“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it remembers, the men it honors.” - President John F. Kennedy
This Memorial Day we honor our heroes that have died while serving our country. However you choose to remember – decorating gravesites, visiting cemetaries, lowering or displaying flags, participating in a local parade – it says that these service men and women have and will not be forgotten. We are forever greatful for their sacrifice.
At this time BlazeSports also gives thanks to our Georgia Blazer Veterans and the many veterans and active duty military who have been wounded in combat.
If you are a veteran or part of the military, and are looking for disability sport opportunities, please check out our military programs page at:http://www.blazesports.org/what-we-do/programs/sports-programs-for-veterans-and-active-duty-service-members/
Over the weekend of April 24-26, Jeff Jones and Sam Zapatka traveled to the campus of Springfield College in Massachusetts to deliver CDSS (Certified Disability Sports Specialist) training to students, faculty, and community members. This is the second of the six total presentations that will be delivered throughout the United States in 2014. In attendance were 30 Springfield College students, 3 Springfield College Professors, as well as 10 members from the surrounding New England community. Throughout the 2 day course, the participants were engaged in different presentations including adaptive sport equipment, Paralympic history, disability advocacy, and more.
The next CDSS presentation will take place in Huntingdon, Alabama July 18-19.
March is always a packed month for BlazeDays in schools due to Exceptional Children’s Week and on March 12th BlazeSports staff visited Haynes Bridge Middle School in Alpharetta. The school is a center school for children with disabilities and a wonderful example of inclusion, especially in P.E. activities. Students with and without a disability naturally paired up for partner activities and there was a excellent atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork.
The students moved around the groups trying the Paralympic Sports of sitting volleyball, blind running, wheelchair basketball and boccia. Maggie Frederick and James Adams both answered questions about their experiences as athletes with a disability.
Thanks to Sharon Munzenmeier for arranging the BlazeDay at Haynes Bridge and to the staff and students who took part throughout the day.
Blaze visited Coralwood school in Decatur this month as part of their exceptional children’s week activities. Coralwood is becoming a regular fixture on the calender and we love to visit this unique school. The student population is Pre K and Kindergarten and has a high number of children with a range of disabilities. During the BlazeDay the children tried wheelchair relays, goal ball and sitting volleyball.
Thanks to Mr Schoates, PE Teacher and all the staff at Coralwood for hosting us again! As always we had great fun!
Over the course of the last couple of months, our veteran athletes have been extremely active with many weekly programs. As the
Roosevelt and Dixie Games approach in April and May, our veteran athletes have been training hard in preparation of bringing home some hardware. Jacques Swafford has recently found his niche in the weight room as he has been training rigorously every Monday and Wednesday at the Coan Recreation Center in Decatur.
Specifically, Jacques is focusing on his field event techniques which include javelin, shot-put, and discus. He is committed to qualifying for the VA standards. As our indoor archery program makes its way outside to Panola Park at the end of March, our veteran athletes have been very successful under Paralympic Coach Ginger Hopwood. Keith Thompson, the newest member to our program, has been a standout archer as he routinely hits the bulls-eye.
Despite the bitter cold in the past few months, many of our veteran athletes have attended our cycling program at Panola Park. While the trails are notorious for difficult hills and sharp turns, they do not stop Rony Carolus and James Johnson. Both athletes have improved substantially since the beginning of the season and we look forward to cheering them on during the Roosevelt Games, Dixie Games, and Valor games.
Are you a veteran or an active duty service member with a physical disability?
Contact Sam Zapatka for information about getting involved: firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 270 2000
Hawks Win SEC Titles
Congratulations to the Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks Varsity and Prep teams for winning the 2014 Southeast Regional Junior Wheelchair Basketball Tournament. The Hawks Varsity squad earned a back-to-back SEC title, while the Hawks Prep team extended their winning streak since 2012 to 30 straight games and their third consecutive SEC Championship.
The Hawks Prep team would face the Mississippi Wheel Cats twice on Day 2 of the tournament. The Wheel Cats were victorious over the Lakeshore Sharks and Charlotte Bobcats and earned a spot in the Prep Championship Game. However, they would have to play the Hawks in the final game of the preliminary round. The Hawks played one of their best games of the year with 5 of the 8 players in the scoring column. Collin Lancaster led the Hawks with 12 points, while both Eric Francis and Taevan Grant each added 8 points. Cameron Elzey and John Joiner rounded out the scoring with 4 points each. Hawks win the first game 36-13.
Both teams had a three hour break before the Championship rematch. The Hawks went into the Championship game, their last regular season game before Nationals, concentrating on defense. The dynamic duo of Cameron Elzey and Collin Lancaster led the Hawks’ defense which held the Wheel Cats to only 5 points. On the offensive side of the score sheet the Hawks were able to get 6 of 8 players contributing. Eric Francis led all scorers with 10 points and was followed closely by Collin Lancaster who had 8 points. Jon Joiner scored 4 points and Taevan Grant, Cameron Elzey and Cade Maynor each had 2 points. Hawks win 26-5.
Collin Lancaster was voted to the Prep All-Tournament Team, while Eric Francis won his second consecutive MVP trophy.
On the Varsity side of the tournament the Hawks also had to play a final preliminary game against the Junior Thunder (NC). The Hawks continued to work on getting all 12 players quality playing minutes as well as scoring opportunities. Seven Hawks made the score sheet with Treyvon Grant leading the way with 12 points and Kalen Reese and Joshua Joines each adding 8 points. Chance Boyd and Luke Hutchinson each had 4 points and Samuel Armas and Makayla Jones rounded out the scoring with 2 points each. Hawks win 40-26.
The Hawks moved on to the Championship game against regional rivals the Lakeshore Lakers (AL). This would be a rematch from Saturday’s game which the Hawks won easily 55-28. The Hawks jumped out to an early lead behind a very successful full court press. Hawks led at the intermission 30-11. The second half belonged to the reserves and 8 of the 12 Hawks made the score column. Hawks win 49-35. Joshua Joines the Hawks with 12 points, followed closely by Bryan Powell who had a season high 10 points. Treyvon Smith and Samuel Armas scored 6 points while Chance Boyd and Brent O’Grady each added 4 points. Kalen Reese and Luke Hutchinson rounded out the scoring with 2 points each.
Samuel Armas received All-Tournament honors while Joshua Joines was voted MVP of the Varsity tournament. The Varsity Hawks finished the regular season 14-6 and are currently ranked #10 in the country.
BlazeSports would like the thank Cole Sulmonetti, an intern from Georgia State University for all his help in organizing this years tournament. Thanks to the Suwanee Sports Academy Cobb for hosting the third consecutive SEC Championship. Special thanks to our sponsors: Eagle Sportschairs, Chick fil-A, Domino Pizza, Publix and Jimmy Johns.
Thank you also to the volunteers who assisted with everything from score keeping to distributing lunches. Your contribution made a huge difference to the event.
Congratulations to all the teams on a great tournament!
Check out the excellent post on the weekends events from BigSportsReport.com