Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2013 PowerBlast hosts 11 teams from across the U.S.

Warm weather. Spring training baseball. March in Arizona is a signal for many things and for the power soccer community, it means the annual Power Blast tournament.  This year's field was packed with 11 teams, with the SpoFit Spark making their official debut and the Okanagan Thunderchairs making the trip from Canada.  In addition, there were teams from nearly every USPSA conference represented.

Kicking off the weekend were the ASU Sun Devils vs. the AZ Heat Destroyers and the SpoFit Spark vs. RHI Sudden Impact. Although both matches pitted veterans squads against less experienced teams, the new teams held their own and managed to keep the games close. ASU and RHI pulled out the victories and would have a showdown of their own later in the weekend.

As the tournament progressed, one common theme kept popping up; there were a lot of goals being scored!  Regularly, teams were scoring five or more goals per game!  Everyone was playing hard all weekend, especially Spin, from Minnesota.  They only could travel with three athletes and played their hearts out all weekend long, finishing in 6th place.  It was a great accomplishment, considering their circumstances!

The four teams from USPSA's top two conferences, Premier and Champions, met in the semifinals on the last day.  The Ball State Cardinals fell to RHI Sudden Impact 3-1, and the ASU Sun Devils beat the So Cal Vaqueros 8-1.  This meant that in the championship match, RHI and ASU would play a rematch from the previous day, which ended in a 7-0 ASU win.  Both teams were focused and determined to bring home the title.  In the final match, the RHI defense was much tougher and ASU had a slim 1-0 lead at halftime.  In the second half, RHI scored to tie the match and were hungry to increase their lead. However, ASU answered with a quick goal and never relinquished the lead, winning 4-1 and taking home the title.

Power Blast 2013 was a great success and everyone enjoyed the chance to come to Arizona and soak up the sunshine.  Those of us who live here loved having everyone here and look forward to the tournament next year!

Tournament MVP: Zach Dickey - RHI Sudden Impact
Sportsmanship Award: Joey Christensen - Okanagan Thunderchairs

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Honeywell selected AzDS power soccer as benefiary of charity rodeo

Arizona Disabled Sports was honored to be selected as one of the beneficiaries of the 55th Annual Cliff Garrett Charity Rodeo by Honeywell on Saturday, November 5th.
Honeywell selected the power soccer program provided by Arizona Disabled Sports to be the lucky recipient of the proceeds from the rodeo and all we had to do was provide volunteer support for the event. AzDS board members, staff and dedicated volunteers arrived to the Western Saddle Club in Phoenix prepared with shovels to help with clean-up and were lucky to only have to pick-up trash around the arena.

On Tuesday, December 20th, AzDS was presented with a large check for $15,121.92. This amazing donation will support the program fees for the three power soccer teams provided by AzDS including team uniforms and warm-up jerseys, updated equipment, travel expenses and local tournament fees. Thank you to Ernie Gammons, Rodeo Chairman and the entire committee of Honeywell employees for their dedication and commitment to supporting the community. Thank you to the Trujillo family for their hard work to bring AzDS to the attention of Honeywell for this event.

3rd Annual Run, Walk and Roll hosts over 800 racers

AzDS was very excited when 815 racers showed up for the 3rd Annual Run, Walk and Roll held on Saturday, January 7th at the Tempe Beach Park. Once the sun came up, it was a beautiful Arizona day for a race. Biggest Loser Season 5 winner, Ali Vincent supported the event for the 3rd year and also brought along the Biggest Loser Season 12 winner, John Rhode. Ali and John promoted the event on Channel 12 EVB Live and Channel 3 Morning news, motivated the start line and then raced in the 10K.
Also joining them in the 10K was Mesa Councilmember Dave Richins. Fifty-one individuals participated in the "Roll" division including racing wheelchairs, hand-cycles, recumbent cycles and more!

All of the racers received a goodie bag and refreshments from Sunflower Farmers Market and a commemorative technical event shirt. Over 30 vendor booths lined the beach park including sponsors Will2Walk Foundation, Barrow Connection, Climatec and Arizona Lottery. Mrs. Arizona America 2011, Lori Skutnik assisted Raceplace Events to distribute award medals and gifts to the top three male and female winners in each division. Morning DJ, Matthew Blades from Mix 96.9 of Clear Channel Radio performed as M.C. of the event while Clear Channel and KNIX excited the venue and water station 5 with music.

Event photos and results can be found at www.RunWalkRollAZ.com.
Follow the event on Facebook - www.Facebook.com/RunWalkRollAZ and save the date for the 2013 event to be held on Saturday, January 5th at the Tempe Beach Park.
You can get involved as a committee member for this event by contacting Lane Jeppesen at lane@arizonadisabledsports.com.

AZ Paralympic Experience - Track, Field & Archery

Approximately 35 individuals participated in the 2012 Arizona Paralympic Experience including track, field and archery clinics on Saturday, January 14th, 2012 at Mesa High School. The track clinic was led by Paralympic athletes, Anjali Forber-Pratt, Troy Davis, Erik Hightower and Tanner Gers. The archery clinic was led by Paralympic athlete, Eric Bennett and Mark Schrand along with AZ Heat coaches, Lise Lindsay and Nadine Del Favero. The field clinic was led by Paralympic athlete, Corbin Beu and wife Katie Beu.

Power Soccer Team Raises Funding by Selling Candles

The Arizona Heat power soccer teams are actively raising funds to support their travel expenses to the National tournament in June 2012. The team sold Gold Canyon Candles to family and friends and was able to raise approximately $700 to support the team's trip this summer. Thank you to the friends and family members that purchased a candle to support the team.

El Tour de Tucson

Congrats to our athletes that participated in the 29th El Tour de Tucson back in November. We had 6 dedicated men that trained hard all season to compete in the 42 mile ride.

Lamar Ryberg - 2:35:37
Troy Davis - 2:52:57
Kennard Hibler - 4:04:44
Ben Swanson - 4:51:48
Gavin Warren - DNF due to mechanical errors
Travis Oldhouser - DNP due to health

Way to go to our 5 athletes that also rocked the 6 mile ride which trained at the cycling sessions hosted at El Dorado Park in Scottsdale; Austin Alcorn, Evie Boone, John Countryman, Marc Neilson, & Michelle Nguyen.

AzDS is proud of each and every one of you. We look forward to next year in hopes we'll have more competitors to join us in the fun with AZ Heat cycling team! --- Also, don't forget out volunteers & supporters --- Thank you! We couldn't have done it without you.

Holiday Bowling Tournament

On Saturday, December 10th, 18 participants of various physical disabilities joined Arizona Disabled Sports at AMF Mesa Lanes to challenge each other against two rounds of bowling. The event was a celebration to finish up the Summer-Fall season and a time to gather for the holiday season.

New Coaches for AzDS

Arizona Disabled Sports is excited to introduce the new power soccer coach, Danielle Cvetanovich for team Arizona Heat: The Destroyers & the new swim coach, Marisol Sanchez for people with physical disabilities. Please give a warm welcome to Danielle & Marisol when you meet them at the programs. They both bring a positive attitude and great enthusiasm for sports and recreation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thank you to the AzDS Year-Round Sponsors for their generous support

CHAMPION LEVEL - $10,000 and above
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Southwest Airlines
USOC—Olympic Opportunity Fund

CHALLENGER LEVEL - $5,000—$9,999
Boeing Employee Community Fund
The Jochum-Moll Foundation
Gregory J. Marsh
McCarthy Heart Hats
Mesa Hohokam Foundation
SPAC Enterprises / Peter Mizioch

COMPETITOR LEVEL - $2,500—$4,999
Arizona Sport & Tourism Authority
Cardinals Charities
Delta Diversified
Ford Motor Company

CHARGER LEVEL - $1,000—$2,499
Desert Club Foundation
E & K of Phoenix, Inc.
Shaw Industries
United Truck & Equipment

Thank you to the Table Sponsors at the 18th Annual Fall Fundraiser

PLATINUM - $3,000
JFK Electrical Contracting Enterprises, Inc.

GOLD - $2,000
Cummins Rocky Mountain
Simpson Strong-Tie

SILVER - $1,000
John and Sue Alig
Arizona Lighting Sales, Inc.
Boeing Company
Cawood and Gibson, PLLC
D.L. Withers Construction
John and Linda Hughes
Kohler Company
Lerner & Rowe Attorneys
Morrison & Associates CPAs
Progressive Roofing
Gloria Rusk and Beth Rusk
R.C. Lurie Co, Inc.
Schuff Steel Management Co. SW
Suntec Concrete
SW Services
The Mahoney Group
Jim Winterton / Johnson Bank

18th Annual Fall Fundraiser

On Saturday, October 1st, AzDS hosted the 18th Annual Fall Fundraiser at the Mesa Convention Center. The organization was very pleased to have 280 guests to bid on the 158 silent auction items and 7 live auction items. Joe Dana of 12 News entertained the crowd as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening with support from certified auctioneer, Letitia Frye who won over the crowd during the live auction. Special thank you to DJ Larry Indelicato, vocalist Laura Danielle Walsh and her band and Monsignor Nestor for their support at the 2011 event. Congratulations to the organizing committee for a successful 18th year - especially Linda Hughes and Deb Krecek who put in countless hours of volunteer work towards the event.

Annually at the Fall Fundraiser, AzDS presents the Jay Coyner Award to the most deserving athlete with a physical disability. The 2011 recipient is Rachel Kroener. Rachel has competed with the Junior Suns wheelchair basketball team since 2008 and recently began playing on both the junior and the adult women’s wheelchair basketball teams. In August of 2011, after only two seasons with the track and field team, Rachel was announced as a member of the US Paralympic Track & Field High School All-American Team. Rachel set the America’s record in both the discus and javelin at the 2011 National Junior Disability Championships. At the NJDC in Michigan, Rachel only competed for one day but she attended each day to cheer on her teammates. Rachel is an outstanding athlete and a dedicated teammate. Congratulations to Rachel Kroener for winning the 2011 Jay Coyner Award.

AZ Paralympic Experience - Wheelchair Basketball

On Saturday, August 27th, Arizona Disabled Sports, Banner Wheelchair Suns and University of Arizona hosted the Arizona Paralympic Experience - Wheelchair Basketball clinic. Eleven juniors joined the morning session and 17 adults joined the afternoon session. The clinics were led by University of Arizona men's head coach, Derek Brown and women's head coach, Peter Hughes. Supporting the instruction were adult wheelchair basketball athlete Robert Reed and junior Suns coach Tom Czarnecki.

AzDS Founder is a Triathlete

One of the founders of this organization has recently reached a personal goal of competing in a mini-triathlon. Gregg's post on Facebook on September 18th:

Back from the mini-triathlon and I accomplished both of my goals.....I finished and I didn't let Barbara Jacoboski pass me! The fact that she started 20 minutes later than me is irrelevant! My times were 5:14 for the 250 swim; 42:something for the 9.5 bike; and 19:20 for the 2 mile run. Overall time with transitions was 1:07:20. I managed to take the silver medal for my age group. I think there are more mini-tri's in my future!

Gregg has already signed up to compete in the Seville Mini-Triathlon in Gilbert on October 16th. You go Gregg!

AZ Heat juniors face fierce competition at NJDC

From July 16th-23rd, the Arizona Heat junior team of five athletes, 1 coach, 2 administrators and lots of family members traveled to Saginaw, Michigan for the National Junior Disability Championships. The long trip from Phoenix to Saginaw was no match for the junior archers.

All four archery competitors received a personal best performance. Chainey Cathemer, AR2 shot 459 for 1st place in Novice Cadet male, Autumn Taylor, AR3 shot 240 for 1st place in Novice Cadet female, Michael Baumgartner, AR3 shot 479 for 2nd place in the Novice Cadet male and Kevin Messner, AR3 shot 430 for 1st place in Cadet. The archery team set the tone for the week!

Autumn Taylor competed in 4 swim events and received 3rd and 4th place in all events with some fierce competition in her classification and age division.

After cheering on her teammates for most of the week, Rachel competed in wheelchair field and set a National junior's record in both discus and javelin receiving 1st place in both events.

Autumn Taylor, Michael Baumgartner, Chainey Cathemer and Kevin Messner competed in track events for three days. Even after a stumble at the beginning of both the 60m and 100m, Autumn finished hard and received 1st place in her age and class. Kevin received 3rd place in the 100m, 3rd place in the 200m and 1st place in the 400m. Michael and Chainey competed in the T54 class in the 100m and 200m and competed against the top junior athletes in their age division. Michael had a personal best in both the 100m and 200m.

The athletes enjoyed social outings with the Arizona Heat team including dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings, ice cream at Baskin' Robins and bowling next to the hotel. Everyone had a great time and can't wait to start up the 2012 season!

Arizona Disabled Sports has submitted a bid to host the National Junior Disability Championships in July 2012. The bid will be announced after the WASUSA delegate assembly from October 21-23. Committee members and volunteers will be in high demand if we win the bid!

AzDS Athletes receive high school letters for participation

Athletes that participate with Arizona Disabled Sports for two consecutive years will be eligible to receive a letter from their high school. At the 2011 End of Season Awards Celebration, Chandler Goetz was presented with a letter from Williamsfield High School for active participation on the wheelchair basketball team. Congratulations Chandler!

New wheelchair basketball athlete

AZDS has been a great experience for my son and our family so far. Gabriel has express interest in enrolling in athletics for a while even though he is only 6 years old. I found out about AZDS wheelchair basketball through the Spina Bifida Association of Arizona (SBAAZ) and their resources. The application process to get started was easy and the entry fee was minimal. Gabriel was even given a chair to practice with while we wait on his to come. The staff and team at AZDS have been exceptional to work with. Gabriel can’t wait for Monday’s practice to come. He asks me every day when I pick him up from school if it’s Monday so he can go to basketball practice. He loves wearing his Shaq Suns jersey to practice, to him every basketball player is Shaq and he can’t wait to grow up and be like him. Gabriel is definitely getting a good workout through this program as well. Every Monday during practice he says, “Dad, check out my muscles. They’re getting huge!”
Thank you AZDS for your program and support
Scanlan Family

First time cyclist and kayak participant

Before I had my stroke, I wasn’t able to ride a bike or ride in a kayak!! AZDS has helped me get my self stronger and it has given me the best sort of confidence. I am so excited and happy that I did that!
-Athlete, Michelle

Monday, July 11, 2011

2011 Desert Challenge Games in Mesa

The 2011 Desert Challenge Games hosted 120 registered participants from 14 states across the nation, Canada, Japan and Puerto Rico. The event was very exciting including 1 broken World record in the F11 Long Jump by Elexis Gillette, 13 set America’s records and 6 set junior’s records. The US Paralympics hosted a 4-day Military Camp at Luke Air Force Base where 25 injured servicemen and women joined in a track and field camp to gain the skills to compete at the Desert Challenge Games event. Two of our local veterans - Chris Clemens and Ricardo Renteria participated in the camp at Luke and then competed at the event.

Arizona Disabled Sports had 7 adults and 13 juniors qualify to continue on competing at the National level. Congratulations to all of the athletes and best of luck at the upcoming National events.

Thank you to our host venues including Red Mountain High School, Usery Park Archery Range, Skyline High School Aquatic Center and the Country Inn & Suites in Mesa.

The Local Organizing Committee is extremely grateful for your continued support towards the organization and the Desert Challenge Games. Thank you to event sponsors including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project/DSUSA, Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Just Water, Inc, Jodi Davis Photography, Starbucks, Symbius Medical, Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association and Sanderson Mobility.

15th Annual Day on the Lake is the best year yet!

The 15th Annual Day on the Lake program at Bartlett Lake Marina was the best year we have ever had!

We had over 100 participants enjoy three days of adapted water sports-water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, boat rides and kayaking, provided by Arizona Disabled Sports. This year we made some wonderful changes to the program. We added Thursday, June 2 to be for those who just wanted to come out and water ski. Many skiers were able to ski multiple times and this was an excellent way to improve the quality of the program and for people to really be able to work on their water skiing skills.
The Jet Ski station was able to provide over 79 rides on Friday and about 60 rides on Saturday, many participants were able to Jet Ski up to 6 more times. The Double Decker Party Boat left the dock full every hour and brought back lots of happy participants and volunteers! The fishing teams enjoyed a friendly competition between the bass boats and the pontoon boats..lets just say..way to go Pontoon team!!

Save the Date for the 16th Annual Day on the Lake from Thursday- May 31 through Saturday, June 2. Thursday date includes water skiing only. Friday and Saturday includes all events-water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, kayaking, & boat rides.

Bartlett Lake Marine
Barrow Connection

AZ Heat Team at the 2011 US Paralympics Track and Field National Championships

The Arizona Heat track team including Troy Davis, Stephen Binning, Lamar Ryberg, Erik Hightower, Jonathan Lopez, Chris Clemens and Tanner Gers competed at the 2011 US Paralympics Track and Field National Championships in Mirimar, FL this past June. The team brought home 7 medals including 3 silver (Erik, Tanner & Chris) and 4 bronze (Erik, Tanner and Troy). Lamar, Stephen and Jonathan performed well, narrowly missing the finals in their events.

Congratulations to the AZ Heat team for a great event in Mirimar!

2011 USPSA Premier Conference Cup Recap

After a long season, it was time to test our skills against the best of the best. Over the past few months, we have spent countless hours practicing and sharpening our skills in preparation for one thing: The 2011 USPSA Premier Cup.

This past June, the ASU Power Soccer Club made its way down to Atlanta, GA to participate in the first Premier Conference Cup Tournament. The top 10 teams in the USPSA were invited to participate in the tournament, and we were eager to see how we staked up against the cream of the power soccer crop.

This tournament was also the first Conference Cup to be played under the new USPSA Conference realignment. Instead of having two divisions for the league’s 60 teams, the USPSA is now split into six different conferences, with the best teams in the league being placed in the Premier Conference.

Under the new alignment, the Sun Devils were placed in the top conference. While it was only our first season playing together for Arizona State University, we had several power soccer veterans and had enough skill to hold our own against the best the conference had to offer.

From the minute we arrived in Atlanta, we were eager to get the tournament started. After months of preparation, this is what we play for, a chance at a National title. For three straight days, we competed against top teams like the 2010 National Champions, Circle City Rollers, and perennial title contenders, the Atlanta Synergy. All of the teams showed great improvement and the competition level was at a level I’ve never seen before. Most of the games were decided by two goals or less and were filled with intense, non-stop action.

In the end, the ASU Sun Devils earned seventh place in our inaugural season. While we didn’t finish as high as we hoped, our team played with great heart, determination and respect. So now we return home to continue to build on our successful 2011 season. For now, we will focus on improving and aim to return to the 2012 Premier Cup better than before. Even though the season is over, four words will drive us to new heights into next season:

Wait ‘til next year...

If you would like to stay up to date with ASU’s power soccer club, please follow the ASU Power Soccer Club on Facebook and Twitter, or visit their website at www.asupowersoccer.com.

ASU Power Soccer Club Hosts Golf Benefit

With the temperature living in the low 80s and a steady breeze blowing across the course, more than 60 golfers made their way out to The Links at Queen Creek Golf Course for the annual AZDS Power Soccer Benefit Golf Tournament this past April.

For the fourth consecutive year, power soccer athlete Gabe Trujillo and his family help coordinate the event in an effort to raise funds for the power soccer program at Arizona Disabled Sports (AZDS). This year, the money raised from the tournament went to help cover traveling and registration expenses for the Arizona State University Power Soccer Club as they traveled to the USPSA Premier Cup Tournament in Atlanta, GA in June.

This was the club’s inaugural season and their first major tournament as a team. All of the ASU athletes are current students or graduates and are members of AZDS. The team was eager to attend the tournament and the money raised from the golf tournament would help them get there.

Jack Nicklaus himself could have asked for better weather. Everything seemed to fall in place for an absolutely amazing day out on the links. All the golfers were in great spirits and enjoyed spending a relaxing and fun-filled day on the course to support a great cause.

After the tournament, all of the golfers were treated to a barbecue and awards ceremony to award prizes to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams. Raffle prizes were also handed out during lunch as well.

All in all, the entire tournament was a complete success. Everyone had a great time and the club raised more than $4,000 for their trip to Atlanta.

If you would like to learn more about next year’s tournament, please follow the ASU Power Soccer Club on Facebook and Twitter, or visit their website at www.asupowersoccer.com.

Underwood Competes at Jimi Flowers Classic 2011

Arizona Disabled Sports swimmer Joe Underwood traveled to the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs for the second annual Jimi Flowers Classic open disability swim meet the weekend of June 25 and 26, partially sponsored by AZDS.

This meet brought together the 44 members of the 2011 National Teams slated to swim at the Pan Pacific Para Swimming competition in Edmonton, Alberta, Can in August and the Para Pan American games in Guadalajara, Mex in November. The two teams were in Colorado for overlapping training camps between June 22 and the 28th. In addition, swimmers as young as 10 years old from around the US came, some for their first US Paralympics swimming experience.

This was Underwood’s sixth US Paralympics meet since March of 2010 as he continues to pursue the chance to make the national team. While Underwood has shown steady improvement in his times since beginning the pursuit of a spot on the US Paralympics team, the altitude in Colorado Springs kept him from matching his best times. He did, however improve his standing against the other swimmers in his classification taking third in most of his events and second in one.

“It’s pretty cool swimming in heats with American and world record holders,” Underwood said. “Saturday was Olympic Day at the OTC and there was a line of people waiting for an autograph from Rudy Garcia-Tolson, who I had just watched swimming the 1500 meter freestyle. An hour before that, I was four lanes over from him in the 50 free.”

All proceeds from the meet, tee shirt and heat sheet sales were donated to a fund to benefit the family of the late Jimi Flowers, former US Paralympics head coach and coach of the Paralympic Residence Team who was killed in a climbing accident in 2009.

Operation Pedal Paddle successful first season

AzDS created a community based cycling and kayaking program called “Operation Pedal Paddle” for injured service members. The adaptive cycling and kayaking sessions were scheduled for six Saturdays from March through June and moved from various locations in the Phoenix Metro Valley and Tucson, Arizona. The kayaking clinics began on the calm waters of the Tempe Town Lake and a pool and lake at the Davis Monthan Air Force Base and then moved to the more difficult waters at Bartlett Lake in Cave Creek, Arizona and Lakeside Park in Tucson, Arizona. Each kayaking session was followed by a cycling clinic on paved paths near the lake where kayaking took place. The cycling sessions began on flat terrain and progressed with each session to include uneven terrain and winding paths. Participants were provided with 2 hours of kayaking followed by lunch and then 2 hours of cycling.

Veterans with physical disabilities were provided the opportunity to explore new outdoor adventure sports or fine tune their current skills in the sport. Each participant was provided with one-on-one instruction and assistance from trained and educated professionals. The injured service members were able to learn about sport safety, explore adaptive equipment, gain skills for all levels of injury, be active, stay fit and enjoy the outdoors with friends and family members.

The organization was able to recruit injured service members through developed relationships and partnerships with local veterans associations, hospitals and local disability organizations. MASD worked with the Davis Monthan Air Force Base and Southern Arizona VA Health Care System to allow injured service members from the southern Arizona area a chance to explore new sports or fine tune their skills in cycling and kayaking. MASD continued the partnerships previously developed with the Phoenix Veterans Administration Hospital, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Disabled Veterans Association (DVA) to recruit veterans from the Phoenix Metro Valley and surrounding areas. MASD also collaborated with Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson Veterans Centers, the University of Arizona Veterans clinic, Mesa Community College Veterans Affairs Department and Arizona State University Veterans Affairs Department to distribute marketing materials to the community.

The first two clinics provided opportunities for two injured service members from the Phoenix area. The following session in Tucson provided an opportunity for three injured service members. The remaining three clinics scheduled for Tucson and Phoenix anticipate an increase to four veterans per session and have received the registration forms to confirm the four individual’s participation in the next two sessions. The individuals have been offered support for transportation but have not utilized the accessible transportation for the clinics. Due to the low participation numbers, the individuals have been able to bring a friend or family member along with them on the kayaking and cycling clinics. The program has been extremely beneficial for family members to enjoy the adaptive experiences together. An injured serviceman and his girlfriend joined the first session at Tempe Town Lake and she stated, “The clinic has opened his eyes to what he CAN do instead of what he CANNOT do. He is now encouraged to be more active on a daily basis.” The veteran rented a cycle from the MASD program and continues to bike with his girlfriend weekly.

Each participant has been encouraged to continue to participate in adaptive programs in the community. The two individuals that reside in the Phoenix area have continued to participate in the MASD adaptive programs including archery, cycling, and track and field. The two individuals have also been accepted to participate in the Military Camp for track and field hosted by the US Paralympics at the Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix from May 2-6 and will then compete in archery, cycling, and track and field competition at the 2011 Desert Challenge Games from May 6-8 in Mesa, Arizona. The individuals in the Tucson area have been provided with a resource list of adaptive opportunities in their area, although the opportunities are more limited than the Phoenix area. The Tucson individuals are encouraged to join the weekly programs in the Phoenix area and all three are considering the option to participate in the 2011 Desert Challenge Games in Mesa this May. All individuals that participate in Operation Pedal Paddle will remain on the registration list for the Tour de Tucson cycling event in Tucson next fall as well as the registration list for the weekly cycling and kayaking programs provided by MASD from August through December.

Joe Underwood named "Comeback Student Athlete of the Week"

Article from AZ Central - October 2010:

Everything you need to know about Joe Underwood is summarized quite effectively by Joe himself: "Just because I'm in a wheelchair, I still find a way to do anything people tell me I can't do."

It's a mantra by which the 14-year-old Desert Vista High School freshman lives every day of his life. Despite living with spina bifida - a birth defect where the spinal cord doesn't form properly - Joe is an active teen who competes as a swimmer (he even completed the 1.4-mile Alcatraz swim) and on the court in a wheelchair basketball league.

Joe's legs are paralyzed from the condition and by age 8 he had already endured 11 surgeries to alleviate some of the symptoms caused by the spina bifida.

"I feel like every swimmer has some sort of setback," says Joe's swimming coach Megan Harden. "Every swimmer - whether they're abled or disabled - and he can't use his legs."

But that hasn't kept Joe from excelling in his sports of choice. In the swimming pool, Joe has qualified for and is competing at the U.S. and CanAm Paralympic swim meets for the honor of representing the United States at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. On the basketball court, Joe has started every game for the Junior Wheelchair Suns basketball team since he was 11.

He takes care of business in the classroom, where Joe maintains a 3.5 grade point average, and also makes a point to mentor other kids with paraplegia. THAT IS WHY HE IS THE COMEBACK STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE WEEK!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Team USA placed 4th overall at the IPC Athletics World Championships

Team USA collected 34 medals (9 gold, 10 silver, 15 bronze), placing fourth overall in total medals won at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. China was first with 58 medals, Great Britiain was second with 38 medals and Russia was third with 35 medals.

More than 1,000 athletes from 70 countries participated in the event from January 22-30. Team USA included 50 athletes from all over the country.

"I'm very pleased with the performance of all our athletes at these world championships," said head coach Cathy Sellers. "The number of personal best times and distances we had here shows that we're improving and we've built a solid base for the launch toward the 2012 Paralympic Games in London."

Complete results can be found at the official web site of the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships, www.ipcathleticsworldchamps.com, and online broadcast coverage of the event can be found at www.ParalympicSport.tv.

AZ Heat track team at ASU Baldy Castillo Invitational

Arizona Heat track athletes compete in the 100 Meter Track event at the 2011 Baldy Castillo Invitational at ASU. The results are as follows:

1st - Erik Hightower - 14.76
2nd - Troy Davis - 15.57
3rd - Stephen Binning - 16.75
4th - Lamar Ryberg - 16.88
5th - Arturo Torres - 16.97
6th - David Ryberg - 17.60

The next competition for the AZ Heat track team will be the 2011 Desert Challenge Games at Red Mountain High School on Saturday, May 7th, 2011. Visit www.desertchallengegames.com for a full event schedule.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PowerBlast Power Soccer Tournament

Arizona Disabled Sports hosted the 2011 PowerBlast Power Soccer Tournament at ASU Student Recreation Complex and PE West Gymnasium from Friday, March 4th to Sunday, March 6th. Eight teams participated in the tournament including Arizona Heat 3rd Degree, Arizona Heat 2nd Degree, ASU Sun Devils, Santa Barbara Rollin' Gauchos, Circle City Rollers, RHI Sudden Impact of Indianapolis, Massachusetts Hospital Schools Chariots and Glendale Rough Riders.

The ASU Sun Devils took 3rd place, RHI Sudden Impact 2nd place and the tournament champions were the Circle City Rollers. The tournament MVP is Joey Wells of the Glendale Rough Riders and the Sportsmanship award was presented to Bill Balles of the Santa Barbara Rollin' Gauchos.

AZ Heat track team at ASU Invitational Meet

AzDS Track Team had another successful track meet at the Arizona State Invitation on Saturday, March 26th. Results as follows:

100 Meters:
1) Erik Hightower – 14.76
2) Troy Davis – 15.73
3) Zach Abbott (U of A) – 16.25
4) Lamar Ryberg – 17.16
5) Stephen Binning – 17.18
6) Arturo Torres (U of A) – 17.22
7) David Ryberg – 18.37
8) Mason Odom – 20.30
9) Ben Swanson – 20.81

200 Meters:
1) Erik Hightower – 27.74
2) Troy Davis – 30.27
3) Lamar Ryberg – 30.70
4) Zach Abbott (U of A) – 32.67
5) Arturo Torres (U of A) – 33.85
6) Stephen Binning – 34.00
7) David Ryberg – 36.47
8) Mason Odom – 38.80
9) Ben Swanson – 39.36

AzDS Track Team at the AZ Distance Classic Half Marathon

The AzDS Track Team took to the streets at the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon in Tucson on Sunday, March 27th. The results as follows:

Racing Chair Division
1. Jordan Bird (U of A) – 51:45
2. Shirley Reilly (U of A) – 53:47
3. Grant Berthiaume (U of A) – 56:01
4. Zach Abbott (U of A) – 1:04:46
5. Lamar Ryberg (AzDS) – 1:06:14
6. Mason Odom (AzDS) – 1:16:57
7. Stephen Binning (AzDS) – 1:23:52

Handcycle Division
1. Sean Eres (U of A) – 53:25
2. Derek Brown (U of A) – 53:26
3. Troy Davis (AzDS) – 53:40
4. Steven Klorer (U of A) – 1:02:33
5. Art Odom (AzDS) – 1:26:51

SkiAble Adaptive Alpine Experience

WOW! Another fantastic event with yet again epic snow conditions for Northern Arizona. Sunny, blue skies and 50-60 degree weather proved to be the winning ticket to an excellent SkiAble Adaptive Alpine Experience in 2011. We saw a lot of new faces this season who came up to learn a new sport, feel the freedom of skiing and push themselves to another level. We were also fortunate enough to see some old friends and many spent their day showing off their skills. Twenty-four athletes were able to ski with us this year including 2 Wounded Warriors. Hopefully we will see you out there next season!

All of this could not have been possible without 9 instructors, 8 volunteers and all of the supports from attendees. AzDS would like to extend our warmest thanks to the Johnson family of 9 Pines Motel for being so accommodating and friendly while working with our group. We would also like to thank Fresh n Easy Neighborhood Market for donation all of the food and snacks for SkiAble 2011. Thank you to all of the athletes, family members and friends who came to enjoy some downhill fun! And a special thank you to our fearless and always knowledgeable instructors from the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (BOEC) from Colorado. Become a fan of AzDS on Facebook and check out some of the pictures from this year’s event!

Arizona Paralympic Experience - Track, Field and Archery

AzDS hosted the Arizona Paralympic Day at Mesa High School on January 15th, 2011. This was an incredible opportunity for new comers from around the Valley and state to get a taste of a new sport or fine tune their current skills. We couldn’t have asked for a better day for 13 new athletes come learn about a new sport and meet some former Paralympians from the Valley. AzDS welcomed 2 members of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) at the event to learn more about grants and financial aid for adaptive sporting equipment as well. Thank you CAF!

Season Updates

Arizona Disabled Sports is excited to announce that 21 new athletes from all over the Valley and Southern Arizona have joined us this spring season! Programs have grown exponentially and we are thrilled to have everyone participating. This spring, the AZ Heat track team is participating in 6 track competitions in both Tucson and Phoenix, not to mention the Arizona Distance Classic Half Marathon. They sure are making a name for the AZ Heat! The Junior Suns Wheelchair Basketball team is young and building a team to watch in the coming seasons! Look out West Coast teams! We are also proud to say that the AzDS power soccer teams are traveling the nation...the AZ Heat power soccer team will be attending a regional tournament in Santa Barbara, CA this April and the ASU Sun Devil power soccer team will be representing AzDS at the Premier Conference Cup tournament in Georgia this June.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Junior Suns host 4th Annual Arizona JV Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

On December 11-12, 2010 over fifty players and coaches came to compete in the 4th Annual Arizona Wheelchair Basketball Tournament for a weekend of competition in Mesa at the Broadway Recreation Center. Competing teams were your home town Banner Wheelchair Suns, BORP Bay Cruisers (Berkely, CA), Denver Junior Nuggets and Utah Junior Jazz. This tournament is sponsored by the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association and hosted by Arizona Disabled Sports.

Now on to the action as the Jazz would play the Bay Cruisers in the first game. The Jazz won 46 – 39 with Blakley scoring 22 and Heslop adding 12 for the Jazz. James Bohnett had 21 for BORP. The Banner Wheelchair Suns played host to Denver Nuggets in game 2. The Nuggets easily handled the rebuilding Suns 45 – 29. Ryan had 23 and Dyuante with 12 for the Nuggets. Rachael Kroener had 16 and Stephen Binning added 13 in a losing effort. The 3rd game of the day the Suns played inspired basketball but fell to BORP 55 to 24. Stephen Binning and Rachael Kroener each had 10 points for the Suns. BORP was led by Rodriquez 22 and Bohnett 17. The afternoon 2 PM game the young Jazz handled the Nuggets 58 to 32. Blakley led the way for the Jazz with 22 points and Ryan had 18 for the Nuggets. Game 6 the Suns would face the Jazz. The Jazz Blakley led all scorers with 19 and Stephen Binning had 14 in a losing effort for the Sun. Jazz 61 Suns 26. The last game on Saturday the Nuggets faced the Bay Cruisers. The Cruisers started out strong and never looked back for a 45 to 26 victory. James Bohnett had 25 for BORP and Ryan had 18 for Denver.

Early Sunday morning play had Denver and Utah facing off. The game was close through out with the Jazz pulling away in the final minutes for a 49 to 40 victory. Blakley led the Jazz with 29 and Lindsay adding 10. Ryan had 21for the Nuggets. Sundays second game the Suns lost to the BORP Bay Cruisers 54 to 18. BORP was led by Rodriquez with 26 and Rachael Kroener had 10 for the Suns.

The last game Sunday was for the Championship between the Jazz and Bay Cruisers. This was the best game of the tournament as neither team could establish any kind of led. The score changed by the minute with the score tied at the end of regulation play. Five minutes were added to the clock and into overtime play continued. After four minutes and the score still tied it was apparent who had the ball last would win. This game did come down to the last seconds with the Jazz sinking the last basket for a 60 to 58 Championship win. The Champion Jazz was led in scoring by Tournament MVP Sam Blakley with 17. Second place BORP was led by James Bohnett with 36 points. Denver would finish in third place. The Junior Suns Chandler Goetz was voted the tournament Sportsmanship Award.

The Banner Wheelchair Suns would like to thank Arizona Disabled Sports and the Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association for their efforts to make this a truly great experience for all involved. Many of these players will one day receive college wheelchair basketball scholarships. This is possible because of tournaments like this to display and build these young athletes skills. THANK YOU!