Ben Mancuso -
2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship Grant Recipient
San Diego, CA (December 19, 2011) - Although Ben Mancuso has only been playing rugby for two years he has shown in that short amount of time that rugby is his true calling. He grew up playing baseball, football and hockey, doing quite well in all, but after just one year of rugby he was hooked.
Ben quickly climbed the rugby ladder at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, NY. He went from B side center to A side center in his first year and when the team needed someone to fill in at A side wing, Ben stepped in and grasped the opportunity with both hands. Ben’s play on both sides of the ball on the wing contributed to McQuaid’s 2nd place finish in the Northeast Rugby Union Championship and first ever New York State Rugby title in 2010.
Ben developed as a rugby player and person heading into his senior year. The growth in both areas was witnessed by his McQuaid coach, Matthew Thomas. “Ben truly blossomed into both an exceptional young man and an outstanding rugby player. Showing his dedication, humility and leadership that marked his rugby career to date, Ben let his actions demonstrate a willingness to be a team leader. He organized off-season training sessions, recruited new athletes to the sport, mentored young, inexperienced players new to the sport, and participated in the rugby program’s community service projects.”
He also guided the McQuaid Jesuit rugby program to new heights in 2011. With Ben’s help, McQuaid logged its second consecutive undefeated league season, a conference championship, a 2nd place finish in the Northeast Rugby Union, secured a national top-10 ranking and a berth in the National High School Championships, and finished as the 6th ranked team in the country.
In addition to playing rugby at McQuaid, Ben was a member of the Rebel Knights football team for all four years and the school’s ski team for two. He served as a delegate in the Model United Nations program. He wrote for the school newspaper, The Lance. He was part of the Campus Ministry which handled religious events at the school and was also a member of the Simba Society, the school’s spirit organization.
Ben was known throughout the Rochester area for his community service, which included volunteering at a local nursing home during his summer breaks from high school. He volunteered for two years for Habitat for Humanity, which builds low income housing in the Rochester area. He volunteered at the Sojourner House for battered women for two years and for six years helped physically disabled children play baseball through Challenger Baseball in Batavia and Rochester. He’s also made Christmas a special time for those in need as he’s been helping serve Christmas dinner with the Batavia Lions Club since he was 10 years old.
As a freshman at Fordham University, Ben continues to improve. He overcame two nagging injuries to earn a starting position on the wing by the end of the season. His coach, Andrew Gheraldi, is looking forward to his future development. “Ben is a hard runner with good hands and makes sound decisions with the ball. He takes the proper angles to ensure opposing players are covered and tackled. Ben is emerging as a future leader for this club. He has earned the respect of his teammates, despite being a freshman, and I look forward to his continued progress on the field and his development as a team leader.”
While at Fordham Ben’s goal is to graduate from the Gabelli School of Business and then attend graduate school. He’s still not sure of what type of business he wants to pursue but does know that he wants to be successful, enjoy his work and support his community.
Congratulations Ben on being named a 2011 Kevin Higgins College Scholarship recipient.
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