We started (the Utah Rugby Open) in answer to a need to have a high-caliber tournament for the youth in Utah. We partnered with United World Sport, NBC Universal and the Varsity Cup to make it occur. —Michael Cressler, president of Utah Youth Rugby

High school rugby teams from across the country are descending on the Salt Lake Valley this weekend to participate in the Utah Rugby Open.

The event, an invitational tournament hosted by Utah Youth Rugby, will field a U-18 girls division, three boys divisions (U-18, U-16, and U-14), and will include high school state champions from Utah, Idaho and Arizona.

“Utah Youth Rugby has been growing 28 percent annually for almost five years,” said Michael Cressler, president of Utah Youth Rugby. He added that participation has grown from 574 players in 2009 to 3,720 players in 2013.

“We started (the Utah Rugby Open) in answer to a need to have a high-caliber tournament for the youth in Utah,” he said. “We partnered with United World Sport, NBC Universal and the Varsity Cup to make it occur.”

The open will be played over two days, May 2 and 3, and matches will be held at the soccer complex in West Jordan. The championship matches for the boys and girls U-18 divisions will be held Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in conjunction with the college Varsity Cup championship between BYU and Cal.

Stats, scores and tournament information can be found at UtahRugbyOpen.com. Information about Utah Youth Rugby can be found at UtahYouthRugby.org.

Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.