UNITED STATES QUAD RUGBY ASSOCIATION
Many didn’t think they would get out of their Section to play in D-I. No one picked them to play in the finals. Not many thought they could beat the seasoned veterans of Lakeshore in a prime time final.
Problem is: Everyone forgot to consult the Denver Harlequins. They believed, and man did they play like they believed.
And a star was born. After 5 or 6 years of playing, a sometimes stormy fellow came of age. And one hell of a rugby player emerged in 2006-07 in the person of Chance Sumner. D-I MVP Sumner, a 3.0, combined brilliantly with 2.5 Ross Morrison, 1.5 Adam Scaturro, and the “.5 who could” Jason Regier (each best of class.) The mountain men played inspired rugby, in the process forcing two 15 second violations against the Demolition. Lakeshore probably hasn’t had 2 of those in an entire tournament this season.
Champs themselves, Bryan Kirkland, Willard Brooks, Dan Buckingham, Bobby Lujano, Tom “V” Vinzant, and Tommy Sullivan didn’t go quietly. They battled back and got the score to within one late in the fourth quarter, but this one belonged to the Quins.
This was a fantastic game. Denver latched on to this contest, and like Rocky Mountain pit bulls they wouldn’t let go. The Demolition couldn’t pry the brass ring away from these guys. In their first trip to the finals – first ever in semis! – the Quins played with the poise of seasoned champions. We hear Ross Morrision won’t be back because of Great Britain commitments. Too bad. He has evolved into an elite rugby player himself.
Each team in D-I had at least one loss – a rarity. The fickled finger of fate seemed to be at work. Denver lost to Phoenix in pool play, but Lakeshore was upset by the Portland Pounders (now beefed up even more with Will Groulx classed down to 2.0). Had Lakeshore beaten Portland, Denver would have been playing Lakeshore in the semis, and Hoveround would have won the tie-break and been playing Phoenix.
It didn’t happen that way. As the saying goes, that is why we play the games.
Special mention needs to be given to the Northridge Knights who defeated Portland, and the Pounders themselves for knocking off Lakeshore and the 2006 champ Phoenix Heat in the same tournament.
It was a memorable D-I championship. We again thank Louisville, Frazier Rehab and all of our sponsors. Pictures courtesy of Paralyzed Veterans of America; Sports 'n Spokes. Photos by Mark Cowan
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