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13th Annual Columbus Collision Wheelchair Rugby Tournament

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13th Annual Columbus Collision Wheelchair Rugby Tournament

The Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO) held the 13th Annual Columbus Collision Wheelchair Rugby Tournament in Columbus, Ohio December 5th and 6th, 2015. As always I first need to give a big thank you to Columbus Therapeutic Recreation and Parks who provides us a great playing facility at Cleo Dumaree Athletic Complex and transportation for the weekend, their support over the years has been much appreciated, not to mention providing staff for the event as well. Anyone who organizes and runs a rugby tournament knows that you can’t do it without the support of the volunteers, thanks to all the students and volunteers who made this event a success. Bob Lopez served as the head referee, did a great job getting referees to Columbus and ran a smooth operation all weekend.

The tournament was full this year and I actually had to turn teams away, the 8 teams that made the trip to Columbus were two Ohio teams, Ohio Blitz and the Akron Rhinos, then Great Lakes Clippers, Grand Rapids Thunder, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelwheelers, WNY Wreckers and the TIRR Texans rounded out the field. Saturday’s action started with #1 seed Great Lakes Clippers beating up on #8 seed WNY Wreckers in game one, #2 seed Grand Rapids Thunder took down the Chicago Bears 49-35, #3 seeded TIRR Texans flexed their muscles and was impressive in their first game beating Pittsburgh pretty good 44-9. The battle of Ohio was next with the Ohio Blitz, led by All-Tournament Team High Pointer, Shawn “Chops” Vogelgesang taking care of the improving Akron Rhinos 45-32. The Grand Rapids Thunder upset the #1 seed Great Lakes Clippers in their second game 62-47 and would finish the day by beating WNY Wreckers 41-25 to finish first in their pool. The Bears and the Wreckers had a pretty close match with the Bears defeating them by 7, 37-31, but got beat in their final game of the day by the Great Lakes Clippers 47-31. The TIRR Texans finished the day 3-0 by beating the Akron Rhinos 43-22 to show that they were ready to see if they could take the title on Sunday. The last game of the day was between the Blitz and the Steelwheelers, the Blitz took care of business, beating a depleted Pittsburgh team 43-22, to round out the day 2-1 and 2nd in their pool. The question for Sunday was could the #1 seed Great Lakes Clippers rebound from their day one loss, they will be matched up against the powerful and well balanced TIRR Texans on Sunday.

Day two cross over games started with the Rhinos taking down the Wreckers 55-42 and the Bears handling their business against the Steelswheelers 49-29. Could the Clippers take down the Texans to get into the finals, no, the Texans, led by Tournament MVP, Eric Ingram and All-Tournament Team Best Low-Pointer, James Debose proved too much for the Clippers winning 47-33 to cruise into the finals. The Blitz gave their best shot at taking down the Thunder, keeping it close after one quarter down just 13-12, but the Thunder lead by, 3.5, Lars Merten would open it up and win 58-39 to get into the final against the Texans. The 7th place game was between the Wreckers and the Steelwheelers, the Wreckers took control in took 7th place winning 44-32. The 5th place game was between the Rhinos and the Bears, the Bears are much improved with the addition of a couple new players and would win 53-37 to place 5th overall. The 3rd place game matched up the home town team, the Blitz against the Clippers and All-Tourney Team Best Mid-Pointer, Eric Chase, but the Blitz didn’t have enough to slow down the Clippers losing 53-41. The final was set, matching up the well balanced Texans against the Thunder, the Texans jumped out to a 6-0 start and the first quarter end at 10-3, The Texans kept the intensity up ending the half up 23-12. The Thunder had no answer for the Texans and the Texans won the title 50-30. The TIRR Texans showed all the teams from up North how to play some rugby and took home the title at the 13th Annual Columbus Collision. Congrats to the Texans, great job guys!

The final standings looked like this, 1. TIRR Texans, 2. Grand Rapids Thunder, 3. Great Lakes Clippers, 4. Ohio Blitz, 5. Chicago Bears, 6. Akron Rhinos, 7. WNY Wreckers and 8. Pittsburgh Steelwheelers. All- Tournament Team was led by MVP, Eric Ingram (Texans), Best Higher-Pointer was Shawn “Chops’ Vogelgesang (Ohio), Best Mid-Pointer, Eric Chase (Great Lakes) and Best Low-Pointer James Debose (Texans).

Once again it was a great tournament with some great rugby in the Heartland, thanks again to all the players, referees, Columbus Recreation Staff and especially to the volunteers that continue to make this tournament a success.

By: Brett Harbage

January 7, 2016 — 3:08am