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    USOC Best of July honors for Team USA Awards presented by Dow

    07/27/2016, 8:30pm CDT
    By U.S. Olympic Committee

    Gymnast Simone Biles, Swimmer Michael Phelps, and the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team earn July accolades

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Outstanding performances during the month of July earned artistic gymnast Simone Biles, swimmer Michael Phelps and the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team Best of July honors for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced today.

    Three-time all-around world champion Biles earned a berth to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after clinching the all-around title at the 2016 Olympic Team Trials in San Jose, California. The four-time U.S. champion won the all-around crown with a score of 123.250, more than a two-point margin of victory. The first-time Olympian also earned the top scores on vault (32.200) and floor exercise (31.250). Biles has won every all-around competition she has entered since the 2013 P&G Championships, which is USA Gymnastics’ national championships, in August 2013.

    Phelps became the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fifth Olympic Games with three wins at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming in Omaha, Nebraska. Phelps won the 200-meter butterfly and 200 individual medley at the Olympic trials for the fourth consecutive time, while also claiming his third straight 100 butterfly win. He has a record 16 career victories at Olympic trials.

    The U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team competed at the Women’s World Super Cup in Frankfurt, Germany. Team USA claimed the title by defeating the reigning Paralympic champion, Germany, and the 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist, The Netherlands. With its win, the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team demonstrated dominance against top international medal contenders and continued a winning streak which began when the women placed first at the international friendly in June in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by Coca-Cola, DICK’S Sporting Goods, Kellogg’s, Samsung and USG.

    The NWBA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the addition of Will Waller and Tim Fox to the Board. Pat McCoy, a director for numerous years, resigned his position earlier this summer. Through this vacancy, the Board of Directors evaluated its structure, and decided it was in the best interest of wheelchair basketball to offer an “at-large” position, in addition to backfilling the vacancy created by Pat McCoy’s departure.

    Over the last year, the Board of Directors and the National Office have been shifting its focus to become a more athlete centered organization. This means ensuring that the choices it makes as a Board are improving the experience of our players at all levels, and particularly their overall development. The Board welcomes both Waller and Fox to their positions at the table as the Board develops strategies to execute the NWBA’s plans.

    The Board of Directors reviewed the By-Laws to confirm it was within NWBA’s scope to fill an at-large opening. The Board of Directors is composed of seven elected positions and six at-large positions, with two of the at-large positions being filled by individuals who are independent with no relationship to the NWBA.

    Waller has agreed to accept the at-large position that is a two-year term. In addition to bringing the voice of an athlete who has grown through multiple levels of the NWBA (Community Program, Collegiate Division, Division I, National Team, and Division III), Will’s prior experience with the Board of Directors and various committees with the NWBA, along with his professional background as a Human Resources Executive at Goodyear make him a uniquely qualified candidate. “In our interview with Will, it was obvious that he has a passion to make our organization better. His leadership has been evident in all facets of his life,” said Sarah Castle, NWBA President.

    The Board is also pleased to announce that Tim Fox will fill the position vacated by Pat McCoy, through the balance of the original term (April 2017). Fox, like Waller, is currently a part of The Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers Organization. Fox has been a coach with the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers, and also serves as the General Manager. The recent success of the Cavs on and off the court is directly attributable to Fox and the vision he has for the team. The Wheelchair Cavaliers were crowned Division III Champions in 2010. The Wheelchair Cavs duo of Fox and Waller have built strong relationships in the community, most notably establishing a Junior Wheelchair Cavaliers Team several years ago.

    In addition to helping foster one of the NWBA’s best relationships with its NBA Parent organization, Fox has also been a member of the NWBA Division III Committee. “It is great to see how we can grow talent in the NWBA. For people like Tim who want to take advantage of opportunities to give back and make a difference, there are a progression of opportunities available. We are excited to see his contributions as he steps into his new role on the NWBA Board of Directors,” said Castle.

    Please join us in thanking Pat McCoy for his many years of service and contributions to the NWBA, while also welcoming Will and Tim to the Board of Directors. Both members were active participants at this past weekend’s Board of Directors meetings.

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – The 2016 U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Paralympic Games Team won the U.S. Men’s International Friendly title in style, going undefeated in the five-day event, 6-0. Team USA faced both Spain and Great Britain on Wednesday at the Olympic Training Center. The U.S. Men’s Team has now collected two international event tournament titles, going 5-0 at the Challengers Cup in Leicester, England, and today’s success, for an 11-0 record in the last two weeks. 

    Team USA was tested in the night cap against Great Britain, as both teams finished the first quarter tied at 15, where there were five ties and four lead changes. The U.S. Men started the second quarter on a 10-0 run that was spurned by Aaron Gouge of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who started the run, with four others contributing. The U.S. men were up 31-23 at the half.

    Great Britain turned the tables in the third, eliminating Team USA’s lead, tying the game up at the 5:19 mark of the third on a Abdi Jama jump shot, and then taking the lead on an Ian Sager field goal, 38-36, with 4:02 left in the third quarter. The British continued to stymie the Americans and closed out the third with a 44-38 advantage.

    The fourth quarter was a game changer for Team USA as they quickly erased its deficit, and countered with an impressive 24-7 run to finish the game on top, 62-51. Three-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, carried the squad during the first part of the run scoring eight of his 14 points in the first four minutes of the fourth. As Turek started getting double teamed, it was time for three-time Paralympian Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, to show his abilities at the foul line and mid-range jumpers collecting six of his 11 points. Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, closed out the scoring six of his 14 points in the fourth.

    Team USA jumped out quickly against Spain in the first of its double-header games on Wednesday. Williams, who is going to his first Paralympic Games in September, scored eight of his 10 points in the first quarter, giving Team USA a 26-14 lead after the first quarter buzzer. Spain controlled the second quarter, outscoring Team USA, 14-11. After the half, Team USA was up 37-28.

    Four-time U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott of Southfield, Michigan, brought the energy back in the third as he hit seven of Team USA’s 18 points, including a three-pointer, for a 55-38 lead. To close out the game, both team’s defenses shined holding only allowing 18 points to be scored (USA 9, Spain 7) to close out the game. The United States came out with the win, 64-46.

    Team USA spread the ball around with 10 of the 12 athletes contributing, as Williams and two-time U.S. Paralympian Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, each scored 10 points.

    During the July 4th weekend, the U.S. Men’s Team went a perfect 5-0 in Great Britain to win the Challengers Cup, which included victories over 2014 World Champion Australia, and a defeat of host Great Britain on July 4. To win the Challengers Cup, USA edged out the Netherlands, 63-61.

    The U.S. team will open the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Sept. 8, against host country Brazil in the Rio Olympic Arena. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.

    The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.

    U.S. Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, will be joined on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The officials for the competition will be Beth Uhlrich of Denver, Colorado, Buddy Barnes of Decatur, Alabama, and Joe Sloan of Columbia, Missouri.

     Records

    United States, 6-0

    Great Britain, 2-4

    Spain, 1-4

    Results

    Saturday, July 9

    USA def. Great Britain, 72-59

    USA def. Spain, 66-46

    Sunday, July 10

    Great Britain def. Spain, 67-52

    USA def. Great Britain, 67-43

    Monday, July 11

    USA def. Spain, 63-35

    Great Britain def. Spain,76-60

    Tuesday, July 12

    Spain def. Great Britain, 64-63, OT

    Wednesday, July 13

    USA def. Spain, 64-46

    USA def. Great Britain, 62-51

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – The U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, who will be competing at the Rio Paralympics in September, were tested by Spain on the third day of the U.S. Men’s International Friendly at the Olympic Training Center. After being knotted up at halftime, 20-20, Team USA rolled to a 63-35 victory, and kept its record impeccable at 4-0. 

    The first half was a see-saw affair that witnessed four ties in the 10-minute quarter. Two-time U.S. Paralympian Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, gave Team USA a 10-8 with 35 seconds left in the first, and then a last second shot by John Gilbert of Fairfax, Missouri, put the United States up 12-8 after the first. Gilbert will be making his first Paralympic Games this fall.

    Spain’s Jordi Ruiz opened up the second half scoring six points, and forcing another three tied in the second quarter, and took a two-point advantage, 20-18, with 20 seconds remaining until three-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, tied the score with a jumper to close out the half, 20-20.

    At the intermission, Team USA re-grouped and took control with the fourth lead change of the game at 9:08 of the third quarter and never looked back as they embarked upon an impressive 15-2 run over the next seven minutes for a 37-22 lead. This run was sparked by three-time U.S. Paralympian Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, who scored all nine of his points in this stretch, which included a devastating three-pointer.

    To close out the third quarter’s last 2:12, Turek contributed six of his 12 points in the game, 43-27.

    The fourth quarter, Team USA continued its fast pace and stingy defense with four-time U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott of Southfield, Michigan, scoring his total 10 points in the last quarter. Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who will be making his first Paralympic Games in September, scored 12 points in the game.

    Great Britain closed out the third day by edging away from Spain in the second half, 76-60. Both squads played to a 28-28 tie after the first two stanzas. Great Britain controlled the tempo for the last two quarters, outscoring Spain 19-16 in the third, and then 29-16 in the fourth quarters. Terry Bywater and Abdi Jama were the top two scorers for Great Britain, with 20 points and 17 points, respectively. Great Britain’s Ade Orgbemi also found double digits by sinking 12 points. For Spain, Alejandro Zarauela scored 14 points, while Jordi Ruiz contributed 10 points.

    Tuesday, both Great Britain and Spain will tip off in the only game of the day at 6 p.m. MDST. Team USA returns to the hardwoods on Wednesday with a double header against both Great Britain and Spain, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. All games are free and open to the public.

    During the July 4th weekend, the U.S. Men’s Team went a perfect 5-0 in Great Britain to win the Challengers Cup, which included victories over 2014 World Champion Australia, and a defeat of host Great Britain on July 4. To win the Challengers Cup, USA edged out the Netherlands, 63-61.

    The U.S. team will open the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Sept. 8, against host country Brazil in the Rio Olympic Arena. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.

    The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.

    U.S. Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, will be joined on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The officials for the competition will be Beth Uhlrich of Denver, Colorado, Buddy Barnes of Decatur, Alabama, and Joe Sloan of Columbia, Missouri.

    Records

    United States, 4-0; Great Britain, 2-2; Spain, 0-4

    Results

    Saturday, July 9

    USA def. Great Britain, 72-59

    USA def. Spain, 66-46

     

    Sunday, July 10

    Great Britain def. Spain, 67-52

    USA def. Great Britain, 67-43

     

    Monday, July 11

    USA def. Spain, 63-35

    Great Britain def. Spain,76-60

     

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – Team USA kept an unblemished record at the second day of the 2016 U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball International Friendly by defeating Great Britain, 67-43, at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center. Four-time U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott of Southfield, Michigan, propelled the offense Sunday evening, while two-time U.S. Paralympian Trevon Jenifer of Huntington, Maryland, covered the defensive side of the court. 

    Team USA moved out quickly in the first quarter, and at one point had an 11-point lead, with credit to 2014 World Championship silver medalist Aaron Gouge of Wake Forest, North Carolina, accounted for nine of his 11 points in the first quarter. In the waning moments of the first, Great Britain brought its deficit to eight as they sank four points from the charity stripe.

    Jenifer, who came in with three minutes left and played 27 minutes overall, pulled down a couple offensive boards for second chances for Team USA.

    In the second half, Team USA maintained its eight-point lead, 32-24, with Jenifer forcing Great Britain to only shooting 6 for 14 from the floor, while Scott started his scoring streak with six points in the final five minutes of the second.

    The United States started the third quarter in high style as Scott drained two consecutive three-pointers, giving Team USA a 38-24 lead, the biggest of the game at that point. The defensive pressure picked up for the Americans as they shut down Great Britain, who only shot 35 percent from the floor. Team USA spread the ball well as six different U.S. Paralympians scored, extending its lead to 17 at the end of the third, 51-34.

    The intensity maintained as the closing stanza was much like the prior quarter as Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, scored the first four points, which was followed up by another Scott three-pointer, for a 58-39 lead. The defensive prowess of Team USA maintained its front holding Great Britain to only 9 points in the fourth, for a fourth-quarter efficiency of 21 percent.

    In the closing minutes of the game, Scott drained his third and final three-pointer of the night and finished leading Team USA with 15 points. Three-time U.S. Paralympian Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, found double digits with 10 points and five rebounds. Also joining on the defensive side with five rebounds apiece was Mike Paye of Warren, Michigan, and Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

    The U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Paralympic Games Team started the U.S. Men’s Friendly International on Saturday with a 2-0 record, by defeating Great Britain and Spain. The U.S. Men’s International Friendly is hosted at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, July 9-13. All games are open to the public free of charge.

    Great Britain opened the second day of the five-day event by defeating Spain, 67-52. Ian Sager was hot on the floor scoring 18 points, while Phil Pratt and Kyle Marsh found double digits, 13 and 11, respectively. Alejandro Zarzuela was the leading scorer for Spain with 12 points.

    All three teams will have practices during the mornings, and then get ready for competition in the evenings, that will be played at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. MDST daily.

    On Monday, July 11, Team USA will see action against Spain at 4 p.m., and then the United States will not have any games on July 12. USA will close out the competition on July 13 against Spain and Great Britain, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

    Last week, the U.S. Men’s Team went a perfect 5-0 in Great Britain to win the Challengers Cup, which included victories over 2014 World Champion Australia, and a defeat of host Great Britain on July 4. To win the Challengers Cup, USA edged out the Netherlands, 63-61.

    The U.S. team will open the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Sept. 8, against host country Brazil in the Rio Olympic Arena. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.

    The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.

    U.S. Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, will be joined on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The officials for the competition will be Beth Uhlrich of Denver, Colorado, Buddy Barnes of Decatur, Alabama, and Joe Sloan of Columbia, Missouri. 

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – The U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Paralympic Games Team started the U.S. Men’s Friendly International off with a 2-0 record, with defeats over Great Britain and Spain. The U.S. Men’s International Friendly is hosted at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, July 9-13. 

    To open the first day of competition, Team USA defeated Great Britain, 72-59. The first quarter saw two lead changes, with two-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, nailing the last five points with a buzzer beater knotting the first quarter up at 18 a piece. The second half brought out a blazing U.S. team on the back of four-time U.S. Paralympian Matt Scott of Southfield, Michigan, who contributed six points for a 39-28, half-time lead.

    The third quarter belonged to Great Britain who eliminated Team USA’s advantage by going on a 12-4 run in the first five minutes. Great Britain’s Terry Bywater put up six points during the third. Team USA regrouped and pulled out with a five-point lead, 53-48, to close out the third quarter. The fourth quarter belonged to the United States as Brian Bell of Forest Park, Illinois, scored six of his 12 points to seal the victory.

    Overall in the first game against Great Britain, Team USA outscored Great Britain, 34-14 in the paint, and out rebounded Great Britain, 35-25.

    In the second game, the United States started out fast with Bell contributing 10 consecutive points, to give Team USA a commanding 40-20 lead at halftime. Spain shut down the U.S. attack in the second half, and out rebounded Team USA 40-27 in the game. Team USA maintained its 20-point advantage for a 66-46 victory.

    Leading the way for Team USA again Spain was three-time U.S. Paralympian Steve Serio of Westbury, N.Y., with 15 points, while Bell and Scott contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.

    The Colorado Springs event provides a strong field of international teams, and the event is open to the public free of charge. Fans are invited to attend the games, and must enter the Olympic Training Center through the Boulder Street entrance.

    All three teams will have practices during the mornings, and then get ready for competition in the evenings, that will be played at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. MDST daily.

    The U.S. Men will only have one game on Sunday, July 10 at 6 p.m., going against Great Britain to close out the second day of competition. On Monday, July 11, Team USA will see action against Spain at 4 p.m., and then will not have any games on July 12. USA will close out the competition on July 13 against Spain and Great Britain, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

    Last week, the U.S. Men’s Team went a perfect 5-0 in Great Britain to win the Challengers Cup, which included victories over 2014 World Champion Australia, and a defeat of host Great Britain on July 4. To win the Challengers Cup, USA edged out the Netherlands, 63-61.

    The U.S. team will open the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Sept. 8, against host country Brazil in the Rio Olympic Arena. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.

    The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.

    U.S. Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, will be joined on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The officials for the competition will be Beth Uhlrich of Denver, Colorado, Buddy Barnes of Decatur, Alabama, and Joe Sloan of Columbia, Missouri. 

    Teacher Turned Player has Lessons of His Own

    07/08/2016, 9:30pm CDT
    By Taylor Bond, NWBA

    John Gilbert may be a teacher in real life but his lessons go far beyond the classroom and the court. He got into wheelchair basketball a little sooner than most. When he was in the hospital after experiencing a serious injury, he met a friend who helped him cope with his disability. This friend introduced him to the sport and later went on to be his Junior teammate. In 1997 after seeing a wheelchair basketball tournament and convincing his mom it wasn’t “that” dangerous, he was able to join a team. 

    His mom in fact grew to be his biggest supporter, inspiration and overall role model for Gilbert as he grew into a National Team player. She took him to practices and encouraged him to shoot for the stars, even when he would become discouraged. His mom died a few years back but Gilbert knows she is still with him every step of the way. He hears her voice in his head, humorously yelling at him to get up for practice

    Gilbert is the ultimate family man to say the least. He has a beautiful wife in raising foster children in their home. They have about 3-4 children in and out of their home at a time. He is also very close with his sister who is engaged and he couldn’t be happier and more excited for her. He adds his sister would go to all his practices and games, all without a single complaint.

    Outside of being a U.S. Paralympian and well-rounded family man, this superstar is a high school chemistry teacher. He studied Biology at the University of Missouri and also got a masters in secondary education. This young scholar was destined to be a teacher from the start. He also hopes to one day become a superintendent.

    “I love being a teacher and I enjoy the kids, they are some of my biggest supporters. Also I get paid to mix chemicals for a living,” Gilbert added.

    In his spare time, Gilbert enjoys playing video games and board games with his kids and family. He also can be very outdoorsy and loves a good fishing trip. He also loves just being with his teammates and claims they have become his brothers.

    Being a Kansas native, and then growing up in Fairfax, Missouri, he can’t help but love all things Kansas. He is very proud to be a fan of the 2015 World Series Champions Kansas City Royals. He also keeps up with the Kansas City Chiefs and University of Missouri athletics.

    As he heads into his first Paralympic Games, he is most excited about the overall experience he will have with all of his teammates.

    “Wheelchair basketball is great, but the friends and brothers you make on the journey, that is priceless,” Gilbert adds.

    He claims “ball is life” and has no real plans after the Games are over and for the day he has to put his court shoes up. He lives by his mantra of never giving up and he hopes to never have to give up his dreams of playing and ultimately winning gold this September. 

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – The U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team, that will be competing at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, will look to keep its perfect record intact during the only U.S. Men’s International Friendly at the Olympic Training Center, July 9-13. The United States will host Great Britain and Spain over the next five days. 

    Last week, the U.S. Men’s Team went a perfect 5-0 in Great Britain to win the Challengers Cup, which included victories over 2014 World Champion Australia, and a defeat of host Great Britain on July 4. To win the Challengers Cup, USA edged out the Netherlands, 63-61.

    This week, Team USA will open up Saturday’s competition at 4 p.m. MDST, against Great Britain, and then will face-off with Spain in the 6 p.m. game. The Colorado Springs event provides a strong field of international teams, and the event is open to the public free of charge. Fans are invited to attend the games, and must enter the Olympic Training Center through the Boulder Street entrance.

    All three teams will have practices during the mornings, and then get ready for competition in the evenings, that will be played at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. MDST daily.

    The U.S. Men will only have one game on Sunday, July 10 at 6 p.m., going against Great Britain to close out the second day of competition. On Monday, July 11, Team USA will see action against Spain at 4 p.m., and then will not have any games on July 12. USA will close out the competition on July 13 against Spain and Great Britain, at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

    Mike Paye of Macomb, Michigan, and Steve Serio of Westbury, New York, the two captains of the gold-medal winning 2015 Parapan Am Games Team, will lead the roster of 12 athletes during the week and will be making their third Paralympic Games in September. They played together on three consecutive World Championship teams (2006, 2010, 2014), and were together again at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics where the U.S. finished fourth. Paye was a member of the Athens 2004 Paralympic Team, and Serio helped lead the United States’ bronze-medal performance at the London 2012 Paralympics.

    Also making a fourth consecutive Paralympic Games appearance will be Matt Scott of Southfield, Mich., who also was a member of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 U.S. World Championship teams.

    Two-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, will make a third Games appearance in Rio. Turek, a member of the 2014 U.S. World Championship squad that won a silver medal, first played on the big stage in 2004 and again in 2012. Ian Lynch of Bellevue, Kentucky, Nate Hinze of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and Trevon Jenifer of Edinboro, Pennsylvania, will make their second U.S. Paralympic squad after winning bronze at the London 2012 Paralympics.

    John Gilbert of Salisbury, Missouri, and Aaron Gouge of Grand Prairie, Texas, who played on both the 2014 World Championship and 2015 Parapan Am Games teams, will see action in their first Paralympic Games. Also making their first U.S. Paralympic Team are three standouts who helped the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto: Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, Indiana; Brian Bell of Forest Park, Illinois; and Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    The cumulative participation at major events of the 12 athletes proves to be rich with veteran talent and a welcomed addition of younger elite athletes. By the numbers, this group has participated in 12 Paralympic Games and 16 World Championships combined. The roster returns eight from the silver-medal 2014 World Championships and 11 from the 2015 Parapan Am Games.

    The U.S. team will open the Rio 2016 Paralympics on Sept. 8, against host country Brazil in the Rio Olympic Arena. The U.S. men’s team qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. The U.S. men outscored the competition by 36 points per game.

    The U.S. men’s team finished with a bronze medal at the London 2012 Paralympics and look to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men’s team finished seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.

    U.S. Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri, will be joined on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama, and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, will serve as the Team Leader, with Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, filling the athletic trainer position. Also assisting in preparations are strength coach Michael Cohen of Savannah, Georgia, and team psychologist Dr. Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The officials for the competition will be Beth Uhlrich of Denver, Colorado, Buddy Barnes of Decatur, Alabama, and Joe Sloan of Columbia, Missouri. 

    Wheelchair Basketball Star on Top of the World

    07/01/2016, 1:00pm CDT
    By Taylor Bond, NWBA

    Days that we look back on and consider blessings are usually fun, enjoyable days in which we realized opportunity, promise and change. Those type of days usually are not considered tragic, heartbreaking and life altering. For Jeff Glasbrenner of Golden, Colorado, his most blessed day back in 1980 was all of that. He was eight years old and was involved in a horrific farming accident that left him a below-the-knee amputee. One might think your whole world would come crashing down but, Glasbrenner was more than ready for what life had to offer his energetic spirit to the top of the world.

    When a big surprise comes along, you have two choices: 1. Accept the situation as it is; or 2. Take charge, and shape your own destiny,” said Glasbrenner. “That was one of my most blessed days.”

    After the accident, nurses and doctors gave him limitations. They told him he would only be able to do certain things and his chances of a normal childhood from that point on would diminish. They told him again and again he would never be able to swim, run, or play any sports. Glasbrenner tried not to feel defeated but it in fact took him a long time to realize those limitations were just a disbelief and that he could do anything he set his mind to.

    Fast forward just over 30 years and Glasbrenner has had more success then most athletes do in a lifetime. His latest feat would be the biggest goal he has ever set for himself, or any other person with a disability. He would be climbing to the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest with an apex of 29,035 feet, more than double the elevation of the United States’ famous Pikes Peak in Colorado.

    “Most days, I feel like I am on top of the world….so, I truly want to be on top of the World,” Glasbrenner said on his website before embarking on his two-month journey. 

    He teamed up with Lincoln Financial, Astep Ahead Prosthetics and Paradox Sports. He and his crew made it to the top of Mt. Everest on May 18, 2016, after only eight days from starting at the base camp. The entire journey was right at two months. He trained six-eight hours a day almost daily in preparation.

    “Surrounding yourself with the right people and organizations, you can accomplish any summit in life,” Glasbrenner noted about his support system.

    It wasn’t an easy road leading up to to this climb but every aspect of his life and everything he has done has led to his biggest feat to date. He notes that his life truly turned around in college, when he attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Little did he know this was a powerhouse school for wheelchair basketball. When asked to play basketball he remarked he only had one leg, and then realized future teammate and roommate Troy Sachs meant for him to play wheelchair basketball.

    He got involved with the sport and worked impeccably hard. University of Wisconsin at Whitewater Head Coach Fred Went saw his potential and encouraged him to try out for the national team. He worked extremely hard and was determined to reach his goals. In 2000, he made his first appearance at the Sydney Paralympic Games, where the team returned home with a bronze medal.

    This only fed his hunger for more. In 2002 he won gold in the IWBF Gold Cup in Japan and made his second Paralympic Games appearance in Athens in 2004. Also in 2004 he made his name known by capturing the National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Championship scoring record – scoring 63 points and snagging 27 rebounds in one game.

    He moved to Spain and began his international career. He played professionally for CD Ilunion in Madrid and then for Santa Lucia in Rome. In 2006 he propelled Team USA to the silver medal at the IWBF World Championships in Amsterdam. In 2008 the men’s wheelchair basketball team won gold at the North America Cup and finished seventh at the Beijing Paralympic Games.

    When one sport ends you pick up another correct? He took up triathlons, rock climbing and mountain climbing. He became passionate about climbing, ultimately leading to his Everest quest. He climbed Aconcagua in the Andes along with Cayambe in Ecuador, and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.

    He made a goal to climb the “Seven Summits.” He currently has two knotched, with five to traverse. He also continues his love for triathlons and to date has competed in 25 Ironman competitions.

    In 2010 he chose to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of losing his leg by competing in eight triathlons in eight months. He also became the first physically challenged athlete to finish the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, the most difficult of all triathlons in the world. He has run the Boston Marathon twice and has over 12 additional marathons to his credit.

    Glasbrenner is a public motivational speaker and wrote a book in 2012, titled The Gift of a Day. The book accounts 12 specific days which he chose to view as gifts rather then defeats. He effortlessly displays how to turn dark days into personal revolutions and how they can deepen one’s character. He encourages his audiences and readers to surround themselves with good people who build you up and encourage your dreams.

    “If your dreams don’t at least scare you a little, then they are not big enough,” one of Glassbrenner’s most treasured piece of advice for his followers.

    Now that his Everest journey has come to a close, he is now back home in Golden, Colorado where he resides with his wife, Elizabeth, and two children. He ultimately enjoys staying at home with the kids when he is not training or out on a trip. He is looking forward to racing more, finishing his climbing goals and topping those five remaining summits, and who knows maybe even pick up a new sport. In the meantime, he embraces each day as it comes, knowing today tomorrow and the next are all gifts. 

    Abby Dunkin Brings Black Belt to the U.S. Women’s Paralympic Team

    07/01/2016, 8:00am CDT
    By Taylor Bond, NWBA

    Abby Dunkin may be one of the youngest ladies on the National team, but one could never tell from her presence and ease out on the court. She is a second degree black belt, former MMA fighter and an international fighter. She has a love for all contact sports, and probably one of the reasons she excels on the hardwood courts. The New Braunfels, Texas-native is the definition of competitive spirit. 

    She grew up in a military home where she played able-bodied basketball and ran track. She however was challenged physically when she started experiencing chronic pain in her legs that later resulted in a nerve condition. Through a series of medical procedures, the family was hopeful but it only led to landing her in a wheelchair. In and out of hospitals, she never lost her love for basketball and her impeccable shot. The San Antonio Spurs wheelchair basketball team were the first to note how great her shot still was and asked her to join their roster almost immediately.

    She currently plays at the University of Texas at Arlington and will be going into her junior year this fall after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. She is majoring in Kinesiology with a minor in Disability Studies. All the pieces may have fallen together perfectly but Dunkin admits it hasn’t been the easiest transitioning from able-bodied basketball to wheelchair basketball

    “The entire experience is new to me, even realizing people in wheelchairs could play. It’s different because it’s all about the angles and not being able to use your hands as much, they remain on your chair. You are just competing way different,” Dunkin said.

    She has found her home in wheelchair basketball and calls it her second family. She never realized how close knit the entire organization is and how good the people are that are involved.

    Her athletic nature and drive to compete put her as one of the 12 athletes selected for the U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team that will compete for gold in Rio. This is Dunkin’s first Paralympic Games, and was given a taste of multi-sports events as she was a member of the winning 2015 U.S. Parapan Am Games Team.

    Dunkin has a lot of other favorite things outside of wheelchair basketball. She shyly admits she has had an obsession with the king himself, Elvis Presley, since she was little. She listens to all of his music and will occasionally collect Presley memorabilia when on road trips. She also loves guitar and taught herself how to play by watching YouTube videos. Her love for music spans from Ed Sheeran to classic and acoustical sounds.

    “Do whatever makes you happy, life is too short to not do what you love,” said Dunkin.

    Wise words, from this young athlete who is doing what she loves and what makes her happy everyday. She will be even happier after her and her team go for that gold medal in September when they head to Rio

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