The NWBA embarks on its 70th season and after a great offseason, it’s shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. Several new teams have been established by grassroots organizations. Reigning champions have moved up to conquer new divisions. A number of talented players have taken their talents to new rosters, and a new batch of young stars prepare to rise at the dawn of the season.
We’ll cover all that news, division-by-division, in the next week in our 2018-2019 NWBA Season Previews. Our first breakdown looks at the ever-enthralling Prep level of play in the Junior Division:
New faces, New places
This summer saw three new Prep teams emerge from new programs:
- Kansas City Kings (Midwest Adaptive Sports; Kansas City, KS)
- Michigan Rollverines (the University of Michigan Adaptive and Inclusive Sports Experience; Ann Arbor, MI)
- Memorial Jr. Sharks (Memorial Healthcare System; Fort Lauderdale, FL)
The Memorial Jr. Sharks made special history this summer, as the first EVER Junior division team in the state of Florida. Melisa Chang, the team founder, exudes optimism for the team this season and beyond.
“I am super excited to be a part of something bigger than I am,” Chang said. “I hope to allow stepping stones for these kids to grow both as athletes and also as people that can also become greater in their individual lives for participating in this sport.”
Who will challenge the champs?
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even with movement around the division, theCharlotte Rollin’ Hornets - Purple are excited for their 2018-19 campaign seeking back-to-back titles. The Hornets look to rebuild after losing 2018 Prep Male Most Valuable Player Preston Howell IV to the Varsity Division.
The Minnesota Rowdies enter the season with a chip on their shoulder having ended last season on their sole loss (20-1 record) of the season to the Hornets in the Prep national championship game. They also hope to jell quickly behind young star Jack Binsfeld, younger brother of 2012 U.S. Women’s Paralympian Sarah Binsfeld, to make some noise this season in Prep.
Who are the teams on the rise?
The Lakeshore Sharks and Fairfax Falcons have emerged as two teams poised to breakout his season. Both teams are top five teams from 2017-18 season while losing minimal talent. The Sharks have a talented roster that hope to take a bite out of revenge, having fallen against both top teams in the Hornets and Rowdies last year. The Sharks smell blood in the water for an opportunity to jump at the opportunity of a national championship. The Falcons only saw the losing end of two games last year, one of which was at the “wheels” of the Sharks in a 29-24 quarterfinal matchup at the 2018 NWBT. The Falcons have their keen eye on the Sharks and all other teams at Prep.
Are there any dark horse teams?
The Cincinnati Dragons - Prep, coached by Paralympians Jacob Counts and Ian “Icepick” Lynch, could turn some heads this year. Counts has nurtured both the Dragons Varsity and Prep teams. Lynch played in the 2018 IWBF World Championships, and the sour taste of “only” winning silver should light and fire under him and by proxy his players coming in the season.
Make sure to check back tomorrow as we will provide a preview to Varsity of the Junior Division. Good luck and have fun to all of the Prep athletes and teams this season!