Wheelchair Sports Federation | Adaptive Sports Organization
Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (NY) Print E-mail
Written by Chris Cirillo   

 

By Chris Cirillo

On October 56, the Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament returned to Manhattan College in the Bronx for two days of action-packed games. The third time was the charm for the NEPVA Celtics as they defeated the Bulova Stetson Nets by a score of 45-29 to secure a championship that had eluded them the past two years.

The Celtics and the Bulova Stetson Nets both established dominance early in the tournament as they went undefeated in Saturday’s games and were consequently rewarded first-round byes into Sunday’s semifinal games. During the quarterfinal round, the Nassau Kings showed that they were still a force to be reckoned with as they gave up only two points in the entire second half and handily defeated the Brooklyn Nets by a score of 53-11. The Connecticut Spokebenders also advanced to the semifinals as a result of a forfeit by the shorthanded Western NY Wheels.

 

The action really started to heat up in the semifinals as the Spokebenders took on the Celtics. The Spokebenders struggled to get anything going in the first half as they netted only two baskets. Despite a strong second half by the Spokebenders, the Celtics were able to hold off a comeback, and they advanced to the championship game with a 38-23 win. In the other semifinal matchup, the Nassau Kings saw their streak of back-to-back championships come to an end when they lost to the Bulova Nets by a score of 44-70, despite strong showings from John Torres and Roger Shelton, who combined for 28 points.

In the championship matchup, the Celtics opened up the game with an 18-3 run, and they never looked back as the Nets never got within 11 points for the rest of the game. Tournament MVP Omar Benitez, who finished as the tournament’s highest scorer, flirted with a triple-double in the championship game. Benitez’s 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists included a nifty no-look pass to teammate Megan Anderson, who finished with the layup in the second half. Anderson returned the favor the very next offensive possession when she threw a full-court pass to a leaking Benitez, who finished on the fast break and all but sealed the deal, giving the Celtics a 39-21 lead. The Celtics were able to show off a full range of options as Bill Hill finished with 10 points, Joe Lamar added six points and five rebounds, and Anderson finished with four points, two rebounds and an assist. Despite strong individual performances by Paul Ward (14 points and eight rebounds) and Steve Yedlock (seven points and seven rebounds), the Bulova Nets couldn’t keep up with the Celtics, who won by a final score of 45-29.

Yedlock was named to the All-Tournament Team along with Linas Pagano from the Connecticut Spokebenders and Mike Kelly from the Nassau Kings.

 
13th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

 

This past weekend, the 13th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament took place at the specially built Wheelchair Softball Field at the Amphitheater at Brookhaven in Long Island NY.  A true Wheelchair Softball field that had 4 Wheelchair Softball Teams sponsored by Major League Baseball franchises competing.  The RIC Cubs, New England Rolling Red Sox, New York Mets and New York Yankees fought for the coveted "Kelly Cup", named after Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association and United Spinal Association’s' former Executive Director, Jerry Kelly.

 

After playing 9 games over two days, the RIC Cubs beat the New England Rolling Red Sox to win the 13th Annual Major League Wheelchair Softball Tournament.

On behalf of the players, coaches and Wheelchair Sports Federation, we'd like to thank Jill Knee, and the NY Mets for their continued support as well as the Town of Brookhaven, Chili’s and Major League Baseball and the NY Yankees.  Without their help, we could not have a premiere Wheelchair Softball Tournament in the New York City area and one of the better events for Adaptive Sports in the United States.

 

2013 Final Results:

1st Place - RIC Cubs

2nd Place – New England Rolling Red Sox

3rd Place - New York Mets

4th Place - New York Yankees

 

2013 All-Tournament Team Awards

Pitcher - Gary Clarke - New England Rolling Red Sox

Catcher - Larry Labiak - RIC Cubs

1st Base - Dan Palmer - RIC Cubs

2nd Base - Kevin Erickson - New York Yankees

3rd Base - Jason Soricelli - NY Mets

Shortstop - Damon Isles - New England Rolling Red Sox

Left Field - Christopher St Remy - NY Yankees

Centerfield - Edy Lopez - NY Mets

Short Field - Jorge Alfaro - RIC Cubs

Right Field - Andre Lambert - NY Mets

Best Quad - Mike Guibault - New England Rolling Red Sox

Sportsmanship - Paul Cowan - New England Rolling Red Sox

Best Rookie - Chip Battoe - RIC Cubs

Most Valuable Player - Joey Gugliotta - RIC Cubs

 

Al Youakim Volunteer & Spirit Award – Charles Lloyd

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 18:34
 
Reds win D2 Wheelchair Softball National Championship Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

 

It’s that time of the year again.  Summer is coming to an end and fall is approaching.  That means softball season is coming to a close.  It also means that it is that time of the year where teams all across the country come together to compete at a destination decided one year prior.  This year that place is Chicago.  I had been to one of these tournaments before, but this would be my first year playing as a starter.  Because I’m a quad my position is catcher.  Not a very impactful role on the team but one every team has to have.  Regardless I found myself getting more and more excited for the thrill of competition and being a contributing member of a team.  Like the other players on the Cincinnati Reds we were, are, and always will be athletes with fierce competitive drives.  Chants of “Must be Nationals!” filled the air as the last practice concluded before we were set to leave for Chicago. 

The road to Nationals started off rocky.  A closed highway delayed our start time by an hour.  A dead car battery set us back another hour.  Eventually we got everyone’s equipment loaded up and were on our way.  We made it into Chicago in the early evening.  After checking into the hotel and getting settled in, we all went out for some good Chicago deep dish pizza before retiring for the evening for a full day of softball the next day.  Of course that slight chance of rain turned into a down pour on the way back to the hotel.  While crossing a street to get back I heard the sound of tires screeching on wet road and turned to see our pitcher dodging traffic.  For a second I thought my competition as the only quad on the team was in jeopardy.  But we made it back, tired, stuffed, and ready for a full day of softball in the morning.

The first day began with us playing Japan.  Yes Japan.  Nationals had become international.  It was a really cool experience.  Of course it probably wouldn’t have been as much fun if we would’ve lost, but winning made the experience that much greater.  Our defense played outstanding and the bats were swinging.  We won easily and took some momentum going into the second game.  The second game didn’t go quite as well.  There’s something about playing the number one team in the country in the pouring rain that’s even harder than it sounds.  We lost that game but not our motivation as we went into the third game.  With great defensive play we won the third.  Then, with the sun going down and the rain coming steadily we headed into the fourth game under the lights.  We put up a good fight and after a couple of lead changes the other team got the better of us.  Tired and soaking wet we returned to the hotel.  We had gone 2-2 for the day and found ourselves in division 2.  We knew that we weren’t the most talented team, and player for player point wise we didn’t match up with other teams, but we were determined not to lose another game. 

As luck would have it we were the last team to play day 1 and the first to play on day 2.  Tired and sore we took the field.  Our defense was outstanding as we shut them down while shaking off the rust for batting.  We won a low scoring game.  But that was becoming this team’s mantra.  Play as a team and do what it takes to win.  We won the second game in similar fashion.  By the third game we had lost one of our better players who had to leave for Olympic weight training.  Anytime you lose an Olympian that’s going to hurt.  But it was ok.  The identity of winning as a team had been established through the veteran leadership.  Veterans unselfishly played other positions to give the team the best chance to win.  First and second year players, who made up a third of the team, listened and executed their assignments.  Everything clicked.  We won the game and found ourselves 3-0 for the day and heading to the division 2 championship.

We took this attitude into the championship game.  We only had ten players, just enough to field a team, but we knew this championship was ours.  Veteran infielders moved to the outfield to play to our strengths.  We even shifted our best outfielders left and right depending on the batter.  But that was ok, because we were a team that was unselfish and wanted to win.  Everyone made a contribution.  It was one of the more complete team games I had been a part of.  We won the game 4-3.  And in fitting fashion the game was won by a first year player making a play in the outfield with a throw to first base, because he was in position due to a veteran telling him where to be. 

It’s hard to describe a trip like this.  It was a blast on and off the field.  We had great team chemistry and friendships were made and strengthened.  This team came together and did what it needed to do to win and had fun doing it.  We won because of the coaching and pitching of Dave Anders, the hot bat of Joe Wittkamp, Terry “can’t wait” Boyd ball hawking in the outfield, Rick Swauger’s swagger, James Tarpenning beating run downs, the bat and glove of Charlie Coon, the “best shortstop in the game” Dougie Dumas, the speed of Homar Colin, first year Gary Dwyer manning third base, and Roy Enyart Jr. coming off the bench and making plays. 

 I’m grateful to have been a part of the 2013 6-2 Division 2 Champion Cincinnati Reds.  

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:35
 
New York City Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Returns on October 5-6, 2013 Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

The 13th annual Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will bring the nation's best wheelchair basketball teams to New York City for two days of non-stop action on October 5th and 6th! The tournament, held at Manhattan College's Draddy Gymnasium in the Bronx, is the largest of its kind in the Northeast and has become one of the premier events on the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) schedule. Formerly known as the Mayor's Cup, the event has been renamed to honor Commissioner Matthew Sapolin, who passed away in 2011 after leading the NYC Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for nearly a decade.

Preliminary rounds will take place Saturday, October 5, from 10AM to 7PM, and the playoffs will begin on Sunday, October 7, at8AM. The championship game will take place on Sunday, October 7, at 11:00AM. Admission is FREE for all spectators and there are volunteer opportunities available on both days of the tournament, so everyone can be involved with this great event in some way!

The Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament is organized by NYC & Company, the City's official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, and supported by the Wheelchair Sports Federation and the Bulova Stetson Fund.

For the most up-to-date information regarding the schedule, rosters, volunteer opportunities, photos, videos and more, please visitwww.Facebook.com/SapolinTournament.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 September 2013 16:35
 
North Jersey Navigators Earn 2012 Amazing Sport Club Award Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

 

 

The U.S. Olympic Committee announced that the North Jersey Navigators—an adaptive sports team for junior athletes with disabilities—received the 2012 Amazing Sport Club Award, one of seven recipients of the 2013 Paralympic Amazing Awards. Navigators’ Head Coach Jim Cuevas was also awarded the 2012 National Coach of the Year Award for Paralympics Track & Field.

 

The Navigators provide opportunities for young athletes with disabilities to train in sports, including track and field, road racing, archery, swimming and table tennis. Based in Jersey City, N.J., the team competes on state, national and international levels. Navigator Raymond Martin won four gold medals in four events at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. Kessler Foundation provided seed funding to the team and continues to distribute grants to cover travel and training costs.

 

Elaine Katz, Vice President of Grants and Special Initiatives at Kessler Foundation, said, “It has been wonderful to be so involved with the Navigators over the years, and to chart their success since they started out as a small, grassroots program and now watch them compete as a large team. We are proud of their accomplishments and happy they are getting the recognition they deserve.”

 

Upon his son joining the team 12 years ago, Cuevas got involved with the Navigators when there was just four members on the team. They obtained funding and partnered with other organizations to gain resources necessary to expand the team. “The past two years have been excellent for us and it has been an amazing experience to see our athletes grow up as independent and productive individuals. Some are developing to a point where they can compete at the next level at International competitions and even the Paralympic Games,” he said.

 

The Paralympic Amazing Awards honor individuals and organizations that make a significant impact on the Paralympic Movement in the U.S. Winners reflect success in grassroots development, elite performance, sponsorships and telling the Paralympic story. In return, more opportunities are provided to people with physical disabilities in the U.S. Award categories include Amazing Leader Award, Amazing Sport Club Award, Amazing Investor Award, Amazing Impact Award, Amazing Mentor Award and Amazing Salute Award.

 

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit 
KesslerFoundation.org.

 

Contacts:
Lauren Scrivo, 973.324.8384973.768.6583 - c, 
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Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382
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Lauren Scrivo, MA

Communications Specialist

Kessler Foundation

300 Executive Drive, Suite 70

West Orange, NJ 07052

Office 973.324.8384

Cell 973.768.6583

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http://kesslerfoundation.org

 

Stay connected with Kessler Foundation:

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 18:20
 
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