Freshman prop/lock Sam Ciancutti has just been named a 2015 Kevin Higgins scholarship award winner by the United States Rugby Foundation. The award is for $1000. Sam is the 3rd BGSU freshman rugger to earn this award following Bryan Kean in 2008 and Frank Viancourt in 2010.
Sam reinvented himself when he was introduced to rugby. At nearly 300 pounds and on the receiving end of much bullying and teasing, Sam dedicated himself to fitness, training and learning the game. As a result, he shed 100 pounds and has carved out a starting position with the Bowling Green State University Rugby Team.
Sam’s motivation for self-enhancement did not go unseen. He was awarded Most Improved Player by his coaches at Lakewood High School. For three consecutive years, he was named captain, prompting a positive cultural change within the team.
Helping others experience healthy lives is at the core of Sam’s vision of success. He currently studies exercise physiology and plans to dedicate his life to developing a method of physical conditioning that would drive quality and longevity in both athletes and senior citizens alike.
“Aside from his obvious qualities: respect, conscientiousness and integrity, he displays certain qualities that one does not often see in a student: wisdom, self-reflection, and great social and political awareness,” commented one of Sam’s high school teachers. Coupled with a 3.22 GPA in high school, Sam demonstrated maturity beyond his chronological years. He continues that legacy in college along with his faith and commitment to God.
"Some kids you try to coach and you can just see their mind wandering (like what does this old guy know?). Not Sam," stated BGSU head coach Tony Mazzarella. "He is like a sponge. His eyes are riveted on every word you speak. The past summer, before entering college, he spent a lot of time with the Cleveland Rovers RFC - practicing, playing sevens & working on conditioning. Because I told him to do so? No - he completely came up with the plan by himself. I received several calls from Bowling Green grads on the Rovers with nothing but constant words of praise for Sam's commitment and work ethic."