On Tuesday April 22, 2014 in a small room in the Way Public Library, Perrysburg Senior Lucas Heckman made history. He signed a rugby scholarship to play at Notre Dame College, in South Euclid, Ohio. You may be thinking to yourself, “what’s the big deal about signing an athletic scholarship?” This is the first time in the history of Northwest Ohio that this has happened in rugby. Heckman brings legitimacy and notoriety to the sport by being the first rugger, in this part of the state, to sign a rugby scholarship. The hope is that high school administrations, faculties and athletic directors will see this and give rugby a chance at their schools. Brian McCue, coach of Notre Dame College Men’s Rugby, says, “their is money out their for kids who want to pursue rugby at the next level.” Rugby at Notre Dame College is in it’s 2nd year as a Varsity sport. McCue says, “we are treated and viewed like every other sport at the college. Our college president thinks that rugby is the next up and coming sport in the United States and he wants to make Notre Dame College one of the top programs in the country.” Men’s rugby at Notre Dame College has 2 full-time coaches, 2 graduate assistants and a full-time strenth and conditioning coach. The team also has access to all of the training facilites, trainers and even study table opportunites. On top of all of this, the college has built 2 new rugby fields for the team. Currently Notre Dame College is a Division 2 rugby team and is Nationally ranked in both 15’s rugby and 7’s rugby (which will be in the 2016 Summer Olympics). Like all athletes that sign scholarships to play at the next level, Heckman is a standout on the field. Currently, Heckman is the only 4 year player on the Perrysburg Rugby team. Heckman is one of the team’s best tacklers and he has a great eye for the game. He sees how the game is unfolding and is always in the right position to make an impact. Lucas is really excited and can’t wait to start playing at Notre Dame College. Whether he realizes it or not, by signing that scholarship he has given rugby in Northwest Ohio a shot at moving to the next level. Hopefully future Perrysburg ruggers and ruggers from all over the state will have the opportunity to go to college, earn a degree and continue to play the game they love.
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