By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The BGSU rugby team fought its way to the top – triumphing over St. Joseph University over the weekend for the national championship and putting Bowling Green in the national spotlight.
Mayor Dick Edwards noted the last time a Falcon athletic team won a national championship was in 1984 when the hockey team won after four overtimes.
Edwards recognized Roger Mazzarella, director of the BGSU Rugby Club, for keeping the program alive.
“What you’ve done with this club …” the mayor said during the City Council meeting on Monday. “It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”
The rugby club has had to scrape for funding and “fight for your space over there,” Edwards said, recognizing Mazzarella and his son, Tony, who coaches the team.
Tony Mazzarella said the championship was the end to an “amazing season” for the team.
“We didn’t have our best overall season this year,” Roger Mazzarella said. But the senior-laden team was determined. “The guys were so committed this year.”
His dad commented on the St. Joseph team, saying “They weren’t very Jesuit on the field there yesterday.”
Council President Mike Aspacher complimented the team’s success.
“You certainly made Bowling Green proud,” he said.
Also at the meeting, City Attorney Mike Marsh praised the city’s police and fire services.
About six months ago, the furnace at his sister’s home blew up, creating a large fire. The firefighters performed heroically, and police stood with his sister in her front yard, in the rain, for five hours.
On Sunday, his sister moved back into her home.
“I think sometimes we take them for granted,” Marsh said of the accredited police and fire divisions.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Edwards read a proclamation declaring December as “general aviation appreciation month.”
“I have enormous respect for what you all do there,” for the city, county and BGSU, Edwards said to Wood County Regional Airport manager Mark Black.
The airport has been in Bowling Green since the 1940s, helping with economic development and training young pilots at BGSU.
Black voiced his appreciation to the city for its support, and said that when pilots land at the airport, he points out local restaurants and businesses for them to visit.
Black talked about the expansion of the BGSU Flight Center, which is responding to the national pilot shortage.
In other business at Monday’s meeting:
- City Council held a moment of silence to show respect for George H.W. Bush’s commitment to public service.
- Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Director Mary Hinkelman thanked city departments for their work with the city’s Holiday Parade.
- Edwards reported that city officials will be meeting this week with economic development commissions from the county and the city about Bowling Green’s welcoming initiative. The initiative is intended to grow the local economy and the employment base.
- Public Works Director Brian Craft said the Conneaut Avenue paving is complete.
- Council member Greg Robinette asked Craft to update the list of priorities for street work.