Club captains are selected by the entire coaching staff and previous season's captains. Two captains are selected with one of the two being designated as the Field Captain. The Field Captain has the responsibility of communicating with the official during matches. While not mandatory, it is considered desirable by the club for there to be one captain in the forwards and one captain in the backline. For continuity of leadership, it is also desirable for one captain to be a senior and the other a junior.
Boys Club Captains:
2016: Alex Miles (Field Captain) and Joe Williams
2017: Joe Williams (Field Captain) and Kyle Clark
2018: Beryl Walters IV (Field Captain) and Charles Burchard, III
2019: Beryl Walters IV (Field Captain) and William Hayes
2020: William Hayes (Field Captain) and Mason Swearingen
Girls Club Captains:
2020: Dani Gallant (Field Captain) and Emma Senter
Player of the Year
This is the only award issued by the players themselves. Each year, the club's players will be asked to submit the name of a single teammate who the voting players felt exhibited the most individual talent and who performed on the pitch in such a dynamic way that it was often game changing.
Boys Players of the Year:
2016: Alex Miles
2017: Austin Branham
2018: Charles Burchard, III
2019: Beryl Walters IV
Girls Players of the Year:
2019: Sommer Branham
Master of the Breakdown
In rugby, the breakdown happens when there is a breakdown in play as a tackle occurs or the ball is free to be competed for up to and including the formation of a ruck. Any one breakdown can become the most crucial moment of play during a match and typically all matches come down to the team that performs the best at the breakdown.
The 'Master of the Breakdown' award is presented each year to a single player who, over the course of the season, demonstrated an extraordinary ability to control the breakdown by either causing turnovers or creating a stable rucking platform so that our team could retain possession of the ball. Since most American fans are not experienced in the nuances of rugby, the 'Master of the Breakdown' will likely be the unsung workhorse of our rugby club.
Boys Masters of the Breakdown:
2016: Kyle Clark
2017: Kyle Clark
2018: Beryl Walters IV
2019: Beryl Walters IV
Girls Masters of the Breakdown:
2019: Jessie Starkey
It seems on every rugby club there is one player who is called upon to play multiple positions throughout the course of a season. The club awards this player because his extraordinary ability to play multiple positions is a testament to his rugby I.Q. and his selflessness as a teammate.
Boys Versatility Specialists:
2016: Joe Williams
2017: Austin Barrett
2018: Noah Jones
2019: Mason Swearingen
Girls Versatility Specialists:
2019: Ruth Merz
The Mr. Transformation Award goes to the club member who demonstrated the most growth as a rugby player over the course of a season.
Mr. Transformation Winners:
2016: Nick Garavuso
2017: Beryl Walters IV
2018: Cooper Phillips
2019: Logen VanHoose and Joshua Cangelosi
Ms. Transformation Winners:
2019: Emma VonBruenchenhein
As the name implies, this award goes to the player who recorded the most points over the course of the season.
Boys Leading Scorers:
2016: Jared Robbins (53 pts.)
2017: Austin Branham (51 pts)
2018: Cooper Phillips (48 pts)
2019: Austin Branham (52 pts)
Girls Leading Scorers:
2019: Sommer Branham (__ pts)
Order of the Māori Warrior
While we are all Warriors, there are a select few each season that will be inducted into the "Order of the Māori Warriors."
The Māori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. They were believed to have settled in New Zealand around 1280 AD. War was common between Māori tribes and usually involved disputes over territory conflicts. The Māori people believed that combat was sacred to their ancestors and they fought to acquire the 'mana' (spiritual power and prestige) of their opponents. Cannibalism was fueled by the desire to gain the mana of a foe defeated in battle. Unlike most native cultures, the Maori were never conquered and, while they no longer eat people, they remain a vital part of New Zealand culture. The Māori were fierce warriors who would engage in a Peruperu, or war dance, prior to attacking their enemies in order to intimidate them and even give them a preview of the ensuing slaughter. The Haka is one such dance that is now performed by the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby Club before each match.
Those players selected to be inducted into the "Order of the Māori Warriors" demonstrated fearless determination and a savagery that simply set them apart from their fellow warriors. Like the actual Māori Warriors, these players relentlessly fought for territory and would often deplete the spirit of their opponent through brutal contact. Put simply, these are the most fearless and often the hardest hitting players on the pitch.
Boys Inductees to the Order of the Māori Warrior:
2016: Marvin Bennett; Thomas Smedley III; Kaleb Goad; and, Gabe 'Sears' Thompson
2017: Kyle Clark; Noah Jones; and, Austin Barrett
2018: Charles Burchard, III; Beryl Walters; Spencer Heydinger; Austin Branham and Ethan Miller
2019: Austin Branham, Beryl Walters IV, William Hayes and Alex Chapin
Girls Inductees to the Order of the Māori Warrior:
2019: Alivia Massie; Maddie Lee; Emma Senter and Olivia Teague
Roger Mazzarella 'Spirit of Rugby' Award
Rugby is a unique game as it truly is a team experience. All efforts in rugby must be by the team and for the team. This is different than most American sports.
After a brief exposure to rugby, American sportswriter, Victor Cahn, said the following: "In our country, true teams rarely exist . . . social barriers and personal ambitions have reduced athletes to dissolute cliques or individuals thrown together for mutual profit . . . yet these rugby players, with their muddied, cracked bodies, are struggling to hold onto a sense of humanity that we in America have lost and are unlikely to regain. The game may only be to move a ball forward on a dirt field, but the task can be accomplished with an unshackled joy and its memories will be a permanent delight. The women and men who play on that rugby field are more alive than too many of us will ever be. The foolish emptiness we think we perceive in their existence is only our own."
Known to many as "The Godfather of Midwest Rugby," Roger Mazzarella was the Head Coach of the Bowling Green State University Rugby Club from 1985-2008 and he continues to serve as the Director of Rugby at Bowling Green today. Those who know him describe Mazzarella as a rugby evangelist who instilled not only the game of rugby, but the culture and spirit of rugby, into the lives of thousands of players. Many high school rugby clubs all across the country, including our own, have Mazzarella's finger prints all over them. The sport of rugby and its players owe Mazzarella a huge debt of graditude.
The recipient of the Roger Mazzarella 'Spirit of Rugby' Award will be presented each year to the team member who competes like a warrior while also embracing the spirit and culture of rugby. This player, as Cahn so eloquently stated, plays with the unshackled joy and embodies the sense of humanity that the sport of rugby is known for all around the globe.
Boys Mazzarella 'Spirit of Rugby' Award Winners:
2016: Garrett Brown
2017: Nick Washburn
2018: Sebastian McCreary
2019: Noah Jones
Girls Mazzarella 'Spirit of Rugby' Award Winners:
2019: Madeline Frasure-Lauth
Mr. Rugby is the title given to the club member who demonstrated an unparalleled commitment to the club. This is the individual who shows up to practice early, is eager to learn the game and hone his skills. When practice is over, Mr. Rugby sticks around to continue working on his skills and help clean up. Mr. Rugby is an unselfish player yet stands out among his teammates on game day due to his work ethic, competitive drive, and preparation during the week.
In short, Mr. Rugby has those qualities that everyone desires in a teammate yet very few players put forth the effort to possess.
Mr. Rugby Award Winners:
2016: Thomas Smedley, III
2017: Joe Williams
2018: Charles Burchard, III
2019: Austin Branham
Ms. Rugby Award Winners:
2019: Dani Gallant