Sports

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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


BGSU lacrosse honored at sport’s national home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Mickey Cochrane, retired Bowling Green State University professor and coach, is a member of four halls of fame. (That’s not including the Baseball Hall of Fame where his namesake the legendary Detroit Tigers catcher is enshrined.) The 86-year-old added another honor when a pillar at the entrance of the headquarters of US Lacrosse was dedicated to the BGSU lacrosse program that he started. He and about 65 players along with families and fans traveled down to Maryland to mark the 50th anniversary of the team’s founding. For once, Cochrane was taken by surprise when the pillar was unveiled. Each of the 20 pillars along the perimeter of the field at the headquarters honors a college program, but BGSU is the first to be formally dedicated. Receiving this Legacy Honor is especially notable, Cochrane said, because BGSU no longer fields a varsity team, the program lasted from 1965-1979, when financial retrenchment forced the shuttering of several programs. Cochrane arrived in BGSU in 1964 from Johns Hopkins where he was recruited to coach both lacrosse and soccer. The soccer stadium now bears his name. At that time, both sports were little known in the Midwest. BGSU president at the time, William Jerome, came from Syracuse, New York, Cochrane said. Upstate New York has been a hot bed of lacrosse since before the arrival of Europeans. Jerome gave Cochrane 10 out-of-state scholarships and sent him east to find players, especially if they could play two sports. Many players, he said, competed in soccer in the fall and lacrosse in the spring, though some had a mix of other sports, including football. Football legend Jim Brown played lacrosse in high school and at Syracuse. When Cochrane traveled, he recruited students for the university not just players for the team, and if a young woman was interested in attending BGSU, he spoke to her as well. In these days of one-sport specialization, a few things are missed. Playing more than one sport, Cochrane said, allows a player to fully develop as…


BG school district hires new athletic director

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Jonas Smith served as athletic director for Dayton Public Schools, where he oversaw seven high schools and a $3.6 million renovation of the district’s Welcome Stadium. But something was missing. Smith is hoping to find that missing piece at Bowling Green City School District. “The last several years, I’ve missed being around kids,” Smith said. Tuesday evening, Bowling Green’s board of education hired Smith as the district’s new athletic director. Smith said he was attracted to the “very welcoming” community, the good schools, and the potential to build relationships. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci said he was attracted to Smith’s 20 years of experience overseeing a large program, his reputation in the state, his winning record at Dayton, and his success securing corporate sponsorships for the renovated stadium. “It’s what he brings to the table,” Scruci said. Smith will receive an annual salary of $90,000. “I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for,” Scruci said. Smith was accompanied to Tuesday’s school board meeting by his wife, LaDonna, and their two sons, ages 15 and 11. He was also joined by a former school superintendent and mentor, who flew up from South Carolina to be present for his hiring. Smith knows time to prepare for his new job is ticking away, with fall sports starting on Aug. 1. His philosophy for school athletics is “7-12,” he said. The head coaches at the high school level should have a hand in their sports from seventh grade on up. The fundamentals should be stressed at the middle school level, so the athletes will be ready for high school, he said. But he also believes athletics takes a back seat to academics, Smith said. “They are students first, athletes second,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s best for children.” Smith said he will be accessible to parents. “I have an open door policy for parents.” But he also believes in following the chain of command, he added. The new athletic director said…


BG Curling Club proud of teams at national championships

Submitted by BG Curling Club On May 10-15, Ice Line Arena in West Chester, Pennsylvania, hosted the United States Curling Association’s Arena National Curling Championships, which included both a men’s and a women’s team from the Bowling Green Curling Club, located in northwest Ohio. The men’s team finished 2-2, in a three-way tie for ninth place among a field of 20 teams from across the U.S., while the women’s team finished 2-4, in tenth place among 18 teams, after a tie-breaker. Both teams just missed advancing to the quarter-final rounds. “The Bowling Green Curling Club is very proud of both our teams and how they performed at Arena Nationals,” said Shannon Orr, club president. “As we move forward with our new dedicated curling facility, which will be opening this fall, we look forward to sending even more local curlers to regional, national, and international competitions. We hope more folks will come to the new club and try one of our learn-to- curls.” The move to a dedicated ice facility will mean, however, that the club will be unable to participate in this event again, which is reserved for curlers from arena-based clubs that share ice with skaters and hockey. The women’s team, consisting of Elizabeth Spencer of Toledo, Angie Jones of Sylvania, Beth Landers of Bowling Green, and Jen Henkel of Perrysburg, lost to San Francisco Bay III (11-2), lost to Lansing (8-1), lost to Palmetto-South Carolina (7-6), won against Dakota-Minnesota, (6-2, with alternate Jennifer Williams of Norwalk), and won against Kansas City (7-5). A second place result for their division in the team draw shot challenge, and sixth place DSC result overall, allowed the women’s team to go to a tie-breaker game, to resolve a three-way tie for third place in their division, and try to advance to the quarter-final round. A re-match with Kansas City did not go in their favor, however, ending with a 10-3 loss. “The women’s team had a great time bonding with each other, other teams, and representing our club,” said women’s team skip,…


OPINION: Stay true to Muhammad Ali’s radicalism

By DALTON ANTHONY JONES On this day in history. There is so much chatter going on around the passing of this monumental icon of black liberation, anti-imperialism, spiritual freedom and resistance to state violence that I find myself playing spectator to the outpouring of collective grief. I am always curious about, and to be quite honest deeply suspicious of, mass expressions of praise and sympathy for radical figures who, if they were fighting for the principles we claim to honor in them today, would be banished and ridiculed by civil society. MLK, Malcolm, Arthur Ashe, the Panthers, Muhammad Ali….one is left with the impression that they would be welcomed with open arms and flowers if they were to return to us. Has our society really become that more progressive? Has a critique of U.S. intervention abroad really become the emotional norm? Have black people really developed a more radical critique about their position vis-a-vis, the American war machine, the American police state, the American system of finance capitalism and the exploitation of our communities? Please don’t get me wrong, we still have our warriors of social justice, people who are devoting themselves to preserving and furthering the legacy of those who fought to expose the hypocrisies of nationalism and make this world a more safe and just place to be. But taken as a whole, I see more faux sentimentalism than genuine identification in these mourning rituals, these pageants of lamentation and nostalgia. I have a narrative of identification with Ali, of the family huddled around the radio listening to his bouts before the days of internet and cable, of my grandfather meeting Ali and bringing me back his autograph on the conference program….and, of course, so much more. He meant a lot to us. But I hope to honor his passing by being a voice that is willing to accept sanctions to defend and speak my truth. Today, I want to make a recommitment to say “no” to racist oppression, to say  “no” to patriarchal oppression, to say “no”…


Moosbrugger comes home to roost as new Falcon athletic director

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bob Moosbrugger knew what he wanted in a career when he was a student at Bowling Green State University. He wanted to be an athletic director. He wanted it so much that after two years playing baseball, and winning the award as the top freshman, he decided he needed to concentrate on his studies. He left the team. On Tuesday, Moosbrugger became an athletic director, and he was returning to the Falcon roost to realize that goal. BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey introduced the 1994 graduate as the university’s new athletic director. He’ll start on July 18. The announcement comes just five weeks after Chris Kingston announced he was leaving to go into the private sector. “It was quick. It was fast,” Moosbrugger said. “It’s been a whirlwind tour.” Mazey said that the search was conducted by Turnkey Search. She said she learned that when an athletic director position opens up, a lot of people are interested. That one of those was a BGSU graduate was a plus. “It’s always great to bring a Falcon home and into the Falcon family.” Mazey noted as a former athlete, Moosbrugger “knows that role of student athlete and how important that is to this university. … I was impressed by his passion for his alma mater.” She said at previous institutions, she has worked with athletic directors who were graduates of those schools and found them to be effective at working with the entire university community from students to alumni. “They were very, very good fundraisers.” “It’s truly a great day to be a Falcon,” Moosbrugger told those gathered for the press conference in the Stroh Center. “I’m coming home.” Moosbrugger, a Celina High School graduate, has been the assistant director of athletics/chief operating officer at San Diego State. He rose to that position having started there in 2000 as the assistant director for the Aztec Athletic Foundation. He emphasized that the story BGSU has to tell goes beyond wins and losses. “We have great student athletes…


BGSU taps alum Moosbrugger as AD

Bowling Green State University will hire Bob Moosbrugger, a 1994 BGSU graduate, as its new athletic director. The university will hold a news conference today (May 17) to make the formal announcement. Moosbrugger is deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer at San Diego State University where he’s been since 2000. He played baseball at BGSU. He is a graduate of Celina High School. Moosbrugger takes over for Chris Kingston who left the position in April.


BGSU Student Recreation Center recognized as outstanding by national association

By BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS When the Student Recreation Center reopened on Aug. 14, 2014, after a year of renovations, students were delighted with the fresh new spaces, sunny lobby, new equipment and additional facilities. Now the building has been recognized with the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) Outstanding Sports Facilities Award. The award was presented jointly to BGSU Recreation and Wellness and Toledo architects The Collaborative Inc. at the NIRSA Annual Conference and Recreational Sports Expo in Kissimmee, Fla., earlier this month. The NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Awards recognize the innovative designs of new, renovated or expanded collegiate recreational facilities of NIRSA member institutions. Increasingly, research is linking robust recreational programs, facilities and services with student success and satisfaction in higher education. State-of-the art facilities have demonstrated their capacity to greatly enhance the overall student experience, thereby boosting recruitment and improving retention. The annual awards honor facilities that demonstrate excellence in a number of critical areas, including architectural design, functionality and how well the facility meets its intended purpose. Winning facilities exemplify the institution’s commitment to providing the higher education experience desired and valued by students and are considered a standard by which other collegiate recreational facilities should be measured, and from which others can benefit. BGSU’s Recreation Center is featured on the NIRSA website. Students and community members alike are benefiting as a result of the $14.8 million renovation, which was guided in part by their input. In addition to the facility award, BGSU took two, third-place NIRSA awards, in the Student Digital Publication and the Website Design categories. Preparations for the renovation of the Student Recreation Center in 2013 prompted a project to document the history of the center and the University through artifacts, stories and other documents. That project, a digital timeline, was recognized in the Student Digital Publication award. When the Recreation and Wellness staff was going through the building’s basement in preparation for work to begin, they discovered boxes in a storage room. “We found funny pictures of staff from the…