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    Headlines

    Visit Wichita and NWBA Seek Volunteers for NWBT

    01/21/2020, 4:00pm CST
    By NWBA Team

    WICHITA, KANSAS – The NWBA and Visit Wichita have launched the Volunteer Registration process for the 2020 NWBA Toyota Adult and Junior Wheelchair Basketball National Championships. The 2020 NWBT is set for Wichita Hoops in Wichita, Kansas, from March 11-15.

    “This is a great opportunity for individuals to gain experience in working with the largest wheelchair basketball tournament in the world,” says Tournament Director Rob Egan. “We are so excited for the members of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association to visit Wichita, and thrilled that Wichita will have unprecedented access to the sport. It is critical that Wichita provides a warm welcome to the wheelchair basketball community. Please join us in volunteering for the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. We need your help!”

    The NWBA and Visit Wichita are recruiting for the following positions to volunteer throughout the tournament: Shot Clock; Timekeeper; Scorekeeper; Event Setup; Event Breakdown; Water Service; Registration/Will Call Assistant; Statistician; Store Assistant; and Greeters/Unloaders. Previous experience is preferred if you want to act as a volunteer table official serving in the roles of Timekeeper, Scorekeeper or Shot Clock Operator. The only other restriction is volunteer table officials must be 18 years of age or older. (Omitted No other restrictions…) If you’re interested in volunteering, please sign up for a slot at the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040e4eaba92aabfa7-2020

    Please contact Rob Egan at wichitanwbtvol@gmail.com with questions or concerns.

    16 athletes will continue to compete for a roster spot U.S. Women's National Team

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is proud to announce that 16 athletes will remain in consideration for a roster spot on the 2020 U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team. This announcement comes at the conclusion of the Toyota Team USA Women’s Selection Camp, a three-day camp at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The sixteen athletes will continue to battle for a roster spot on the 2020 U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team that compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games from August 25 to September 6 in Tokyo, Japan. 

    “It was a great camp. The athletes came more prepared than we expected, and they made our job tough,” said 2019 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, CA.

    The group of 16 athletes proves to be rich with veteran talent blended with a core of younger elite athletes. The pool includes six members of the iconic U.S. gold medal-winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The roster also returns all 12 athletes from the silver medal 2019 Parapan American Games team.

    1. Josie Aslakson

    2. Abigail Bauleke

    3. Elizabeth Becker 

    4. Megan Blunk

    5. Abigail Dunkin

    6. Kaitlyn Eaton

    7. Ixhelt Gonzalez

    8. Shelby Gruss

    9. Rose Hollermann

    10. Darlene Hunter

    11. Alejandra Ibanez

    12. Bailey Moody

    13. Rebecca Murray

    14. Courtney Ryan

    15. Natalie Schneider

    16. Lindsey Zurbrugg

    Among the athletes are two power players from the gold-medal winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Rebecca Murray of Germantown, WI and Natalie Schneider of Ord, NE. Murray and Schneider played together on the 2012 and 2008 Paralympic teams, winning their first Paralympic gold at the 2008 Beijing games. They also played together during the 2011 Parapan American Games where the U.S. Women won gold and the 2019 Parapan American Games where the U.S. Women won silver. The pair secured gold at the 2010 IWBF World Championships in Birmingham, Great Britain.

    Megan Blunk of Gig Harbor, WA joins the roster of hopefuls as a returning member from the 2019 silver medal Parapan American Games team and the 2016 gold medal Rio Paralympic Games team. Blunk also won a gold medal for the U.S. at the 2015 Parapan American Games.

    Two-time Paralympian Rose Hollermann of Elysian, MN continues her quest for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Women’s team. Hollerman won gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games alongside Abigail Dunkin of New Braunfels, TX.  Hollermann and Dunkin recently took home gold medals from the 2019 U25 IWBF World Championships. The duo also played together at the 2017 America’s cup, 2015 Parapan American Games, and 2019 Parapan American Games bringing home silver in 2017, a gold in 2015 and silver in 2019. 

    Darlene Hunter of Commerce, MI has her sight set on joining the U.S. Women’s team for her third Paralympic Games, first representing the U.S. at the London 2012 Paralympics. Hunter was a member of the gold winning team at the 2016 Rio Paralympic games, the 2011 Parapan American Games, the 2015 Parapan American Games, and the 2010 IWBF World Championships. 

    Courtney Ryan of Chula Vista, CA hopes to represent Team USA once again after winning silver on the 2019 Parapan American Games team. Ryan’s first appearance on the squad was in 2014 at the IWBF World Championships.

    Kaitlyn Eaton of Houston, TX enters the pool of athletes after making the U.S. Women’s team for the last three years. Eaton hopes to return to the podium after capturing a silver medal at the 2017 America’s Cup Zonal Qualifier.

    Alejandra Ibanez of Salt Lake City, UT and Shelby Gruss of Ossian, Indiana joined Team USA at the 2017 America’s Cup where they took home a silver medal. Bailey Moody of Alpharetta, GA joined Team USA a year later at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. Both Ibanez and Moody recently won a gold medal representing the U.S at the 2019 U25 IWBF World Championships and a silver medal representing the U.S at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. 

    Lindsey Zurbrugg of their Portland, OR and Josie Aslakson of Jordan, MN, were members of the silver medal 2017 America’s Cup team. Ixhelt Gonzalez of Chicago, IL joined Zurbrugg and Aslakson representing Team USA at the 2018 IWBF World Championships and the 2019 U25 IWBF World Championships, winning gold at the later.  

    The first appearance on the national stage for Abigail Bauleke of Savage, MN and Elizabeth Becker of Weddington, NC was the 2019 U25 IWBF World Championships. 

    The 2020 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team will select the final roster for the 2020 Paralympic games at the next Toyota Team USA Selection Camp scheduled for February 6-9 at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center.

    The NWBA Launches Frank T. Burns Heritage Fund

    01/17/2020, 5:15pm CST
    By NWBA Team

    A fund to capture, preserve, and display wheelchair basketball and NWBA history.

    In honor of Frank Burn’s contribution to wheelchair basketball, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is proud to announce the Frank T. Burns Heritage Fund.

    This restricted Fund will be dedicated to projects that help do the following:

    • Capture wheelchair basketball and NWBA history
    • Preserve wheelchair basketball and NWBA history
    • Display wheelchair basketball and NWBA history 

    December's NWBA Toyota Team of the Month Winner

    01/14/2020, 2:00pm CST
    By NWBA Team

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is honored to announce the NWBA Toyota Team of the Month for December. December's voting pole was the closest yet with only one percent of the votes standing between the Portland Wheelblazers - Junior Varsity and the Bennett Blazers - Junior Prep. The winning team is the Bennett Blazers - Junior Prep!

    Congratulations to the Bennett Blazers. The Blazers currently have an impressive 9-0 record and James Pollard leads the team in scoring and in most statistical categories. The Blazers have demonstrated good sportsmanship during competition. At the Fairfax Tournament, the team squeezed in a 15 minute scrimmage to help three Sportable Spoke young athletes who had to play at the varsity level. David Ramos, one of the team captains, played on the Spokes team and helped distribute the ball to get all Spokes players involved.

    NWBA Toyota Team of the Month winners will receive a “Team of the Month” plaque. Nominees will receive a certificate. 

    The NWBA thanks all athletes, coaches, and supporters for participating in December’s Toyota Team of the Month award. 

    January’s Toyota Team of the Month nominations are due at 12:00 pm MST on Monday, February 3. To nominate a team, fill out the form below and send it to communications@nwba.org.

    2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp Preview

    01/14/2020, 10:00am CST
    By NWBA Team

    Six athletes from the Rio 2016 team return.

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The 2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp is underway at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. The Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp will start on-court play Wednesday, January 15 and will conclude on Sunday, January 19, when the initial athlete selection will be announced.

    A pool of 16 athletes has arrived for the four-day tryout. Six of the athletes in attendance were members of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Gold Medal Team. The camp will decide the initial pool of players for both the 2020 Toyota Team U.S. Women’s National Team and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games team.

    The list of athletes in attendance for the 2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp are below.

    Josie Aslakson, Jordan, Minnesota

    Abigail Bauleke, Savage, Minnesota

    Elizabeth Becker, Weddington, North Carolina

    Megan Blunk, Gig Harbor, Washington

    Abigail Dunkin, New Braunfels, Texas

    Kaitlyn Eaton, Houston, Texas

    Ixhelt Gonzalez, Chicago, Illinois

    Shelby Gruss, Ossian, Indiana

    Rose Hollermann, Elysian, Minnesota

    Darlene Hunter, Commerce, Michigan

    Alejandra Ibanez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Bailey Moody, Alpharetta, Georgia

    Rebecca Murray, Germantown, Wisconsin

    Courtney Ryan, Chula Vista, California

    Natalie Schneider, Ord, Nebraska

    Lindsey Zurbrugg, Portland, Oregon

    Voting to occur at 2020 NWBA Annual Assembly on March 12

    BOARD OF DIRECTOR NOMINATIONS & ELECTIONS


    The NWBA Board of Directors has two positions up for re-election at the NWBA Annual Assembly. The Board of Directors positions available for election:

    •      Elected position, currently held by Daniel Ferreira

    •      Elected position, previously held by Tim Fox (fulfilling the un-expired term until 2021)

    The NWBA Governance committee received nominations for the positions from:

    Daniel Ferreira, Chicago, IL

    Please click the document below for the resume and/or credentials for the nominee.

    The elections for the NWBA Board of Director positions will be held in accordance with NWBA Bylaws Article 10, Section 4 – Board of Directors Elections. Please click here to read the recent announcement outlining the elections for NWBA Board of Directors. More information will be posted on the 2020 NWBA Annual Assembly when available.

    Tim Fox Appoints Melvin Juette as Interim Chair, Hall of Fame Committee

    01/12/2020, 8:30am CST
    By NWBA Board of Directors

    Photo courtesy of Jessica Yanesh

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Melvin Juette succeeds Frank Burns as Interim Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee. Juette was inducted into the NWBA Hall of Fame in March of 2019 as recognition for his many accomplishments throughout his time in the NWBA, which began as a member of the Red Dawgs in the mid 1980’s. He has had an illustrious career on the court, having climbed the ranks from Juniors to Intercollegiate to Adult Division and representing Team USA in the 1990’s and 2000’s. He has sought out many ways to give back to the game off of the court, as a member of various committees and as an Assistant Coach for the USA Men’s Paralympic Team.

    “Melvin brings an impressive breadth and depth of experience to this position, which requires a passion for the history of the NWBA and inherent knowledge of what excellence is, said Tim Fox, President – NWBA. The Board of Directors and I are grateful for Melvin’s willingness to step up, once again, for the NWBA, particularly as we all still grapple with the loss of a legend in the game.”

    This appointment is following the untimely passing of fellow Hall of Fame Member and former Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, Frank T. Burns. “I’m honored to take on this interim role for the organization. Frank devoted himself to the Hall of Fame and turned it into a professional process and annual event, said Melvin Juette. I am committed to partner my colleagues and extend his legacy by making 2020 a memorable through this timely appointment.”

    Please join us in congratulating and thanking Melvin as he takes on this role.

    NWBA Hall of Fame Member Frank Burns Passed Away

    01/09/2020, 3:45pm CST
    By NWBA Board

    The NWBA celebrates the life and impact of Frank T. Burns (1952 – 2020)

    It is with great sadness that the NWBA shares that our coach, our mentor and friend Frank Burns has passed away on January 8.

    He came to the game through fortunate circumstance in 1974 and never left. Before he got to college, Frank Burns had never seen a wheelchair basketball game and probably didn't know it existed. But when the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater assigned him a roommate who happened to be a wheelchair user, it changed his life. And, in turn, that would impact the lives of so many others.

    He left Whitewater to the University of Kentucky where he earned a Master's degree in Therapeutic Recreation but would return to coach the Warhawks to their first Intercollegiate National Championship.

    His success on the bench reached the highest levels.

    • Head Coach of Casa Colina Condors, the dominant team of the 80’s with 8 National Championships from 1982-1990
    • Head Coach of Gold Medal Men’s USA Paralympic Team (Seoul 1988)
    • Assistant Coach of World Championship Men’s USA National Team (Sydney 1998) and Bronze Medal USA Paralympic Team (Sydney 2000)

    Frank was a teacher at his core and the common thread throughout his career was an emphasis on helping athletes gain access to sport and to the learning that would help them improve. It didn't matter if it was at the local team level or on the elite national team stage, he had a penchant for motivating athletes and teams to get the most out of them.

    More than a coach, Frank was a builder, helping grow the game and opportunities to play around the country by launching various new teams (Men’s, Women’s, Juniors) throughout his career.

    • Member of Lakeshore Foundation Team, which created various adaptive sports and coaching education programs both in Birmingham and throughout Alabama as well as the multisport National Paralympic Training Center
    • Conducted wheelchair basketball clinics in 17 different states and 5 countries (Japan, Korea, Bahrain, Canada, and Mexico)
    • Organized 20 years of NWBA National Development Camps
    • At the 1997 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Birmingham, AL, he secured prime time, national television coverage of the championship games
    • He was the first NWBA Executive Director (2000-02)
    • And most recently the Chair of NWBA Hall of Fame Committee

    More than the game, Frank loved the people who played the game, those who coached it, and those who organized things so others could play. He cherished the history of those who built it to this point and the promise of those yet to come who would take it further, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that history would not be forgotten.

    The only thing greater than his impact on growing the reach and quality of the game was the impact he had on the people he had a chance to work with. Coach, mentor and leader, he embodied the famous Will Rogers quote, "I never met a man I didn't like."

    He possessed a gift for gab, combining loquacity and levity, dropping one-liners that would disarm anyone. At his core, he was a salesman and a visionary. He always held close the ideal of what the NWBA could and should be and we are inspired by that every day.

    Over the past month that Frank was hospitalized, he used his time to remind us of the most compelling attribute about this organization: The NWBA is a Family.

    We are grateful to the Burns Family for their ongoing communication with us throughout the process and they appreciate all the love sent Frank's way. Just as importantly, we thank them for sharing their brother with us.

    Frank loved the game and the game loved him back. He will be missed but never forgotten.

    Details of the memorial services for Frank will be made available on his CaringBridge page at:

    https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/frankburns4

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