The Minnesota Wheelchair Rugby Club, also known as the Steelheads, entered the 2015-16 season full of excitement, but unsure of what the season would hold. The choice was made by the team to not import a player after a few straight years of doing so. With a entirely home grown roster, Minnesota hoped to have a successful season in Divison 1 rugby tournaments, and at Nationals.
The first half of the season saw the Steelheads head out to San Diego for the Best of the West tournament, and down to St. Louis as well. San Diego proved to be a challenging weekend, as the Steelheads lost their U.S. national team athlete, Chuck Aoki for the weekend, yet still battled their way to a sixth place finish. St. Louis went better, as Minnesota took down both St. Louis and a newer Kansas City team, in securing their first tournament win of the season.
The second half of the USQRA season saw Minnesota head down to both Lakeshore and the Ability 360 Center, in Birmingham and Phoenix, respectively. Due to a slightly odd scheduling quirk, the Steelheads finished 5th in Birmingham, despite a better record at the tournament then teams ahead of them. The team ran iron man all weekend in Birmingham, a testament to the training their athletes had put in all season. Phoenix saw the Steelheads take 4th place, a slight improvement on the previous tournament, in addition to the beautiful weather.
USQRA postseason is largely an unknown for the Steelheads at this point. Their 3.5, Chuck Aoki, will not be attending Nationals, and as such, they will be playing without him at their sectional tournament as well. The preparation they gained in San Diego, however, should allow them to be successful in both Sectionals and Nationals. As another USQRA season heads towards its conclusion, the Steelheads