

On Sunday, the Blues drew conference rival Aspen in the consolation round. Aspen had been defeated by an impressive Las Vegas Blackjack side on Saturday, and came into Sunday's game with a 2-0 record against the Blues this season. In a very physical opening half, Aspen raced out to a 12-0 lead before the Blues worked their way back behind a close-range try from Number 8 Keith Hessel, and an age-defying 50 meter breakaway by center Jay Allen. Marty Cummings converted 1/2, tying the match 12-12 just before the half-time whistle.

In the second half the Blues made some lineup changes to stay fresh, but a determined Aspen side showed their poise and experience, pouncing on every opportunity to swing things in their favor behind relentless pressure. Rewarded by 3 tries in a 15-minute lapse for the Blues, Aspen took a commanding lead late into the match before adding another late try to go up 37-12. With no time on the clock however, the Blues were able to put one last phased attack together from within the 22-meter line and were successful in crossing for the final score as Captain Eric Munninghoff made it over to end the game in a 17-37 loss to the Gents.

While 0-2 is certainly not a measure of success for the Blues, playing tough in Austin was a step forward in reclaiming the Club’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest. It’s been a long time since the Blues could say we were in the top four, eight or even 16 in any given division, having not reached the playoffs since ’02. While we're proud of our tradition - charter member of the Super League, DI final four participants twice in the ’90s and a number of capped Eagles - it's clear the Blues are also building something new in Kansas City.

“A lot of guys have worked very hard over the last eight to 10 years to come up short,” said Blues coach Scott Adamson. “So the closer we get, the farther we go, the more focus they have, the more you can tell by the talk, the way they motivate the players around them. Some of these young kids have no idea that it is a big deal to be where we are, and the older guys are letting them know it is a big deal.”

The entire Blues organization - most notably the players, coaching staff, board members, and boosters - should all be very proud of the effort put forth in 2009-2010, and the things accomplished this past season. It was certainly a big deal to get where we got. Going forward, a strong foundation for success has been rebuilt, and expectations will only be higher for next season.

KC Blues 7 v Olympic Club 35
Tries: Schwartze
Conv: Gallagher 1/1
Pens: Gallagher 0/1

1. Afa Still (Steve Jackman @ 70)
2. Eric Munninghoff
3. Danny Capps (Colin McFarland @ 60)
4. JP Swanepoel (Bubba George @ 40)
5. Tony Vaka (Matt Wirken @ 60)
6. Keith Hessel
7. Matt Hoover (Ben Gorden @ 65)
8. Siva Tali
9. Maeli Fuimaono
10. Greg Gallagher (Caleb George @ 70)
11. Marty Cummings (Steve Sharkey @ 60)
12. Jay Allen
13. Dave Samples
14. Conner Smith
15. Kevin Schwartze

Head Coach Scott Adamson

KC Blues 17 v Aspen 37
Tries: Hessel, Allen, Munninghoff
Conv: Cummings 1/2, Schwartze 0/1
Pens: Cummings 0/1

1. Afa Still (Steve Jackman @ 70)
2. Eric Munninghoff
3. Danny Capps (Colin McFarland @ 70)
4. JP Swanepoel (Matt Wirken @ 40)
5. Bubba George
6. Matt Hoover (Ben Gorden @ 65)
7. Connor McDonough
8. Keith Hessel
9. Maeli Fuimaono (Tom Deitch @ 65)
10. Caleb George (Steve Sharkey @ 40)
11. Pete Kowalski
12. Jay Allen
13. Dave Samples
14. Hunter Ward (Conner Smith @ 50)
15. Marty Cummings (Kevin Schwartze @ 60)

Head Coach Scott Adamson

06.05.2010 - Blues Win KC Rogues 7s Tournament

Pictured l-r (front): Siva Tali, Sami Rakatia, Conner Smith, Demetrius Clay, Andrew Charlton, Pete Kowalski, Afa Tapusoa (front). Standing (l-r): Afele Taula, Connor McDonough, Scott Kram, Rocky Sao, Tia Ralovo, Grant Russell, Eric Munninghoff, Jay Allen, Kevin Schwartze, David mcDonough, Ernie Moore, Maeli Fuimaono (KC Blues in white jerseys)

The Kansas City Blues 7s team overcame some adversity in the opening weekend of the 7s season - mostly logistical - and were happy to even have had the opportunity to play at all on June 5th. They seized that opportunity though, going 5-0 at the KC Rogues 7s Tournament at Central HS en route to a First Place finish.

Originally scheduled to play in the Taz 7s in Iowa Falls, IA, the Blues departed the KC area at 5:30am but ran into extreme storms 2 hours into the 4 hour drive. A close call on the road coupled with dangerous driving conditions and a poor forecast forced them to turn around and head back to Kansas City. The did so with just enough time to join the Rogues Tournament as a late-entry, where they were able to bring a number of new faces up to speed in the 7-aside game against increasingly tougher competition thoroughout the day. The Blues won their pool by defeating the KC Rogues B's, Springfield RFC, and a good Wichita Barbarians team.

In the semi-final they drew the host Rogues A-side, and ran away 40-7 winners to setup an exciting final against the KC Islanders - an invitational side who had a number of Blues players on their roster and a physically imposing group who had dominated their pool all day. The opening minutes were tightly contested, but seems started popping open for both teams as the Blues fought to a 14-7 halftime lead. In the 2nd, the Blues were able to keep strong defensive pressure on the Islanders, building on their lead by converting opportunities into points and wearing the big side down. A try at the final whistle but the Blues up 31-7, bringing them a hard-fought Championship. Blues wing Demitrius Clay was awarded the Tournament MVP.

Next up for the Blues: Tulsa Parrothead Sevens Tournament, June 12th at Tulsa, OK

Pool Rd 1
Defeated KC Rogues B 49-0

Pool Rd 2
Defeated Springfield RFC 33-0

Pool Rd 3
Defeated Wichita Barbarians 35-7

Defeated KC Rogues A 40-7

Defeated KC Islanders 31-7

Jay Allen, Andrew Charlton, Demitrius Clay, Pete Kowalski, Scott Kram, Connor McDonough, David McDonough, Ernie Moore, Sami Rakatia, Grant Russell, Kevin Schwartze, Conner Smith

Head Coach: Scott Kram

06.12.2010 - Blues Win Parrothead 7s in Tulsa

Pictured standing l-r: Steve Jackman, Scott Kram, Sami Rakatia, Kevin Schwartze, Tia Ralovo, Ernie Moore, Pete Kowalski, Frank Mirikitani, Keith Engle, (front l-r): Joe D'Agostino, Conner Smith, Andrew Charlton, Kenny Scott, Hunter Ward, Jay Allen (seated)

The Kansas City Blues 7s side moved to 10-0 on the season on July 12th, sweeping the field at the Parrothead 7s in Tulsa, OK with a 5-0 record en route to the Tournament Championship and $1K tournament purse. The Blues were tested by Oklahoma City RFC's physical defense in the semi-final, and by a very talented Tulsa RFC side in the final. The first place finish is the Club's second in a row, having won last week's KC Rogues 7s in Kansas City, MO.

Next Up For the Blues: The Blues hope to send 2 sides to the River City 7s in Wichita, KS on July 18th. Anyone interested in playing on the 2nd side should attend training this week.

Championship Match
Blues defeat Tulsa RFC 26-10

Semi-final Match
Blues defeat OKC RFC 19-0

Pool Round 3
Blues defeat Tulsa B 24-0

Pool Round 2
Blues defeat KC Rouges 25-5

Pool Round 1
Blues defeat Univ Central Okla. 38-7

Blues Roster
Kevin Schwartze
Jay Allen
Tia Ralovo
Conner Smith
Pete Kowalski
Sami Rakatia
Joe D'Agostino
Ernie Moore
Kenny Scott
Hunter Ward
Andrew Charlton

Head Coach: Scott Kram

06.19.2010 - Blues Win River City 7s - Look Ahead to Qualifiers

The Blues took 2 sides to the River City 7s in Wichita last weekend for the 3rd straight year, and came away Champions for the 3rd year in a row. The 'A' side went 5-0 on the day, with the 'B' side going 2-3.

Up Next For the Blues: The Blues will carry a 15-0 record this summer into the Harlequin Cup in Dallas, the first of three National Qualifiers for 7s teams in the West Union. The Blues will host the 2nd Qualifier on July 10th in Kansas City (www.kcblues.org/heartland7s), and the final qualifying event will be held in Denver on July 24th. The three West teams with the highest combined finish at the tournaments will advance to Nationals in San Francisco on August 14th.

Standing l-r: Joe D'Agostino, Tia Ralovo, Pete Kowalski, Dennis Armstrong, Scott Kram, Zack Zillner, Grant Russell, Kevin Schwartze, Kenny Scott, Danny Capps, Panama Hoover, Scott Adamson, Steve Jackman. (Kneeling l-r): Tom Deitch, Connor McDonough, David McDonough, Conner Smith, Dan Knapp, Hunter Ward. (Front): Sami Rakatia, Blake Adamson

Blues 7s Season Recap

KC Blues at the Heartland 7s July 10th. Pictured standing, l-r: Coach Scott Kram, Casey Cummings, Connor McDonough, David McDonough, Kenny Scott, Kevin Schwartze, Demetrius Clay (front, l-r): Ernie Moore, Conner Smith, Charlie Morrow, Pete Kowalski, Marty Cummings, Joe D'Agostino

The Blues 2010 Sevens season started out with a lot of promise, hit some bumps along the way, and ended with heartbreak in Denver on July 24th as the Blues again came up just short of a Nationals bid at the final West Qualifier.

Coming into the final event, the Blues sat in 3rd place in the West RFU standings but needed to finish ahead of Aspen to earn the West's 3rd bid to Nationals.

The Blues opened Pool Play against national power Olympic Club, turning in an excellent defensive effort to come out with a 7-0 victory over the Northern California side. In the 2nd round of Pool Play, the Blues drew a physically imposing Denver Barbarians 2nd side that included a number of Barbarians Super League players and former Glendale Raptors 7s players. The Barbarians executed a simple game plan that the faltering Blues struggled to contain: smash it up, blow through the point of contact, retain ball, and smash it up again. The Blues dug a 12-0 hole for themselves through defensive lapses and multiple penalties in the rucks, and never recovered. Turning in their worst performance of the summer against a good team and at the absolute worst time, the Blues lost to the bracket-busting Barbo's 2nd's by a score of 26 - 32 to even out at 1-1 in Pool Play. In the final match in Pool Play, the Blues drew a rematch with a very good Dallas Harlequins side that had already locked up Nationals qualification. Minutes into the game, the Quins opened up a 14-0 lead before the Blues buckeled down their defense. Too little too late however, as the Quins were able to hold off the comeback and the Blues lost 12-19.

Dallas advanced to the semifinals, with Aspen and Denver advancing out of the other Pool. With a 3-team tie at 1-2 in pool play, Olympic Club advanced to the semi-final based on points differential and the Blues bid for the West's 3rd seed at Nationals was lost as Aspen had locked in their points, leaving the Blues to play Albuquerque for 5th place. The Blues almost faltered again, recovering from a late Aardvarks comeback to pull-out a 26-21 win in overtime and finish the season in 4th place in the West, with an overall won-loss record of 24-5 for the summer.

Returning the majority of the core 7s Qualifier roster from 2009, the Club had high hopes for this season as a few new pieces were added to make-up for the loss of 2008 & 2009 mainstays Kelly Mercer & Marshall Lurtz to summer school, and Billy Racule to injury. Returning to the starting line-up for each Qualifier were forwards Kevin Schwartze and Conner Smith, and backs Pete Kowalski, Joe D'Agostino, Ernie Moore, and Kenny Scott. Marty Cummings added experience off the bench, while new addition Connor McDonough made an immediate impact at prop. Charlie Morrow, David McDonough, Casey Cummings, Demetrius Clay, Dan Knapp, and Hunter Ward rounded out the list of very young newcomers who saw Qualifier playing time, who combined with a group of additional youngsters on the Blues 7s Development Side represent a promising future for the 7s program.

A number of players made major sacrifices this summer to represent the Blues 7s side, and a 24-5 won-loss record along with 3 tournament championships and a close miss on Nationals is something the players and Club should be very proud of. Special thanks to 7s Head Coach Scott Kram, assistants Pete Winklebauer and Vince Pastorino, and manager Steve Jackman for their direction and help this summer.

7s Season Recap:

KC Rogues 7s Tournament - 6/5/10 - Kansas City, MO

First Place (5-0 record)

Jay Allen, Andrew Charlton, Demitrius Clay, Pete Kowalski, Scott Kram, Connor McDonough, David McDonough, Ernie Moore, Sami Rakatia, Grant Russell, Kevin Schwartze, Conner Smith

Parrothead 7s Tournament - 6/12/10 - Tulsa, OK

First Place (5-0 record)

Kevin Schwartze, Jay Allen, Tia Ralovo, Conner Smith, Pete Kowalski, Sami Rakatia, Joe D'Agostino, Ernie Moore, Kenny Scott, Hunter Ward, Andrew Charlton

River City 7s Tournament - 6/19/10 - Wichita, KS

First Place (5-0 record)

Kevin Schwartze, Conner Smith, Connor McDonough, David McDonough, Pete Kowalski, Sami Rakatia, Joe D'Agostino, Ernie Moore, Kenny Scott
Blues Development Roster: (2-3 Record)
Danny Capps, Steve Jackman, Matt Hoover, Scott Adamson, Tia Ralovo, Scott Kram, Tom Deitch, Grant Russell, Hunter Ward, Zack Zillner, Dennis Armstrong

Western Qualifier Harlequin Cup 7s - 6/26/10 - Dallas, TX

Third Place (4-1 record)

Kevin Schwartze, Conner Smith, Ernie Moore, Kenny Scott, Pete Kowalski, Casey Cummings, Marty Cummings, Sami Rakatia, Demetrius Clay, Charlie Morrow

Western Qualifier Heartland 7s - 7/10/10 - Kansas City, MO

Fifth Place (3-2 record)

Connor McDonough, Conner Smith, Kevin Schwartze, Charlie Morrow, Pete Kowalski, Marty Cummings, Casey Cummings, Joe D'Agostino, David McDonough, Ernie Moore, Kenny Scott, Demetrius Clay

Blues Development Roster (4-1 record):
Jay Allen, Grant Russell, Danny Capps, Dan Knapp, Tom Deitch, Jaron Lankers, Zack Zillner, Hunter Ward, Andrew Charlton
Western Qualifier Sneath Cup 7s - 7/24/10 - Denver, CO

Fifth Place (2-2 record)

Connor McDonough, Conner Smith, Kevin Schwartze, Charlie Morrow, Dan Knapp, Pete Kowalski, Joe D'Agostino, David McDonough, Ernie Moore, Hunter Ward, Kenny Scott

Final West RFU Standings
1. Denver Barbarians - 18 points (6 points max at all 3 qualifiers)
2. Dallas Harlequins - 8 points (4 points @ Dallas, 4 points @ KC, 0 points @ Denver*)
3. Aspen Gentlemen - 6 points (DNP @ Dallas, 2 points @ KC, 4 points @ Denver)
4. KC Blues - 5 points (2 points @ Dallas, 1 point @ KC, 2 points @ Denver*)
5. KC Rogues - 2 points (1 point @ Dallas, 0 points @ KC, 1 point @ Denver)

* - Dallas forfeited the 3rd/4th match at Denver, thereby forfeiting potential placement points which were then awarded to the next highest teams

The following Western teams played in at least 1 Qualifier but did not earn any points by placing in the Top 4: Albuqurque Aardvarks, Arkansas Gryphons, Austin Blacks, Austin Huns, Dallas Reds, Denver Barbarians 2, San Antonio, Shreveport, St. Louis Bombers, St. Louis Ramblers, University of Nebraska

09.28/2010 - D'Agostino & Scott To Represent Blues As 7s All-Stars

Blues Kenny Scott and Joe D'Agostino have been selected to play for the West Mustangs All-Star team at the 7s National All-Star Championships in New York City on August 28th & 29th. Kenny & Joe, both students at Kansas State University, have played 7s for the Blues for the past 3 years and are the first to represent the Club at 7s All-Stars in almost 10 years. They will join 4 players from Aspen, 2 from the Dallas Harlequins, and 3 Denver Barbarians on the select squad to be coached by Freddy Waititi.

10.02.2010 - Blues Beat Aspen In Sweep Of Conference Openers

Outside center Steve Sharkey (pictured) led the way for the Blues with 2 tries in their first defeat of Aspen in over 8 years on October 2nd, as the D1 side defeated the defending conference champs 39-24 to open the West Conference season with a bonus point victory. In the D3 game, Gavin Jarus scored a hat-trick for the Blues as they defeated the Arkansas Gryphons 57-19 to kick-off their Heart of America Conference schedule.

(Excerpts from www.RugbyMag.com article by Alex Goff)

The Blues won 39-24 in KC, sparked by two early tries from outside center Steve Sharkey. Perhaps the key passage of play, however, was the final 20 minutes. The Blues clung to a slim 27-24 lead with 20 to go, but the final quarter of the game was all Kansas City. Wing Pete Kowalski, and then wing Alex Collingwood, scored to put the game away.

Scrumhalf Maeli Fuimaono also scored in the game while fullback Jordan Neville recorded a try and a penalty and flyhalf Greg Gallagher two conversions.

"We're very happy with yesterday’s victory," said KC Head Coach Scott Adamson. "We continue to play a very young side and are excited about what the future holds. We stressed defense in preparation for Aspen. Those guys can score from any situation and anywhere on the field. They are experts at finding the mismatch or the overload."

Adamson drilled his players in recognizing mismatches that could burn them.

"Team defense was the star of the day," said Adamson. "[Although] they still found the try zone doing those things!"

Adamson praised double try-scorer Sharkey for his putting Aspen under pressure all day, but there was more to the story, including 6-9 lock (and former University of Nebraska basketball player) Ben Nelson.

"We are doing much better getting ball from restarts," Adamson said. "And our lineouts are much more secure. We are still not happy with all aspects of our scrum and are looking at ways to ensure a clean ball gets produced every time. We feel like our backline can play with anyone."

The second match of the day saw the Blues D3 side host an under-staffed Arkansas Gryphons team whom nonetheless started out strong. Striking first in the early goings, the Gryphons went out to a 5-0 lead before the Blues began to capitalize on pressure and started putting the likes of speedy Gavin Jarus into space. Jarus scored a hat-trick of tries on the day, while Ashley Pouche, Dustin Marks, Mike Scoma, Austin Clark, and Jordan Winemiller added tries, with Marks (3/4) and Clark (4/4) adding the conversions and Marks also hitting a penalty. Clark did his scoring on debut for the Blues, while Winemiller did so in only his 3rd ever rugby game.

Next Up For The Blues: Both sides go on the road on October 9th, with the D1 side heading to Denver, CO to face Conference leaders Glendale Raptors. The D3 side will head to Wichita to face the defending conference champion Barbarians.

D1 Blues 39 v Aspen 24 (13-10 @ half)
Tries: Sharkey (2), Neville, Fuimaono, Kowalski, Collingwood
Conv: Gallagher 3/6
Pens: Neville 1/1

D3 Blues 57 v Gryphons 19 (36 - 5 @ half)
Tries: Gavin Jarus (3), Dustin Marks, Ashley Pouche, Mike Scoma, Austin Clark, Jordan Winemiller
Conv: Marks (3/4), Clark (4/4)
Pens: Marks (1/1)

10.09.2010 - Blues Brought Back Down To Earth - Lose Both In Week 2

The momentum generated by the Blues D1 & D3 sides with big wins to open the Conference seasons last weekend was abruptly halted Oct 9th, when both fell decidedly at the hands of Conference perennials, on the road. The D1 side was slammed by the Glendale Raptors at Infinity Park in Denver 55-8, while the D3 side kept things close in the opening 40 minutes but fell to a deeper Wichita Barbarians team 38-19, in Wichita.

Both sides move to 1-1 in Conference play, each with 3 remaining games ahead before the winter break.

Next Up For The Blues: The Denver Barbarians come to town for a 1pm kick-off Oct. 16th at Mid America Sports Complex, to be followed by a game against the KC Rogues at 3pm.

10.16.2010 - Blues Dropped Again in Week 3

The Blues lost two more games October 16th, losing in D1 & D3 conference play in Week 3 with both sides falling to 1-2 records. The D1 side took a 31-22 lead into the half against an under-manned Denver Barbarians side, only to see the visitors storm back in the second set behind some crafty playmaking and a lot of guts to pull away with a 51-36 victory in a wide-open, high scoring affair. Blues halfback Maeli Fuimaono scored twice for the Blues in the game.

The D3 side lost a barn-burner of their own against the KC Rogues, coming close at the end but not close enough as they fell 44-39. The talented Blues D3 backline scored all 6 of the team's tries.

Next up for the Blues: D1 goes on the road to face Boulder in a must-win Conference match October 23rd, while the D3 side is at home against Topeka on Saturday, and then hosts the Central Collegiate All Star camp and scrimmages them on Sunday. Both are at Mid America.

10.23.2010 - Week 4 Brings Victory For D1 & D3

The Blues got back on the winning track on October 23rd, as both the D1 and the D3 sides won Conference matches to even their records at 2-2. In Boulder, CO. fullback Jordan Neville scored 10 points with his foot (2 conv and 2 penalties), including a game-deciding PK from 40 meters out with only 4 minutes on the clock, as the Blues squeaked out a 23-21 win against Boulder RFC behind tries from Greg Gallagher and Levi Johnson. Meanwhile, back in Kansas City the Blues D3 side was lead by center Mike Scoma, who charged to a number of scores en route to a 60-0 win over visiting Topeka RFC.

With one fall match remaining for each side, October 30th at home will be a key date at Mid America as the D1 host the Denver Highlanders, and the D3 plays host to Springfield RFC.

10.30.2010 - Blues Finish Fall With A Pair Of Wins

The Blues finished the fall season on a high note on October 30th, securing a pair of victories in D1 and D3 conference play to complete the Fall half of the competitive season. The D1 side hosted the Denver Rugby Highlanders, getting out to a 22-0 lead at the half en route to a 39-5 victory. The bonus-point win puts the Blues at 3-2 record and a tie for 2nd place in the West Northern Conference, with 5 Conference games still to go in the Spring. The D3 side hosted Springfield RFC, and put in a similarly strong performance in beating the visiting side 46-25. The victory see's the D3 side close out the fall season with a 3-2 HOA Conference record.

Kansas City Blues Rugby Club