UNITED STATES QUAD RUGBY ASSOCIATION
USQRA Presents Awards at 2007 National Championships
Back in 1998, the United States Quad Rugby Association began publicly recognizing some of it's members for their outstanding achievements within our association. Some of the recipients were given awards based on their athletic abilities, while others were brought forward to highlight their contributions to the sport. This year at the National Awards dinner in Louisville, Kentucky the USQRA recognized three such people.
Hall of Fame
Retired athlete, 2.0 Cliff Chunn is the 14th person inducted into the USQRA's Hall of Fame. Cliff began his illustrious career in rugby in 1993, playing for the Tennessee Quad Crushers at the young age of 14. Fellow teammates Eddie Crouch, Wayne Romero, Lee Moore and others slowly worked Cliff into game situations, and quickly realized the impact he would have on their team, and the sport. In 1995, the Quad Crushers faced two-time defending champions Tampa Generals in Boston, and went on to win the National Championship by a score of 31-29. Chunn was named MVP, and began a new tradition of collecting All Tournament Team awards at every event that he played in.
1996 was a pivotal year for Cliff, when he was named to the 8 man US Wheelchair Rugby squad for the Paralympics in Atlanta, GA. The US captured the Gold, and at the age of 16, Chunn had earned the first of what eventually became 3 Paralympic medals during his career. In 1998, Cliff moved to Birmingham, Alabama to attend college and play with the Lakeshore Demolition. Here he went on to help his team win several consecutive National Championships, and added numerous trophies to his already packed trophy case.
In 2005, Cliff finished off his rugby
playing days back where he first began in Tennessee. Plagued with shoulder
problems and driven to pursue a life away from sport, Cliff is now engaged
to be married, and will sit for his CPA exam this summer. For all of us that
had the pleasure to know and watch this "Tennessee Gentleman" play, Thank
you and Congratulations Cliff. You are a deserving addition to the Hall of
Fame, but will be greatly missed on the rugby court by your friends and
Spirit of Achievement Award
The majority of people who participate in Quad Rugby enjoy the sport as an athlete. And while playing the game is what it's all about, if it weren't for those individuals who have dedicated their time, knowledge and energy to help out, it's doubtful that our sport would be as successful today as it is.
This years Spirit of Achievement Award was presented to Ed Suhr in recognition of his many years of service to the USQRA. Ed began his involvement in rugby in New York as a player for the New York Stryker's, where soon after he became their coach as well. In 1994, he was elected President of the USQRA, and served in this capacity for 10 years. Ed's calm guidance led the membership through many heated discussions at AGM's of the past, when equipment and rules change proposals were almost as prevalent as flat tires are today. During his tenure he brought professional organization to the association, and helped implement many policies and procedures that are still in place today.
Beyond his service as President, Ed has run numerous quad rugby clinics here in the US and beyond, and has been involved in some capacity with every US National team since 1997. In 2005, he was named Assistant Coach of the US Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team, and hopes to help the squad bring home the Gold medal from Beijing in 2008. Today Ed lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife Trisha and twin boys, where he coaches and plays for the Portland Pounders. The USQRA is fortunate to have Ed as one of it assets, and is thankful for the service that he has given, and continues to offer to the sport!
Athlete of the Year Award
Scott Hogsett of the Phoenix Heat was presented with the 2007 USQRA Athlete of the Year Award. Scott began playing rugby 12 years ago in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, and has since dedicated himself to becoming one of the top 1.0 athletes in the world. Known as a fierce and animated competitor, Scott pushes himself, and his teammates to excel on the rugby court.
Back in 2004, Scott was selected to his first US National team and won a Paralympic Bronze medal in Athens, Greece. Last year he was a member of the 2006 US National Team that captured the Gold at World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. With the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing just over a year away, you can bet that Scott will be training hard in hopes of making that squad. Good luck Scott, and congrats on your achievements so far!
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