Sports

BGMS cheerleaders share the spirit with girls teams

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Two-four-six-eight, Bobcat cheerleaders show they appreciate girl athletes too. For the first time at Bowling Green City Schools, the middle school cheerleaders recently chanted on the sidelines for the seventh and eighth grade girls basketball teams. After only cheering for boys games in the past – cheering for girls seemed natural. The cheerleaders had planned to root for their female classmates a couple weeks ago – but got snowed out. “When the first game was canceled, everyone was pretty bummed,” said cheerleader Audrey Nester. So that made last week’s game even sweeter. “I feel like everyone was excited. We’re like friends with them.” Fellow cheerleader Emma Ferguson agreed. “Sometimes the girls say they never have as much of an audience,” Emma said. “They were really excited.” Cheerleaders Audrey Nester and Emma Ferguson Even though the stands weren’t full – (remember this is seventh and eighth grade basketball) – the gym was loud with chanting and cheering. “It’s a different atmosphere,” Emma said. “It’s a ‘we support each other’ atmosphere.” Melanie Ferguson, Emma’s mom and a middle school teacher, said the tradition has always been for cheerleaders to root for the boys teams. “That’s just been the thing,” Ferguson said. “But slowly, some schools are changing.” Some of the girls basketball players were actually unsure about the added pressure this might bring. “Some were nervous. It will be loud,” they told Ferguson. In preparation for the game, the girls basketball team made goodie bags for the cheerleaders, and the cheerleaders made cookies for the team, she said. “We love supporting all the sports,” said Jordan Betz, the cheerleading coach. “Our girls love to cheer,” and cheering is their sport, Betz said. “This is our chance to show them we are athletes, too.” Cheerleaders share the spirit at girls basketball game. Basketball player Audrey Geyman said the presence of the cheerleaders made the team feel good. “It’s like pretty amazing to have them here, and not just for the boys. They care,” Audrey said. As he stood on the sidelines cheering on the girls basketball…

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Josh Almanson shares his hoop skills with hometown youngsters

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Josh Almanson was just getting ready to launch his professional career, he decided he wanted to share the skills that had gotten him that far with the kids in his hometown of Bowling Green. So the Josh Almanson Basketball Camp was launched. On Monday the 13th camp gets underway at the Bowling Green Community Center. The camp runs Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day for girls and boys who will be entering grades 2-9. Almanson’s pro career lasted nine years starting and ending in Luxembourg with stops between in Germany, France, and Portugal. But every year, he’d bring home what he’d learned along the way. He’s now a middle school assistant principal in Worthington, a suburb of Columbus, where he also serves as athletic director. Almanson, 36, said the camp taught him lessons as well. It gave him an exposure to working with youngsters that fueled his interest in education. Over the years he’s learned that the campers come in full of energy, and his job is to make sure they expend it before they leave the gym at the end of the day. “You don’t want them to go home with some left in the tank,” he said. Children’s first exposure to basketball often comes from seeing game highlights. He wants to show them what goes into creating those spectacular plays. “What happens when they show up to a tryout and practice? Their exposure may be seeing highlights, this looks completely different.” There’s training in the fundamentals, integrated with a lot of game play. “We have different team competitions or individual competitions. We do a lot of skill work and development. That’s kind of the basis, a lot of skill work and a lot of competition.” The camp draws 60 to 80 kids from all over Northwest Ohio. “They have a good time and meet new people.” Depending on numbers they’ll be broken down into several groups based on age. Some of the students come in with relatively advanced skills and already play in leagues. Others are just…


Turning the game on its head will give American soccer a leg up in the World Cup

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As the sporting world turns its gaze toward Russia and the final games of the World Cup, the United States is on the outside looking in. The U.S. Men’s National Team failed to qualify for the tournament at all after a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago last year. That’s the first time the team missed out on soccer’s biggest showcase since 1990. Yet even then only once did the U.S. advance as far as the quarterfinals. The failure of the men’s team (the women’s team, a dominant force in the world’s game. is another story) has cause plenty of head scratching and advice on how to improve. Most focus on training at the elite levels. Two local men Nathan Richardson and Carlo Celli, both on faculty at Bowling Green State University as well as youth soccer coaches, administrators and parents, have other ideas. Those ideas sprang from their experience here in Bowling Green as well as around the world. Celli is a native of Italy, where he continues to summer, and Richardson’s scholarship has meant stays in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries. The result of their passion for the game and frustrations with its state in the U.S. have resulted in a broad prescription in book form, “Shoeless Soccer: Fixing the System and Winning the World Cup.” The book has garnered attention on Fox News and the authors wrote an opinion piece in USA Today. The epiphany came in Bowling Green. Richardson was leading winter training sessions for Bowling Green Soccer Club players at the Community Center. During one practice, one of the young players’ shoe “exploded.” There was no way to fix it, so rather than exclude the boy, Richardson suggested they all play barefoot. Setting fear of stubbed bruised, even broken, toes aside, the kids played on and Richardson realized being shoeless forced the youngsters to play with more care, and with more technique. No toeing the ball with a bare foot, rather they were forced to have the soft touch every soccer player wants to achieve. They were learning without…


Poetry in motion – Sandra Faulkner explores link between women & running

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Sandra Faulkner wanted to study women runners, she used poetry as well as footnotes. Earlier this year, Faulkner, a professor in the School of Media and Communication, published “Real Women Run: Running as Feminist Embodiment.” The book is deeply personal scholarship. Early on Faulkner traces her own history as a runner, starting when she was 11 years old, growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta. She ran so hard her nose started bleeding. She didn’t notice until she finished the race, and won third place. But she missed the awards ceremony because her mother couldn’t staunch the bleeding. Her life as a runner has been full of small triumphs, injuries, and frustrations – sometimes at the same time. Though Faulkner says she doesn’t race to place, she’s still competitive. After one race she saw that she was fourth in her age group, but she thought there were only four runners in that class. Only later didn’t she learn there were more than that. Her life as a runner is told in brief journal-like entries, and each is paired with a haiku. One reads: “Don’t call us a girl / don’t call us a girl jogger / fierce women running.” The personal stories are “in service critiquing, discovering, uncovering larger social patterns,” she said. They take us up to Sept. 3, 2016, when Faulkner is 44 and has a daughter of her own, who cheers on her mother and herself has started running. “She’s more of a sprinter,” Faulkner said. This was the right time for Faulkner, an ethnographer, to research women and running. She would never have done this as a dissertation. When she used interviews for her dissertation on Sex and Sexuality at Penn State, where she studied interpersonal communication, it was considered unconventional. But when “Real Women Run” was starting, Faulkner had tenure and was taking the next step of applying for promotion to full professor. She had already completed a much cited book on poetic inquiry, “Poetry as Method: Reporting Research through Verse.” “I’m convinced that this book wouldn’t have…


Baseball is a numbers game for BGSU Distinguished Professor Jim Albert

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Life is becoming more like baseball, at least when it comes to numbers. “This is really the best time to be a statistician,” said Jim Albert, of the Bowling Green State University faculty. “Data is so much a part of our lives. It’s affecting every part of our lives,” just like baseball, the most statistically dense sports, and Albert’s passion. The book he wrote with Jay Bennett “Curve Ball: Baseball, Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game” is baseball by the numbers. It applies advanced statistical metrics to all aspects of the game. In February the university board of trustees named Albert a Distinguished University Professor. Trustee James Bailey said the university is lucky some major league team hasn’t snapped Albert up as a team statistician. Albert’s love of baseball goes back to his upbringing in Philadelphia. He is a Phillies fan. He played youth baseball, but concedes he wasn’t good. His game is tennis. “I grew up on baseball and collected baseball cards and playing baseball simulation gams like Strat-O-Matic,” he said. He had an aptitude for numbers. He was on the math club in high school and took part in math competitions. ­Decades later he devoted the first chapter of “Curve Ball” to the various statistical models used by baseball simulation games. With a natural inclination toward numbers, Albert went on to study mathematics at Bucknell University and then earned his graduate degrees from Purdue. BGSU wasn’t really much on his radar. That statistics was lumped in with math was a bit of a concern. Statistics usually does better in an area like business, sociology, or medicine “because they need that application.” Still he took the job in 1979, and has stayed ever since. His wife, Anne Albert, was hired to teach mathematics at the University of Findlay. “We were hired and got tenure at the same time,” he said. She retired two years ago. So the decision to stay was easy. Also, Albert has an interest in education, so being at a university with a strong education program was…


BGSU fires women’s basketball coach

Bowling Green State University Director of Athletics Bob Moosbrugger has announced that Jennifer Roos will not return as head women’s basketball coach for the 2018-19 season. “I want to thank Coach Roos for the 17 years she has given to our women’s basketball program. She was a part of tremendous success within the program and we wish her the best in her future endeavors.” Roos spent 17 years within the program, including the last six as head coach. Her teams went 92-97 overall, including a 30-5 record in 2013-14 that included a regular season Mid-American Conference Championship. Roos is owed her prorated salary of $209,100 through May 1, 2019. The University could recoup some of that money if she finds other employment. Moosbrugger will begin the search for a new head coach immediately. “BGSU strives for excellence in all we do, whether in academics or athletics,” added Moosbrugger. “Our women’s basketball program has been a source of pride for our alumni and fans. We are committed to success in the classroom and on the court.”


Time running out to help BGSU’s Slater Ice Arena earn Hockeyville USA distinction

From SLATER FAMILY ICE ARENA The Slater Family Ice Arena in Bowling Green, OH is making a run for the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA 2018!  The Kraft Hockeyville USA contest is in its fourth season and focuses on the community spirit fostered by participating in the sport of ice hockey, as well as other types of involvement found in ice arenas around the country.  Local arenas participate by initially being nominated by someone from the community. Once nominated, additional community members are encouraged to share their passion for their hometown ice arena through posting stories, pictures, videos, and notes, and include reacting to what has been posted and sharing the content with others. This year’s contest is in the nomination phase until March 10, 2018.  Judging will occur from March 11 – March 16, with the top four finalists being announced on March 31.  The next phase is a national voting period from April 13 at 12:00am ET to April 14 at 11:00am ET. This vote will be open for the entire country to choose the most deserving rink out of the four finalists.  The Grand Prize Winner is scheduled to be announced at an NHL game at 3:00pm ET on April 14. The Grand Prize Winner receives $150,000 in rink upgrades and hosts a future pre-season NHL game. The numerous skaters and fans who have called the Slater Family Ice Arena home for over 50 years strongly believe the local arena embodies the sense of community that is built from the passion of hockey and skating.   The Slater Family Ice Arena is unique in that it is a university ice arena on the campus of Bowling Green State University housing the competitive Division I Falcon Hockey team and activities for BGSU students, while also serving multiple communities through Learn to Skate programs, recreational Public Skates, Youth Hockey, Figure Skating, Adult Hockey, and High School hockey, among others. Winning would help improve the facility for all user groups of the building through updating and adding spaces to allow additional hockey and skating instruction and events, more local high schools…