Wheelchair Sports Federation
34th Annual Wheelchair Softball National Championship Print E-mail
Written by Peter Quartuccio   



Nebraska Continues Their Wheelchair Softball Dominance, Winning Their 4th Consecutive Division I National Championship


FLUSHING, NY—They were challenged early and often, but the Nebraska Barons finished this past Saturday, August 21st where they have the previous 4 years: at the very top.  The Barons were among 14 teams from several states that competed in the 34th Annual National Wheelchair Softball Tournament, a 3-day event that took place at Citifield, home of the New York Mets, who also acted as one of the tournament’s major sponsors.  Nebraska’s squad was a veritable all-star team, with seven of their ten starting players (John Morse, Greg Suing, Paul Krabbenhoft, Doug Bargman, Lance Perez, Brent Rasmussen, and Matt Johnson) being named to the Division I All-Tournament team, and short fielder Johnson winning MVP honors thanks to his clutch play.  With their most recent Championship, Nebraska has solidified its status as a true dynasty in the sport, laying claim to 6 titles in the last 8 years.  While no opponent was a pushover, Nebraska’s two greatest challenges came from Chicago: the RIC Cubs from the Northern Chicago and the Midwest Flyers from the South Side.  Each proved to be worthy adversaries; the Flyers gave what ended up being Nebraska’s sole loss in the tournament, beating the Barons 11-9 in the first day of competition thanks to some late-inning heroics by the Flyers’ Jimmy Jackson.  Nebraska, however, showed the heart and grit of a true champion, bouncing back and winning their final three games—all of which were tightly played and hotly contested—including a rematch win over the Flyers and two consecutive victories against the Cubs on the final day of the tournament to win the Division I National Championship.


            In Division II, the Rolling Red Sox took home the Championship, going undefeated in the Consolation Division bracket.  Like the Barons, they too had a multitude of All-Tournament performers: George Norton, Bill Hannigan, Greg Dutram, Bill Hill, Ron Gendron, and Mac Williams were all named to the Division II All-Tournament squad.  Other Division II standouts included Eddie Jorge and Joe Mendez of the New York Mets, Pat Driver of the North Carolina Tar Wheels, and Nate Miller, Jay Baker, and Nate Hintz of the WPVA Warhawks, the latter of whom received the Division II Most Valuable Player award.  At the post-tournament banquet, several awards were distributed, including two new inductees into the National Wheelchair Softball Association Hall of Fame: Jeff Gustafson of the Courage Rolling Twins and Kurt Smith of the RIC Cubs.  Both Gustafson and Smith have had highly decorated careers, both of whom are Division I National Champions, MVP award winners, and multiple All-Tournament team selections.  Victor Calise richly deserved his George Kiefner Jr. Volunteer Award, as there was nary an activity in which he was not involved, and did everything possible to ensure that all went smoothly.

Thank you to all of the sponsors who made this terrific tournament possible, and congratulations to the Nebraska Barons and Rollin' Red Sox, and to all of the athletes. 

            For more photos  go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/48379941@N06/sets/72157624738166117/ courtesy of Carter Farmer.  

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 September 2010 18:12
Written by Administrator   




Top Wheelchair Athletes in the World to Compete on 14 Teams From Across the Country;

Many Men and Women Are Wounded Veterans, Paralympic Medalists


Citi Field is the First Major League Baseball Venue to Host the Championships;

First Time Tournament Will Be Played in New York


FLUSHING, N.Y., August 18, 2010 – The New York Mets, the Wheelchair Sports Federation, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation today announced the 34th Annual National Wheelchair Softball Tournament will take place Thursday, Friday, Saturday August 19-21 at Citi Field, marking the first time a Major League Baseball ballpark has hosted the event.


The top wheelchair athletes from around the world will compete on 14 teams from across the country.   Many of the men and women playing in the tournament are veterans who were wounded in battle, and many have competed and won medals at the Paralympics.


The Mets sponsor a Queens wheelchair softball team of their namesake, and have teamed up with the Wheelchair Sports Federation to host the Major League Baseball Wheelchair Softball tournament for the past nine years.  This year’s National Championship will mark the first time the event has been played in New York.


“We’re proud to be a part of this inspiring and historic competition, the first time the best wheelchair softball athletes in the country are competing at a Major League Baseball venue,” said Jeff Wilpon, Mets COO.  “The Mets throughout the year support wheelchair softball in New York as part of our ongoing community outreach efforts, and we salute the Wheelchair Sports Federation and United Spinal Association for their efforts in our hometown and nationally.”


“Having the best Adaptive Athletes in the United States come to New York City and compete is a great honor and we are happy to be a part of this historic event and look forward to many more." said John Hamre, President, Wheelchair Sports Federation.


Mets sponsors Pepsi, Dunkin’ Donuts, Modell’s, Subway and Wise all have donated their products to help feed and equip the more than 300 men and women participating in the tournament.  More than 50 volunteers – many from the New York City Office of Emergency Management – will donate their time to help run the event.


The Mets, Wheelchair Sports Federation and NYC Department of Parks are coordinating the tournament in conjunction with the National Wheelchair Softball Federation, and Major League Baseball.


Teams will compete for the Division I and Division II National Championship in a double-elimination tournament played in the Citi Field parking lots.  The semi-finals and finals will take place Saturday, August 21 followed by an awards banquet.  The event is free and open to the public.

The following are the teams competing for the national title:


  • Columbus Pioneers (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Confluence Center Coast Tar Wheels (Indian Trail, North Carolina)
  • Courage Rolling Twins (Brooklyn Park, Minnesota)
  • Nebraska Barons (Omaha, Nebraska)
  • Midwest Flyers (Dolton, Illinois)
  • MPVA Flamethrowers (Duluth, Minnesota)
  • Nassau Aviators (Nassau County, New York)
  • New York Mets (Flushing, New York)
  • New York Yankees (Bronx, New York)
  • RIC Cubs (Chicago, Illinois)
  • Rollin Red Sox (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • Shepherd Sluggers (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Tampa Bay Rays (Tampa, Florida)
  • WPVA Warhawks (Waukesha, Wisconsin)

All games will take place in Citi Field parking lots F and D. Teams will play Thursday, August 19 and Friday, August 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


On Saturday, August 21, the semifinals begin at 9:00 a.m. followed by the championship game at 11:00 a.m.




#  #  #


For more information contact:

Danielle Sessa Parillo                                              John Hamre

Director, Communications                                       Wheelchair Sports Federation

New York Mets                                                       917-519-2622

(718) 565-4354                                                        This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 September 2010 18:08
Adaptive Rowing in NY Print E-mail
Written by John Hamre   

Adaptive Rowing Day in New York City


Row New York established an Adaptive Rowing Program this summer after receiving a grant from NYU to purchase some adaptive equipment for their boats.  In July 2010, Row New York hosted the Wounded Warrior Project and Wheelchair Sports Federation to an introduction to Adaptive Rowing at Lake Meadow at Flushing Meadows Corona Park NY.  Adaptive Athletes included 2008 Beijing Adaptive Rowing Bronze Medalist, Laura Schwanger and adults and kids from the New York area.


After warming up on some converted Concept 2 indoor rowing equipment.   The athletes boarded the 8 seat row boat with special adapted seating with straps for stability.  The volunteers of Row New York then took the boat out and gave instructions of the proper techniques on rowing.  Under the hot sun, all the athletes found it to be challenging and fun.  With some practice and some more instruction, the Wheelchair Sports Federation hopes to have a competitive Adaptive Rowing Team that can travel and compete in places like Boston, MA and Philadelphia, PA.


For more information about Adaptive Rowing, please contact Amanda Kraus, Executive Director of Row New York, 10-27 46th Ave Suite 101, Long Island City, NY 11101, (718) 433-3076, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and check out their website at www.rownewyork.org.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 01:34
Written by John Hamre   


33rd Running of Masonic Fraternity Sponsored Event Easily Ranks Amongst the Best 


SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—Many were on hand as the 33rd Annual Masonic Junior Regional Wheelchair Meet got underway on Saturday, June 5 in South Brunswick, New Jersey.  The event was sponsored by the Masonic Fraternity of New Jersey, and co-sponsored by the Tri-State Wheelchair Athletic Association and Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA.  The meet saw athletes from across the U.S. compete and continue the legacy of sportsmanship and athletic achievement that has been the calling card of the Masonic Junior Regionals for decades.


      As is customary at track and field meets, the events—swimming, weightlifting, table tennis, along with a variety of track and field events—were divided into groups based on gender and class of disability.  Seemingly suffering no ill effects from the sprained ankle sustained at his last meet, Xavier Perez put on an incredible display of strength in the weightlifting competition.  In his weight class of 52 kg (approximately 115 pounds), he lifted a grand total of 235 pounds in his two lifts, which is more than twice Xavier’s own bodyweight, a remarkable feat to be sure.  Alexander Xue also had a terrific meet, shining both in swimming and table tennis.  Miguel Jimenez-Vergara picked up where he left off in Edison at the 40th Annual Tri-State Regional, performing well in swimming and several track events.  As for the female athletes, they were no less impressive.  Caitlin Chaser’s lift total of 185 pounds was tops among all other female competitors, although Jennifer Faes’ 175 was a more than respectable total.  Alexandra Kay excelled in her track events as well as in shotput, javelin, and discus.  Lynne Ganley continued to be at the top of her game, as she carried the success she had at last month’s Tri-State Regional over to the Masonic meet by finishing first in all of her track and field events and posting several strong times in swimming events.

      For more information about this and other adapted sports and events, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org 

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 June 2010 17:08
Written by Peter Quartuccio   



Americans Claim Top Spots at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center


FLUSHING, NY—For the first time in several years, players from the United States finished first in both the Open Singles and Open Doubles division at the 10th Annual Jana Hunsaker Memorial Wheelchair Tennis Tournament in Flushing, Queens.  The four day event, which took place between June 10 and June 13, featured athletes from across the globe, including Canada, Turkey, Japan, and perennial tennis power France, but it was the players from the States who reigned supreme, many of whom reaching the top by upsetting favored foreigners.  Texas native Stephen Welch turned in a tremendous performance at the tournament.  He was seeded 4th in both the Singles and Doubles divisions, but Welch proved to be more than up to the task.  His frozen-rope forehands and vicious slices helped him knock off the top seed en route to his Open Singles championship.  He and his teammate Anthony Anderson faced similarly long odds in the Open Doubles division, as they were pitted against favored competition throughout.  They were undaunted, however, and their victory over the 2nd seeded tandem of Yoshinobu Fujimoto and Masahiro Honma cemented the U.S. sweep.  Americans William Eno, Dylan Baggett, and John Frederic shined as well, and each finished first in the Class A, Class B, and Class C Singles divisions, respectively.  Not to be outdone, USA’s Emmy Kaiser won the Women’s Open Singles title, and added the finishing touch to a Red, White, and Blue-tinged weekend in Queens, NY.


            For more information about adapted sports and events, please visit www.WheelchairSportsFederation.org. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 June 2010 23:42
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