Sports

BGSU’s We Are One Team to host Robbie Rogers, March 15

From WE ARE ONE TEAM We Are One Team (WA1T), an award-winning initiative to promote social justice through sport at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), will present soccer star Robbie Rogers, who has made history by becoming the first openly gay male athlete to compete in one of the five major North American Sports Leagues, as its 2017 spring speaker for the WA1T: Our Voices educational series. On Wednesday, March 15, at 6 p.m. in Olscamp 101, Rogers will be visiting BGSU to share his powerful story about how coming out has affected his soccer career and life. The event, titled “We Are One Team (WA1T) Presents: Robbie Rogers – Coming Out to Play,” is open to the public. “I couldn’t be more excited to visit BGSU in March. I’m extremely inspired by We Are One Team (WA1T) and look forward to sharing my experiences as an openly gay athlete as well as to meet the students who in many ways have motivated me to continue to live my life with purpose and passion,” Rogers says. Rogers has made a name for himself in the soccer world and beyond. He was first introduced to the game when he was four years old, and ever since then he has continued to train and follow his passion. He has played for the Columbus Crew, Leeds United, Stevenage and was a former member of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team. Currently, he plays for the Major League Soccer Club L.A. Galaxy, representing number 14 on the field as a defender. Rogers is not only an inspirational athlete on the field, but also uses his platform as an athlete to promote social justice off the field. He has shared his unique story with others through his book”Coming Out to Play. “The book focuses on his journey from keeping his sexuality secret to stepping forward and becoming a trailblazing, out and proud professional athlete. Rogers is a role model for those who may not have found their voices and who may be hindered to go after their dreams.


Ice arena gets new name as part of golden anniversary celebration

  From BGSU Bowling Green State University will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ice arena with a weekend full of activities. That includes: The ceremony officially changing the Ice Arena’s name to the Slater Family Ice Arena. Appearances by some of BGSU’s greatest hockey players and Olympian Scott Hamilton ’94 (Hon.) Mike “Doc” Emrick ’76 doing the play-by-play for the BGSU Hockey game. A free figure skating show featuring Hamilton and two-time U.S. national champion Alissa Czisny ’09. EVENTS Friday, Feb. 10 BGHS/Bobcat Hockey vs. Findlay, 7 p.m. Skate with the Bobcats, 8:30 – 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 Pre-game Party and Coaches Chalk Talk, 3:30 – 5 p.m. BGSU vs. Mercyhurst, 5:05 p.m. Ice Arena 50th Anniversary Celebration (emceed by “Doc” Emrick), 7:30 – 10 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 Figure Skating Show, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Community Open Skate, 3:30 – 5:20 p.m. To register: https://emsregics.bgsu.edu/IceArena50th


BG foundation gives grants to community groups

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Community organizations were given grants earlier this week to bring music, sports, reading and more to Bowling Green. The grants, from the Bowling Green Community Foundation, are intended to help the very young to the very old, and everyone in between. The annual grant program began after the 1993 BG Leadership class started the foundation in order to help local groups serve the community, explained Cal Bowers, president of the foundation. “What you’re doing speaks to the vibrancy of our community. You’re at the core of it,” said Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. This year’s grants total $29,000 for 14 different projects. “That’s an impact to this community,” Bowers said. Following is a list of all the projects awarded grants. BG Area Community Bands – $2,250 for a community band festival. “This is our 10th year as a community band. We feel we have become a staple in the community,” said Ardy Gonyer. “We’re very grateful for the support of Bowling Green.” Thom Headley explained the grant will help the band put on a concert with a guest conductor on May 6. BG City Schools – $1,000 for One Book BG literacy program. Two third grade teachers, Jeni Niekamp and Jonelle Semancik explained the grant will help the schools purchase books for every pre-kindergarten through fifth grade student. The reading program unites families and the community around one common book. “It’s created to promote a love of learning,” Semancik said. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for the natural obstacle course. Ivan Kovacevic, of the parks and rec department, said the outdoor obstacle course behind the community center has already been the site of the Zombie Mud Run last fall. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for waterpark splashpad creature. The splashpad additions help complete the area for the youngest pool users. “They are both really true community projects,” Kovacevic said of the pool and obstacle course. BG Youth Hockey Association – $1,100 for rink system upgrade. The hockey program involves 315 kids, ages 5 to 15, said Jennifer Bowers. “It’s a really big asset for the community,” she said. “It’s a team of people volunteering a lot of hours. The problem is we don’t have enough equipment.” The grant will help replace orange cones…


NCAA honors We Are One Team at BGSU for promoting diversity and inclusion

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The NCAA thinks there’s something special about the We Are One Team, a student-driven project that uses sports to promote diversity, acceptance and inclusion at Bowling Green State University. The NCAA thinks the project is so special that it is giving WA1T its Award for Diversity and Inclusion. President Mary Ellen Mazey along with founder Yannick Kluch will travel to Nashville in January to accept the honor. “BGSU has long history of this,’ Mazey said. “This is really what we’re all about and have been for many years.” Support for diversity is written into the Falcon Creed, which also originated with students. That’s evident, she said, in the president’s office where an African American president served for 16 years followed by two female presidents as well as in the student body which is about 23 percent people of color and international. It’s demonstrated, she said, in Not In Our Town and It’s on Us, all projects with which WA1T collaborates. Kluch said that the project grew from his own experience as an international student. He came here in 2012 to study as a graduate student in Popular Culture from his native Hamburg, Germany. He admits he had some reservations about coming from a metropolitan city to “small town Ohio.” But he found his place, in part thanks to sports. Early on he attended a football game, American football, not the soccer he played back home. He didn’t know anything about the game, he just cheered when everyone else did. That’s where made his first Bowling Green friends. Now studying for a doctorate in Media and Communication, his interest in diversity led him to think about how “the emotional power of sports” could be harnessed to bring people together. Last January he and two other graduate students in Media and Communication, Chelsea Kannert and Christian Thompson, started discussions about how to do that. WA1T was launched in September. “It has definitely been a crazy ride,” Kluch said. “In our short amount of time we’ve definitely had an impact. The NCAA award is definitely a sign we’re doing good things on campus.” They’ve sponsored an event that brought in representatives from the Muhammad Ali center. They sponsored a talk by BGSU transgender athlete Brent Durah. After the packed event Durah said…


BGSU trustees to vote on naming ice arena for Slater family

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COOMMUNICATIONS The Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees will be asked to approve the naming of the “Slater Family Ice Arena” at its Dec. 9 board meeting. The naming is in recognition of a gift from the Scott Slater family. Slater ’73 enrolled at BGSU in the fall of 1969 and first attended Falcon hockey games with his future in-laws, who had season tickets. Nearly 50 years later, Slater still has those same seats in the upper level of the Ice Arena, and in the decades since, he has done much more than just cheer for the Falcons. Slater and his family were major contributors to the “Bring Back the Glory” campaign that secured the BGSU hockey program. Now, the family is making a $2 million transformational gift to advance the future of the facility that means so much to them. “The Slaters are a true Falcon Family,” said Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University. “Through the years, they have made the University central to their lives with support of BGSU Hockey and many community programs such as high school hockey and figure skating. It is fitting, and inspirational, that their dedication become a permanent part of the University with the naming of the Slater Family Ice Arena.” Over many years, Scott Slater’s six children were involved in youth and high school hockey and figure skating programs at the Ice Arena. His four sons have each been part of the highly successful Bowling Green High School hockey program and been on teams that won state championships or finished as state runners-up, while his two daughters participated in figure skating. Now his grandchildren are “rink rats” on the ice at BGSU, and Slater and his family have made another generous gift to secure the future of the facility that is so close to their hearts, and will now carry their name. “It is a BGSU-owned asset, but my family has always viewed it as more a community asset,” he said. “The thing I like is that, more than anything else in town, the Ice Arena is a place where the University and the community really merge together. That’s been a wonderful thing for a lot of people, for a very long time.” Mike Natyshak, a…


Dave Horger goes for knockout against cancer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It seems fitting that Dave Horger envisioned his cancer as a heavyweight boxer beating him to a pulp in the first round. The name of his opponent in the ring – multiple myeloma. It’s also fitting that Horger, the radio voice of local news and sports for decades here in Bowling Green, would pull a rope-a-dope on his opponent and then come out swinging. Horger, with WFOB radio for 27 years then the 88.1 morning show for another five years, had become the beloved voice of Bowling Green. He was the voice of local news in the mornings and play-by-play sports at night. He grew up in East Liverpool, on the other side of Ohio, listening to Bob Prince broadcast the Pittsburgh Pirates. Because of the time zone differences, once the Pirates were done playing, he and his dad could sometimes catch the last couple innings of Harry Caray announcing the St. Louis Cardinals. “I remember thinking, I could do this,” Horger said of doing play-by-play on the radio. “I never felt it was a talent as much as it was a knack.” It was a knack that Horger soon proved he had. In 1971, he started hanging out at the East Liverpool radio station. He would grab news off the Associated Press machine, get some sports copy and some records and give it a whirl. “They were kind enough in the evenings to let me go in and use their production room. I’d do my little show that nobody was hearing but me,” he said. He would then play it back, reel to reel, “so I could hear how bad I was.” One night, he was playing around, introducing the Carpenters’ song, “Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down,” – which by the way, he was not a big fan of. But one of the radio executives liked his voice and his style. “That’s just what we want for a disc jockey at night,” he said. To this day, Horger is sure the radio station just wanted to avoid the hassle of interviewing for the job. From there, Horger went on to combine his two loves of sports and radio. He covered BGSU football and basketball from coast to coast. “Just to be a part…


BG lease of city land for golf course questioned

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The golf course in the center of Bowling Green has long been a source of community pride and more recently a source of complaints of privileged use of public property. The city’s lease of the 60 acres to Bowling Green Country Club expires in 2025. The terms of the lease allow the city to terminate the lease anytime after 2015, with two year’s prior notice required. City officials recently received a detailed letter on the golf course lease, suggesting that the city view its options before the 2025 deadline. The request came from Bowling Green citizen Lynn Ackerson, who previously asked questions about the site at a park and recreation board meeting. “Raising the topic of the BG Country Club lease of 80 percent of City Park sometimes causes voices to raise and strong emotions to emerge,” Ackerson wrote to city officials. The nine-hole country club course is one of three golf courses in the city. “The BG Country Club Golf Course is apparently an important part of BG’s history,” she continued. “The semi-private BG Country Club is also perhaps one of BG’s best kept secrets and frankly a mystery to those that are newly aware of this gem and its relationship to our wonderful network of parks.” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards responded with a history of the site, explaining that City Park was the original Wood County Fairgrounds. “The current arrangement indeed goes back that far,” Edwards wrote. The Wood County Agricultural Society sold the land to the city in 1928, with some records indicating that the lease arrangement predates the sale, the mayor said. The country club owns the roughly 1.5 acres where the pro shop and restaurant sit on the north end of the golf course. “This nearly 100-year private-public partnership has worked well for Bowling Green residents,” Edwards wrote. “They have benefited from a golf course for recreational purposes at reasonable rates without city dollars being used for the maintenance and upkeep associated with the property.” In the current lease, signed by the city and country club officials in 2001, the country club agrees to pay $3,000 a year to the city, and to cooperate with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department in making the golf course available at no charge for…


Administration stands by high school soccer players’ right to take a knee

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN and DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Bowling Green School District has chosen to stand up for the right of its students who refuse to stand for the National Anthem. Three members of the girls varsity soccer team recently chose to kneel rather than stand before a game when the anthem was played. “They have a right to peaceful protest,” Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said. “Currently our nation is experiencing one of the most trying times in its history,” Scruci said during Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. “We have a presidential race that is challenging political parties, genders, ethnicities and the very freedoms that the Constitution protects.” Scruci referred to football player Colin Kaepernick, of the San Francisco 49ers, who peacefully protests by taking a knee during the National Anthem. “We have unrest in our communities with violence and people and police officers being shot on a regular basis,” the superintendent said. “We have professional athletes using their popularity to take political and societal stands and using their stage to make those statements in front of the world.” In a video posted by her mother on Facebook, one of the players Caroline Sayer explained why she “took a knee.” One of her fellow players, who is African American, was supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and was “getting a lot of negative feedback.” That prompted the player to say she would take a knee, Sayer said. Other students said they would come to witness her doing it “to get her in trouble.” The player took the knee at the next game, which Sayer was not playing in. “I felt that was so courageous of her, and I respected her so much for it,” Sayer said. She had her own concerns about the deaths of people of color at the hands of police, so she decided to join her teammate in the protest. She said she does not see this as disrespectful to the flag or the military or veterans, who fought so she had the right to protest. Nor does she feel police are bad. “The only thing taking a knee is meant to do is to bring attention to something that’s been hidden,” she said Scruci said that he personally disagrees with the approach, but added that he respects…


Kids with special needs benefit from challenge of sports through Rally Cap

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The turf room in Field House at Bowling Green State University is full of voices on Sunday afternoon. Lower voices of parents murmur from the bleachers along the wall near the door. Spread across the green before them are the encouraging, sometimes cheering, voices of college students. Rising above it all are the high, happy chatter of children at play. All this is punctuated the sounds of balls bouncing and being kicked. Welcome to a new season of Rally Cap Sports. The program, now in its fourth year, offers individual sports experiences in a non-competitive environment to children with a range of special needs, said Melissa Wilson, a BGSU senior who directs the program. Sunday’s kickoff marked the start of the program’s fourth year on campus. A few dozen kids are spread out around the turf room, each working with two or three college students. This kickoff, Wilson said, serves as an introduction for new participants, and a welcome back for participants from previous years. After Sunday there will be a basketball league this fall as well as a couple dances. For information contact: www.rcsbgsu.org. The program serves children with a wide range of needs, she said. Some are non-verbal, while others have mild learning disabilities. About 70 have participated to date. For all of them, sports in another setting is not a possibility. Jodi Clifford said her children are unable to play sports either at school or in private programs because of a variety of disabilities including bilateral coordination issues. “But coming here they enjoy it. They look forward to it. They don’t feel left out. They feel part of the team.” Cicely Watkins said her sons “tried traditional sports and they were very discouraged. They hated sports.” One has cerebral palsy and all have sensory processing issues. Now they will gladly talk about all the sports they play at Rally Cap, and how good they are at them. Shelley Davis said her daughter who participates has fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, with symptoms similar to autism, and low IQ. Her daughter proudly displays all her Rally Cap trophies. “They’re discounted at school, but not here,” Davis said. That the program is run by students makes it all the more appealing the mothers said. “You can tell the students…


Park district takes aim at creating archery range

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Briana Witte is aiming for a bullseye with one of the newest programs to be offered by the Wood County Park District. Witte, a woodland specialist with the park district, is heading up the archery program which will include a new range for archers on Linwood Road, near Bowling Green. The archery program came about as a result of town hall meetings held across Wood County, asking local residents about park programs they would like to see. Two of the top requests were kayaking, canoeing and archery. The kayaking and canoeing are now in place, and the archery is on target to be ready soon. Archery, unlike so many other sports can be enjoyed by people of varied ages and skill levels, Witte said. “You don’t have to be in really good shape. You don’t have to be strong. You don’t have to be fast. You just have to be patient,” Witte said. People will be able to use their own bows and arrows at the archery range, or they can use the compound bows purchased by the Friends of the Parks. “These are really nice because an 8-year-old can use it and with a few adjustments, a 50-year-old can use it,” Witte said of the compound bows. Adaptive bows will also be available for people who use wheelchairs or have other particular needs. Crossbows, which are typically used for hunting, will not be permitted at the archery range. Once completed, the archery range will be open from dawn to dusk. It will not be staffed unless there is a class or special event planned. Classes are planned for children and adults. “This is the only archery range in the county,” said Jamie Sands, communications specialist and volunteer coordinator. “The free, open access to being able to practice is wonderful.” Mobile archery ranges have been offered at parks throughout the county, but the permanent range on Linwood Road will be much more convenient. The site will have room for 10 archer lanes and targets, ranging from 5 to 70 meters. There will be a shelter house with benches for the archers, spectator seating, a storage room and a parking lot for 20 cars. The stands are being constructed as part of an Eagle Scout project by Bryce…


Digby places fourth in 400 meters at Paralympics

AJ Digby, a 2016 Otsego High graduate, finished just out of the medals in fourth at the Paralympics Games this morning (Sept. 15) in Rio de Janeiro. According to https://www.rio2016.com, he ran a personal best of  47.34 seconds. On Monday he placed fifth in the 200 meter final.  


Chloe Higgins still a winner to BG

Stacey and Jeff Higgins learned today that their 11 year old daughter, Chloe, did not receive the most votes in the NFL Rush Kid Reporter Contest. As previously reported, Chloe was chosen as one of three finalists in a national kids’ sports writing contest based on her essay about her favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks. The public was able to vote on their favorite story once per day per device. Chloe was the only female finalist. Chloe’s mother Stacey took to Facebook this evening upon learning the results in order to thank everyone for their support. “Jeff and I received the news today that Chloe was not the grand prize winner in the NFL RUSH Kid Reporter Contest. While this is disappointing, she is still a winner to us! We will let you know what game her finalist prize includes when we know. We do wish to sincerely THANK ALL OF YOU that voted, posted, shared. and cheered her on. This has been a great experience even without the grand prize, and we are so appreciative of your support and encouragement. Both our girls are pretty darn amazing and it’s a privilege to have them celebrated by you.” Chloe is certainly still a winner to her family, friends, and all of Bowling Green. According to the NFL Rush website, she will receive a finalist prize of two tickets to a nearby regular season NFL game.


BG girl scores as finalist in football essay contest

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   To say that Chloe Higgins chose the Seattle Seahawks because of Skittles candy does not treat her fan status with the seriousness it deserves. Yes, the Seahawks caught her eye a few years ago when fans would throw Skittles onto the field every time a touchdown was scored by Marshawn Lynch, also a fan of Skittles. It wasn’t long before Chloe adopted the entire team – taking notes during games, keeping track of injured players, and taping games that she missed. Chloe, a Bowling Green sixth grader, is just 11. Last week, her fan status jumped to a whole new level. She has been selected as one of three finalists in a national writing contest sponsored by NFL RUSH. The organizers asked kids to write about their favorite NFL team and explain why that team is going to dominate this upcoming season. Chloe is the only girl among the finalists. The winner is chosen by online voting, which can be done at www.nflrushkidreporters.com/vote. Voting ends Thursday, Aug. 25, at noon.  People can vote once per day per device. Chloe’s mom, Stacey Higgins, told her daughter about the essay contest after reading about it on Twitter. “I just spent the rest of the afternoon in my room, gathering information,” Chloe said. The hard part was limiting the essay to 300 words. She wrote about the Seahawks’ draft picks, the “stellar” returning players, and the “goldmines” from free agency. She told of the “turn-key” players and the “amazing” coaches. “These reasons provide hope to the city of Seattle, Washington,” Chloe wrote. “Hold on, I take that back, it doesn’t give hope only to Washington, it gives hope to ALL Seahawks fans across the world!” The only help she got from her parents was some editing advice to cut the essay down to the required length. “This was the right match for her,” since Chloe loves writing and sports, her mom said. Her dream is to become a reporter for ESPN or Sports Illustrated. One of her favorite authors is a Mike Lupica, a sportswriter who also publishes young adult sports themed literature. “My favorite subject in school has always been English, and that goes well with my love of sports,” she said. Chloe first fell in love with football…


Bobcat Fan Fair to celebrate BG Schools on Saturday

(From BG City Schools) The annual Bobcat Fan Fair will be held Saturday. This is free, family fun event at the High School Athletic Stadium. There will be much to see and to do. Gates open at 4:00pm and the fun builds from there. The High School band will march in at 4:30 accompanied by an antique fire truck carrying the cheerleaders. After the band performs, Board of Education member Ellen Scholl will sing the Star Spangled Banner. Mayor Richard Edwards will be on hand to cut the ribbon dedicating the new stands and Superintendent Francis Scruci will welcome everyone. The Athletic teams will then be introduced by their coaches as they parade onto the field. Fans will then be invited to come on down to the track to meet the coaches and student athletes as well as participate in many games and activities. Students from the elementary schools through middle school can win a free Bobcat Proud T-shirt by visiting each table and completing their “passport.” All students who complete a passport will be entered in a drawing to win a student “all-sport” pass for the entire school year. There will be food! The High School teachers are offering a hot dog meal (hot dog, chips, cookie and drink) for only $3.00, which will benefit their scholarship fund. Drinks and snow cones will also be available for purchase but the ice-cream is FREE! This is not only an excellent opportunity for families to spend some time together, their young students will be inspired to work hard to get to High School and participate in the many sporting opportunities. Athletics are part of the well-rounded education offered in Bowling Green. The week following is Bobcat Week with several activities being planned. Come see the new sculpture of the bobcat near the front door of the High School.  What will be painted on the spirit rock? There will be a Rally on the Green on Wednesday at 4:30 (Honk if you are a Bobcat…type of thing). Throughout the week we will be offering free sports schedules and window clings to merchants. To top it off, there will be pep rallies in the elementary and middle schools… all culminating on Saturday. All Bowling Green supporters are asked to wear the school colors, red and gray, throughout Bobcat…


Local athlete AJ Digby to represent USA on Paralympic track & field team

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When AJ Digby was born without fibula in both his legs, his parents believed he would never walk. The doctor was reassuring. He’ll be able to climb trees, he said. He’ll be able to play soccer, his mother Robin Digby said. When AJ Digby was 10 months old, both his feet were amputated. Soon he was fitted with his first prosthetics. Now 18, AJ Digby has made the USA Paralympic Track & Field Team. He’s headed to Rio de Janeiro in September to represent the United States in the Paralympics. This weekend the official announcement of the track and field. And though he’s already represented the USA in the World Games, making the Paralympic squad is “the pinnacle … the ultimate” said his father, Gordon Digby. His parents are making their way back from Charlotte, North Carolina, where the trials were held, and where they experienced yet another milestone in their son’s sports career. It was their son’s second try at making the team. He participated in the trials in 2012. He ran in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races, though it’s uncertain which events he’ll run in Brazil. Born into a sports-obsessed family, his participation in sports isn’t surprising. “Our kids didn’t have a chance,” said Gordon, who played football and ran track. “They fell into sports very early.” Robin Digby competed in volleyball. “We’re into all kinds of sports,” Gordon Digby said. Despite using prosthetics, AJ Digby competed against able bodied athletes in a range of sports, basketball, soccer, hockey and his favorite, football. Still as hard as he tried, his father said, there were limits to how competitive he could be until he started running. Blade technology leveled the playing field. Now he could show his best running against his friends and athletes from other schools. “It was awesome to watch him continue to compete and progress and get faster and faster,” Robin Digby said. In May he graduated from Otsego High School. He’s intent on starting his freshman year at University of Mount Union less than two weeks before he has to fly off to Rio. The Digbys are hoping they’ll be able to spring their two younger children, Keegan and Ashlynn, from school and sports commitments, so the family can all travel to…