NWBA National Wheelchair Basketball Championships 2015

 

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.

Josh Joines gets a shot away against a strong defence

Josh Joines gets a shot away against a strong defence

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!

A jubilant Prep team celebrate their 4th National Championship

A jubilant Prep team celebrate their 4th National Championship

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?

Contact jromito@blazesports.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BlazeSports Track and Field New Season

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BlazeSports Swimmers in CanAm Para Swimming Championships

 

CanAm Team

The BlazeSports Swim Team with Coach Fred

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:

Vica Beelner

McClain Hermes

Maya Kahn

MeiMei White

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

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BlazeSports and USAID launch Sports for All Initiative in Brazil

US Ambassador posing with Boccia athletes

US Ambassador posing with Boccia athletes

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.

Cynthia Frisina and Ana Palla-Kane speak to guest

BlazeSports Executive Director, Cynthia Frisina and project partner Dr. Ana Palla-Kane

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.”  

US Ambassador Liliana Ayalde learning how to play blind soccer with 2004 Athens paralympics gold medalist Anderson Dias

US Ambassador Ayalde trying blind soccer Paralympic Gold Medalist Anderson Dias

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.

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BlazeSports in the News

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The Best Adaptive Sports Camp in the Southeast!

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BlazeSports host 2015 Southeastern Conference Championships

 

THANK YOU to the teams, coaches and spectators who came out to BlazeSports’ Southeastern Conference Championship this weekend! 

 

Here are the FULL RESULTS from the tournament.

 

Check out the news coverage from WSB-TV

 

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SEC-logo-2015This weekend, BlazeSports will host the best youth wheelchair basketball teams in the region at the  Southeastern Conference Championship. The event will take place on Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1 at Sprayberry High School, 2525 Sandy Plains Road, Marietta, GA. This year will be the fourth year in a row that BlazeSports has hosted the regional championships.

The Southeastern Conference Championship represents the final tournament of the season prior to the 2015 National Championships which are scheduled for April 16-18 in Louisville, KY.

 

 

The teams competing in this year’s Southeastern Conference Championship include:

  • BlazeSports Atlanta Junior Wheelchair Hawks (Prep and Varsity)   
  • Bridge II Sports Jr. Thunder (Varsity)                                                                             
  • Charlotte Junior Wheelchair Hornets  (Prep)                                                                      
  • Lakeshore Foundation Sharks (Prep) and Lakers (Varsity)                                                
  • Mississippi Wheelcats (Prep and Varsity (Varsity)                                                                        
  • Montgomery Red Wings (Varsity)                      

                                                                                             

See the full 2015 Tournament Schedule 

                                                             

Cheer on the Hawks!

The BlazeSports Atlanta Junior Hawks’ Prep team is currently undefeated (16-0) and have hopes for a perfect season and a #1 ranking for the National Championships. The Hawks’ Varsity team is currently ranked #4 in the country and hope to maintain that position going into April’s National Championships.

We invite everyone to come and help cheer on BlazeSports’ Atlanta Junior Hawks in their last regional tournament of the year. GO HAWKS!

For more information on the BlazeSports Atlanta Junior Hawks contact Jessie Romito at jromito@blazesports.org or 404-270-2028.

 

Thank you to our 2015 Southeastern Conference Championship Sponsors

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