What do the US Army, some polar bears, and sea gulls have in common? They all faced off against the panthers this weekend at Bowdoin College’s “Polar Bear Sevens” tournament in Brunswick, Maine. Middlebury celebrated Earth Day in style, led by flower child/ coach extraordinaire KO Onufry, who asked the ladies to summon the power of Mother Earth for this occasion.
Due to a miscommunication, the panthers had not one, but two horses in the race, as they discovered upon their arrival that both an A side and a B side had been entered into pool play. With a traveling side of 13 players, this prospect yielded only a few soft screams from panicking players and coaches alike. With the great and generous help of a few BU players, though, Midd was able to rearrange their roster and field two highly successful sides.
Midd B started things off for the panthers with a match against Endicott B. Tries from Emma Nelson ’20 (converted) and Calla Rosenfeld ’19 kept the Gulls on their toes, but in the end it was a 12-31 loss.
Roughly five seconds later, Midd A took the pitch to face off against the University of New England, whom they beat handily with a 39-0 win.
It was Midd B’s turn again right after, this time against Bowdoin B. Though the panthers were able to give them a run for their money, Midd fell short, ceding five tries to the polar bears.
In the last game of Middlebury’s morning quadruple-header (or a 4×4, as west-coasters Franny Suarez and Ariana Hernandez would call it), the A side had their toughest matchup of the day against Norwich A. The panthers took it right to them, though they were unable to make it into their end zone. After a valiant fight, the panthers walked off with their heads held high.
After lunch/nap break, Midd A was reenergized ahead of their most long-awaited match of the day against Bowdoin A. Bowdoin was clearly expecting an easy win, because after Ellen Colton ’19’s try in the first 10 seconds of play, they sent in an entire new front row and switched several of their backs, using all five substitutions. If polar bears had long tails, they would have been between their legs for the remaining 13 minutes and 50 seconds, because Middlebury never lost their lead thanks to some really spectacular running, drives, and, of course, the resulting tries. In an upset victory, the Panthers would win it 26-20.
With the A-side cheering from the sidelines, Midd B took on their final opponents of the day, Norwich B. Both sides fought hard, but Midd was unable to secure the W.
Not expecting to earn second place in their pool, the Panthers now faced off against their closest opponents of the day: West Point. The Panthers were unsure of where to go at first because the Army was nowhere to be seen, but once they took off their camo they were easily spotted by the Panthers, whose sharp eyesight is, according to most of the internet sites I consulted for this research, “excellent.”
Unsure of what a victory over the US Army Cadets would mean (would we conquer the military? Seize control of the government? Get the nuclear codes?), the panthers were ready for a fight. Despite the cheers of “WAR” from the West Point sidelines, Midd kept their eyes on the prize, scoring tries in both halves. In the end, the military industrial complex maintained its firm grip on American life, securing a 17-26 victory over the Panthers, which was probably for the best considering our very limited understanding of governmental procedure.
Scoreboard results aside, it truly was a great day for rugby! The panthers learned a lot from watching and playing, all ahead of the ACRA tournament next weekend in Kutztown, Pennsylvania! See below for full results:
v. UNE: 39-0 W
v. Norwich A: 0-41 L
v. Bowdoin A: 26-20 W
v. Army B: 17-26 L
Final: 2-2 for the day
v. Endicott B: 12-31 L
v. Bowdoin B: 0-25 L
v. Norwich B: 12-36 L
Final: 0-3 for the day