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Chicago Lions


Championship Series Event

For the first time in club history, the Chicago Lions were selected to participate in the Las Vegas Invitational 7’s Tournament, held inside Sam Boyd Stadium in conjunction with the 2010 IRB USA 7’s Competition. The Lions played in a cut-throat division of 12 powerhouse programs, and once again proved that even the best 7’s competition our country has to offer isn’t enough to stop this team on any given Saturday.

The team got off to a fast start in their first match of the tournament, shaking off all visible signs of rust accrued from not playing together competitively in nearly six months, and used a balanced offensive attack with tries Scott Peterson, Patrick “Boomer” Twardak, Mat DeGutes, and Mark Roberts to take down a tough Kansas City Blues side 24-17.

The second match of the day presented a bit of a “revenge” factor for those who keep tabs on the Lions, as they took on the only team to beat them in National Championship Pool Play during the summer of 2009; the Northern Virginia (NOVA) Rugby Club. The Lions were able to secure ball possession throughout most of the match, and benefitted from solid individual performances once again from Peterson, Roberts, Tommy Dolan, Austin Britts, and Brian Rooney to avenge their previous loss to this Mid-Atlantic foe, beating NOVA by the score of 26-14; good for a first place finish in Pool 4 of the Las Vegas Club Championship Series and strong momentum heading into the knock-out rounds.

In quarterfinals action, the Lions faced the tall task of taking down the defending Super League Champions, San Francisco Golden Gate.  In what was by far their most difficult match thus far in the tournament, the Lions initially struggled to defend against San Francisco’s blazing speed and flawless ball skills in the match’s opening minutes. Despite the world-class caliber opposition they were lined up against, the Lions were able to compose themselves and settle down eventually, getting back to their gameplan and taking the offensive attack to Golden Gate side in the second half. Tries were scored from DeGutes, Jeremy Nash, and Eddie Bluemel in regulation to force a sudden-death overtime session to determine which team would be heading to the semi-finals, and which would be heading home. In overtime, it was the Lions’ defense that proved to be the star, as they shut down every attempt San Francisco made at breaking through the gainline, and were able to force a timely turnover nearly two minutes into play. After three phases of looking to expose holes that simply weren’t appearing, the Lions swung the ball out to a streaking Roberts, who took the match into his own hands by displaying a most brilliant kick and chase play over the San Francisco defenders, securing possession afterwards, and taking the ball past the tryline for the game winner as the Lions emerged from this heart-stopping match the victors, 26-21. The Lions were now 3-0 on the afternoon, with one day of rugby left to play, and two potential matches remaining on their way to the title.

In Saturday’s action, the Lions found themselves staring down a familiar and formidable opponent to slay on their way to the finals; the 2008 Men’s Club 7’s Champions, the Gentlemen of Aspen.  Seizing the opportunity in front of them in grand fashion, and displaying their trademark style of tough, smart, physical rugby, the Chicago rode a superb team-defensive effort and tries from Bluemel, DeGutes, and Jordan Highberger to secure a 19-12 victory over Aspen, and spot in the Championship against the defending 2009 Men’s Club 7’s Champions and three-time Super League Champions, Belmont Shore.

The Chicago Lions and Belmont Shore require no introduction to each other. The two clubs share an extensive history, dating back to 1997 when both teams were founding members of the Rugby Super League. Since 2007, the history has been relatively one-sided, in favor of Belmont. The Lions lost their shot at a claiming their first Super League Championship to Belmont in the finals in 2007. In 2008, the Lions and Belmont would meet again in the Super League playoffs, this time in the semi-finals, but the match ended in the same result, with Belmont walking over Chicago on their way to the finals. Then, in 2009, the Lions were unceremoniously knocked out in the semi-finals of the Men’s Club 7’s Championship by the same dominant rugby club hailing from Los Angeles.

This time, in 2010, the Lions would look to strike their revenge.

Before an anxious crowd inside Sam Boyd Stadium, the Lions showcased an astounding array of talent, determination, and heart as they faced the mighty Belmont Tigers in what was the most watched and anticipated match of the tournament. From the opening kickoff, the Lions controlled all facets of gameplay, including the ever important battles of territory and possession. Throughout the match, however, Belmont continued to capitalize on errors and lapses in judgment made by the Lions, and made them pay dearly for each one. When the final whistle blew, the Lions found themselves on the wrong end of a 31-7 clash, unable to end their losing streak to one of the most renowned clubs in America.

Chicago Lions with their BIG check

The Lions played incredible rugby, and turned quite a few heads this weekend in Las Vegas, leaving more than a few people surprised with their style and high level of play amongst the country’s best 7’s competition. One group of people that were not at all surprised by this, however, were the Chicago Lions themselves and their legions of supporters across the globe. Cheers to another fantastic run, boys. You made the club proud.

The Club Championship Series, sponsored by the USA 7s, featured club teams from across the United States and Canada, as well as select-sides from around the world. More than 150 teams competed in 2010, with an expansion to 11 divisions of competition for men, women and youth players.

Chicago Lions waiting to take the field.

Men’s Premier 7’s

Pool 1                               Pool 2                   Pool 3                   Pool 4
NYAC                              OMBAC             SFGG                     Chicago Lions
Glendale                           Old Blue              Long Island         Kansas City Blues
Belmont Shore                  Aspen                   Denver                  NOVA

For the first time ever the Chicago Lions RFC Sevens team will venture out to Las Vegas to compete in the Club Championship Series which coincides with International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Circuit. The Lions play Friday against Kansas City RFC and then rivals NOVA in pool play. The top two teams advance to the quarterfinals. See schedule here:

Catch matches from the Summer of 2009

Here is additional information:

The field for the inaugural USA Sevens Championship Cup Series finals is set as 12 of the best 7s teams in the USA will battle in Las Vegas February 12 and 13.

The championship tournament will be held during the Las Vegas Invitationals on the USA 7s IRB event weekend.

Clubs competed in five qualifying tournaments all over the USA competing for ten spots, with two wild card spots open for two others. Life University qualified but had to pull out, leaving three wild card spots, filled by Old Blue, the Chicago Lions, and San Francisco Golden Gate.

They join the nine qualifiers: Aspen, Belmont Shore, Denver Barbarians, Glendale, Kansas City Blues, Long Island, NYAC, NOVA, and OMBAC.

The teams are split into four pools of three teams each. The pools play a round robin, with the top two from each pool moving on to the quarterfinals. The third-place teams from each pool move into the Bowl competition.

The competition begins the morning of Friday, February 12 with NYAC taking on Glendale and OMBAC against Old Blue.

Pool 1
Belmont Shore
Pool 2
Old Blue
Pool 3
Long Island
Denver Barbarians
Pool 4
Chicago Lions
Kansas City Blues

The quarterfinals, Plate and Bowl competitions will all be completed on Friday. Saturday will see the Cup semifinals, the consolation final, and the Cup Final. The Cup Final will be played in Sam Boyd Stadium during a break in the USA 7s action Feb 13.

The champions will take home $7,500 in prize money, while the runners up get $2,500 courtesy of the USA 7s tournament.

The lineup of teams is impressive, with five of the teams involved responsible for the last five national 7s championships. In fact, of the 20 top four spots in the last five national club 7s championships, 18 have been claimed by teams in this tournament (Maryland Exiles is not in the CCS, and finished 4th twice).

MS-150 Bike Ride

Posted: November 5, 2009 in 1

This summer I participated in my first MS-150. I headed up to Minnesota with two of my clients and we did two 75 mile bike rides. For some reason we took off right at the start of the race. I thought we were trying to catch up with someone. The guys from Parktool set the pace. It was 50 miles in that I finally caught my breath. By that time we had pretty much passed everyone. I think I have only gone that fast on a bike one other time in my life and it was only after watching Armstrong tackle a tour stage 🙂

Sea of BikesI had a great time and the people in Minnesota were definitely North Carolina nice!

Here is a link for the ride:

Special thanks to those that donated to MS.

The Crew

MS-150 June 2009

This workout is normally done by the Chicago Lions RFC Sevens team if practice gets rained out. Give it a try and see how you do.

7s Circuit Training @ Home or in the gym

1 hour 15 minutes

Warm Up

Do the dynamic exercises but in place with a longer hold and only half as much.

Perform each exercise for 30sec rest for 10sec.

Water break between entire circuit 3 minutes

(approx 10-12 min for entire circuit) Complete 4 Rounds of the circuit

1. Star Jumps
2. Bicycle Crunches (keep your shoulders up alternate side to side)
3. Clap Push Ups (not for time, do 15)
4. Single Leg Squat Touchdown (to foot) (Left)
5. Single Leg Squat Touchdown (to foot) (Right)
6. Push Ups X25
7. Supermans
8. Fast Punching (Shadow Boxing)
9. Front Planks (with alternating leg raises)
10. Side Planks (Left) (Earn a star by raising your Right Leg)
11. Side Planks (Right) (Earn a star by raising your Left Leg)
12. Squat Jumps
13. Wall Sit (no break between Wall Sits)
14. Wall Sit
15. Split Cycle Lunge

Stretch at the end (calves, groin, hip flexor (Lunge, make sure pelvis is tilted forward), quads, chest, shoulders, and hips).

it was bitter sweet to see John when he got back from Everest. I met with him at Morgan Street Cafe. He had been on Everest just some 50 hours prior. He had lost 30 pounds and had taken a bit of a beating from the mountain but he always has such a great attitude. Below is a link to his blog detailing the events that led him to descend from Camp IV after 24 hours in the “death zone.”

The 2nd link is a short clip of the storm they descended through to make it back to base camp.

You can still donate to his cause to further orthopeadic research by going to

Discovery Channel will be airing 6 one hour episodes of John and Jon’s summit attempt in November of this year.

Golden’s Blog:

Video Clip in the storm: