BlazeSports Varsity Team Record Best Ever Season Finish
Teams had their sights set on taking down the BlazeSports Jr. Hawks coming into the 2015 National Wheelchair Basketball Championships, but our athletes rose to the occasion and brought their A Game.
The Varsity team entered into the tournament ranked 6th nationally, the highest ranking the BlazeSports Varsity program has seen. With the top ten teams being highly competitive BlazeSports was going to have to up the intensity to gain the wins.
BlazeSports showed that team work and determination could produce a win and advanced to the next round in the bracket after winning game 1. Even though Game 2 was a tough loss against Nebraska, the game had some shining stars including freshman, BlazeSports Hawks’ KJ Reese who provided a solid offense scoring his first 3-pointer of the season.
In Game 3, BlazeSports managed to pull out a win against #7 Seattle. Senior, Brent O’Grady went on an 8-0 run in the 2nd half finding his sweet spot and getting open every play! Samuel Armas grabbed a rebound in the final seconds beating out the buzzer showing the true heart and determination of the team. The final game of the tournament was against #4 Milwaukee Heat, a rematch of the BlazeSports buzzer beater in Whitewater, WI back in January. The Heat came out with vengeance and started to shut down the BlazeSports offense. Leading scorer, sophomore Josh Joines, contributed 18 points including a stellar 3 point shot and Brent O’Grady also hit a 3 pointer. Junior, Luke Hutchinson kicked off the game with a beautiful basket letting the Heat know BlazeSports was there to compete.
Our Varsity team ended the season with a 6th place finish going 2-2 at the tournament.
Fourth National Championship for the BlazeSports Prep Team
Our Prep team came into the national tournament as the defending 3-time National Champions. Our opponents were seen scouting the games, trying to figure out how to stop our mighty BlazeSports Prep team. The athletes calmed their nerves and played fantastic basketball throughout all three games of the tournament.
#33 Jeremiah Million made his first appearance at Nationals as part of the BlazeSports team and had a breakout tournament providing outstanding defense! Offensive powerhouses #4 Eric Francis, #10 Collin Lancaster and #30 Bailey Moody capitalized on scoring opportunities and created a major lead in the Championship game against the Chicago Skyhawks, a repeat of the 2014 Championship game, allowing Coach Marc Lancaster to put in each one of the 13 players making up the BlazeSports roster. Zachary Armas, one of the team’s most vocal and enthusiastic players entered into the game with 2 minutes left, bound and determined to make a basket. With 2 seconds left he got off a shot and swish went the net as the buzzer rang. Tears of joy from players, parents, and spectators flowed freely as the team won their 4th National Championship. A true BlazeSports team effort for the entire tournament.
Our eight month basketball season shows the true dedication from not only the players but from the parents and coaches as well. Our BlazeSports Jr. Hawks are a not only a team, but a family. Congratulations on a season well played!
NWBA National Championship 2015 Team Awards
Prep Championship Game MVP: Collin Lancaster
2nd Team All-Tournament Prep: Eric Francis
1st Team All-Tournament Female Prep: Bailey Moody
2nd Team All-Tournament Varsity: Brent O’Grady
2nd Team All-Academic Varsity: Luke Hutchinson
1st Team All-Academic Varsity: Josh Joines
Presidential Award: Chance Boyd
BlazeSports is honored to be the recipient of the Courage Kenny Award of Merit for Outstanding Leadership presented by the NWBA. This award recognizes BlazeSports’ vision, leadership, and service to the NWBA and development of Junior Division Wheelchair Basketball. We are delighted and honored to receive such a wonderful award!
Join our team for the 2015/2016 Season!
Would you like to get involved in the BlazeSports Wheelchair Baskletball Program?
Around 200 swimmers from 11 countries will be in action this weekend (20-22 March) in Toronto, Canada, as the Can Ams Para-Swimming Championships take place in the pool that will stage August’s Parapan American Games.
Amongst the swimmers set to take part at the spectacular CIBC Pan Am / Parapan Am Aquatics Centre and Field House are a number of Paralympic and world champions. This includes the US duo of Jessica Long and Brad Snyder and home favourite Benoit Huot.
Preliminary heats start each day at 09:30 ET, with finals at 18:00 ET. All sessions will be webcast live.
For more information visit: https://www.swimming.ca/2015SpeedoCANAMParaswimmingChampionships
The BlazeSports Swimmers competing in the event are:
Coach: Fred Lamback
The young swimmers will be looking to improve their times across the board and gain valuable ‘big event’ experience competing against some of the worlds best para-swimmers.
Ahead of the weekend Coach Fred commented “Just to qualify for this event is a huge achievement and the girls have been training hard for the past months in preparation. They are excited to get in the pool and ready for this high level competition”
See the Live Results HERE
Hosted in an area of Rio de Janeiro that has seen tremendous growth due to the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, BlazeSports and its partners launched a two-year initiative that aims to promote social integration of people with and without disabilities through physical activity and sport in Brazil.
The kick off event on March 18th brought together partners, beneficiaries and the sport community in Rio de Janeiro. The US Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, talked about how the project will be developed, “Today we are launching the Sports for All program focusing on the inclusion of people with disabilities through sport. This program will promote training, exchange of ideas and different aspects of cooperation of sport and people with disabilities. With this initial effort, we will make the effort to include the private sector to give continued support to such activities.”
During the event, other partners including the representative of the Casa Civil of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Mr. Pedro Spadale spoke about the importance of sport in the community and to advocate the rights of people with disabilities. Mr. Spadale also spoke about the importance of a legacy organization such as BlazeSports to be in Rio de Janeiro collaborating with Brazilian NGOs and the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee to leave a legacy following the 2016 Games. Cynthia Frisina spoke on behalf of BlazeSports, “Sports for All Initiative in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a groundbreaking collaboration between the United States and Brazil on behalf of people with physical disabilities creating a more inclusive society and increasing awareness of the benefits of sport for all people.”
The kick-off culminated with a practical presentation of partners working with sport for people with disabilities in Rio de Janeiro. The presentation started with a dance performance led by the project PCD of the Secretary of Sport and Leisure of the City of Rio de Janeiro. The dance was followed by a boccia challenge led by Cervim and ANDE (National Association of Sport for People with Disabilities), where young athletes from Cervim challenged the US Ambassador to Brazil and Mr. Pedro Spadale. The event ended with BlazeSports’ Ambassador Anderson Dias, 2004 Athens Paralympics 5-a-side football gold medalist, challenging BlazeSports’ Ambassador Wanderson da Silva, football 7-a-side best player in the world, to a shootout wearing blindfolds.