Three youth wheelchair basketball teams sponsored by Courage Center competed in national tournaments in their respective divisions during March. The participants, both boys and girls, range in age from 8 to 18.
The teams include the Rolling Rowdies, the youngest team, which played in Peoria, IL, March 10-12, 2006; the Courage Lightning, a junior varsity team, competed in Omaha, NE, March 17-19, 2006; and the Minnesota Junior Rolling Timberwolves, the varsity squad, which has qualified for the national tournament that was hosted in Houston on March 24-26, 2006.
“We are so excited that all three of our youth basketball teams will compete at the national level,” said Sharon Van Winkel, program director for Courage Center’s Sports and Recreation Program. “The teams began practicing last August and just concluded their seasons. Just like the college teams, we have our own March Madness.”
The Junior Rolling Timber-wolves, ranked fourth in the nation and with nine players, will make its 13th consecutive trip to compete at nationals. Sixteen teams are invited to the annual varsity championship based on wins and standings at regional and conference events. The Junior Rolling Timberwolves team is coached by Dan Price, George Kiefner, Zac Nieman and Steve Roller, and is managed by Courage Youth Sports President Jeff Downes and Janelle Spoken from the Courage Sports and Recreation staff.
Junior Rolling Timber-wolves players, who are all in high school, include Charles Aoki, Minneapolis; Sarah Binsfeld, Vadnais Heights; Evan Carlson, Champlin; Connor Downes, Rosemount; Ben Kenyon, Minnetonka; Matt Simmons, Apple Valley; Josh Scanlon, Delano; Kasey Stelter, Kasota; and Kyle Timmerman, Minneota.
The teams practice at the Courage Center gymnasium located at the facility in Golden Valley. Coaches for the Courage Lightning and Rolling Rowdies teams include Kiefner, Bob Dolan, Elizabeth Pond, Jennifer Clarke, Rick Story and Tim Thode. Benilde St. Margaret students and basketball players Joe Jensen and Charles Moore are assistant coaches of the Rowdies.
For more information, visit www.courage.org