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Team USQRA

Team Force

The 2016/2017 Season is sponsored by:
Eagle Sportschairs / Fusion Medical / Melrose USA
 
The USQRA is looking for sponsors for the 2016/2017 Season. Contact vp2@quadrugby.com for information


 Follow Team USQRA's experience at Maximus in Brazil:

Team USQRA Blog 


 Team USQRA Rio


Rio Wrap Up

Everyone made it home after a crazy week in Rio. I’ll kind of recap the end of the week. Wednesday we played our first game against GB. We were pumped since the previous games were mostly low point lineups against the developing countries. I believe they started with Troye, Andrew, Coggan, and a 2.5 we call “Shoulders.” We ran the 3, 2, 1.5, 1.5 for the first quarter and it was tight, I think we got a turnover but they ended up getting a jump and capitalizing to tie. Everything slipped away and I think we lost by 10 or so. It wasn’t what we wanted but keep in mind they subbed Shoulders for another Paralympian, Manny, the rest of the game. All of our guys got quality minutes and got to feel intense elite level rugby which will help build what is to come in the future for us. That was our only game so we got to leave the compound and go to Copacabana beach for the rest of the day. We unloaded out of the bus and sprinted to the closest restaurant. Everyone gorged on pizza after living off rice, beans, and noodles for the previous few days. It was an overcast cool day at the beach but we saw some crazy sandcastles and picked up some tourist stuff. 

Our next 3 games we mixed up teams with Argentina, Brazil, and Columbia to balance everything out. I think these teams really learned a lot throughout the week and we all let them hop in our chairs and use some of our equipment. Athletic tape, duct tape, tubes and tires are highly valued commodities in South America. The majority of these guys were literally taped up with clear packing tape. Instead of throwing out popped tubes like we do…they have a guy that patches them. Our guys gave them plenty of equipment we had leftover at the end of the week. Again, this was a week that made us all appreciate where we come from and the simple luxuries we have in life.

Friday afternoon was game two against GB. It was an invaluable experience to build on and a roller coaster of emotions from start to finish but everyone kept their chin up. We all endured the experience as a team while the GB developing players watched their veterans from the bench. If any of us make it to London in 2012, Rio will definitely be the start of the fire. After our last game, the place got rowdy…it was the final Argentina/Brazil game. John Bishop said this place was literally louder than Athens, you will find that the fans from Argentina like to beat the hell out of metal spokeguards with steel shanks to make noise!! Argentina won the first game in this heated rivalry so Brazil came out strong. Argentina got the bronze due to point differential but Brazil got the W! The closing ceremony was a show…from wheelchair dancers to local music, everyone celebrated and had a great time. 

We had a late flight out of Rio on Saturday so we got to hang out by the pool all day and relax. The bus got packed and we said our goodbyes to the great Brazilian people who hosted us. Flights were long but good and everyone got home in time for Father’s Day. We’ve got about a month until we’ll meet up at Lakeshore again. A big thanks to our coaches, staff, and everyone else out there for making this happen!


Up and Rolling

So despite some missed flights and detours everyone made it to Miami and we ended up leaving MIA around 2:00 a.m. Me, Newby, Wheeler, Odie, Timo, and Burgler got bumped to first class. We had reclining chair/beds…shrimp, lamb medallions, grilled chicken, sundaes and probably some other good stuff I forgot. I slept the whole time and the others watched movies and game film. The rest of the team and staff were in the back and we’re not real sure how their rides were J. We landed in Rio close to noon on Saturday. The whole customs process was pretty quick and the people helped get us through quick. Everyone’s chairs got here in one piece. Flea’s luggage didn’t show up so that was the only real drama, good thing he had an extra Jay back on his day chair that Sue swapped out for him.

We loaded all the equipment in an old beater Mercedes van and piled into a bus. The ride from the airport to the facility was an eye-opening experience. We passed through shanty towns and places none of us could imagine living in. Saw packs of dog gangs, at least a dozen soccer games going on, people passing in shoulders, everything was green and tropical. When we got to the facility the first thing we noticed was the crazy triple switchback ramp going from the dorms to the court. It’s so ridiculous that they have a van carrying people all day from bottom to top, of course we’ve all scaled it a few times. The rooms work, we have four or five guys to a room. The first night we had quite an ant population and even a leach. The meals are all the same but they get us fed, if black beans and rice weren’t your thing….they are now. Thanks G for stressing the “fill your bags with food.” We pushed a bit Saturday night before bed and it was all good, no damaged equipment.

Sunday was devoted to helping some of the developing teams out with their game. Argentina and Brazil can get it going but I think Columbia found us most beneficial. Troy instructed and Gabe was the hands-on translator. Seven of us were classified with a couple possible advantageous outcomes in the works. It was a half day event but in the end we had some newly educated international classifiers. We practiced for a couple of hours and then lineups looked better than ever. GB has a few paralympians here but we will definitely be a force. Flea’s luggage showed up and he was like a giddy little school girl. The nights have been real chilly so several of us purchased some sick Brazilian Rugby jackets.

This morning we started the day with opening ceremonies and a gift exchange. It was nice but long since the star spangled banner was the quickest of the anthems. The South American countries’ anthems were upbeat and really different. John Bishop gave a speech and was recognized for being a big part of the IWRF. His work and advocacy for the sport is why rugby is growing so fast. Well more updates to come…gonna go grab lunch and a nap before we play Columbia at 5:00.

P.S.- Not a cloud in the sky and in the 80s…nice winter!

Lando, Trav, Burgler


 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Here we go!

 
A little over two months ago most of us left it all out on the court in Louisville to end another great season of rugby. Shortly after, 12 of us emerged from a group of developing young talent to form the second edition of Team USQRA. Now we are a few days away from our first tastes of Brazilian barbeque and international rugby. Everyone is extremely stoked.

At our first camp we meshed and became a team, Troy and Sue put together multiple lineups that all work well. You probably wonder how this is even possible with little time and preparation. The simple fact is we are all here for the same reason: to work, learn, and bring our game to an elite level. That’s the best and easiest way to describe it. In club level rugby, you have your weekend warriors, your old guys, your elite players, and some rookies. It can be challenging to get everyone on the same page. In our case with Team USQRA, everyone has the same goals, level of play, and commitment, so the possibilities are endless.

Gabe and Newby are our fearless leaders that were pretty much unanimously chosen. In my opinion it’s like the brain and the poster boy, Gabe probably has the best court awareness and knowledge of the game while Newby is the stereotypical young, hard-working, developing rugger. A little about the rest of us…Travis and I are the other low pointers. Travis is a young up-and-coming picker from the U of A system with great speed and a sick bump. I’m responsible for sending all mid and high pointers home without tubes and tires, unintentional I swear…joking aside, this has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. The 1.5s, Burgler and Scham, these guys work well together. Burgler is our veteran, he went to Rio a few years back and has the most experience. Scham is a beast in a low point chair; quick, soft spoken, but he can lay anyone out. On to the other deuces…Flea, Timo, and Cougar. Flea is very unique, he can defend anyone and rove like nobody’s business..he’s basically our Nick Springer. Timo has the size and the drive, you’ll always hear him on the court or see him posting up. Cougar…I personally saw him a couple of years ago when he came to check out rugby, he was a typical post-rehabber lacking only a helmet and some reflectors on his day chair. He has since found his niche and developed a nice racing stroke. Our high pointers are all very fast. Del’s amp skills are insane, he can muscle through defenders to grab a quick goal and you’ll know when he’s open. Odie handles the ball well and can really use his speed and side-to side to work the ball up court. Wheeler probably has the most endurance, after 9:00 at night when we’re wrapping up a long day of hard work he is still fresh and hauling around the track. Hopefully this gives a brief insight to who we are. Last to recognize but most important, the coaches and staff, none of this would be possible without them. Troy, Sue, Scham(AB), Susan, Paula, Carolyn, Judge, Kris, Gumbie, and the Lakeshore Staff: Thank you all!!

Everyone has been training hard on their own time and the evidence is there. We’ll all meet up in Miami to begin the journey to Rio. Updates will be on the way for sure. Our jerseys say USQRA but everyone knows where we come from and what we represent so the expectation is high and we plan to deliver.

-Landon, 1.0 Team USQRA


 

Team USQRA held their first mini-camp, May 21 – 24 at the home of US wheelchair rugby – the Lakeshore Foundation in Alabama.
Surrounded by legends past, present and future, the team tackled the immense job of being game ready in a short amount of time. Assistant coach Sue Tucker described the task as “daunting” but felt the team and staff were up to the challenge.
With lines being developed and strategy quickly employed it took time to see the benefits of the classroom and 3 session days. However by Saturday leaders were starting to emerge and take the reigns from the coaches. Strong areas of performance were noted in all areas of the game. “I feel a lot better about the team after the camp”, said Head Coach Troy McGuirk on his assessment of the teams progress.
Saturday night was capped off with the selection of team captain’s. Gabe Nyrkkanen and Eric Newby were selected by their team mates to represent them in meetings, competitions, and to work with the staff to ensure clear lines of communication.
As Sunday afternoon approached the final touches were added to the team including a debriefing of what the team could expect traveling, how to prepare for the demands of being an international athlete, and of course international competition. Many questions were asked during the 4 days of work but as the camp closed, all agreed the Team had many more answers and were ready to test their talents on the international stage.
[Team USQRA will play in the Maximus Quad Rugby Open in Rio de Janiero, Brazil]
Team USQRA is a player-funded team. If you are interested in sponsoring or become involved with the Team, contact TeamUSQRA@gmail.com

 


Maximus Quad Rugby Open MMIX
Results

Brazil Quad Rugby website


2 Weeks and Counting . . .

Team USQRA held their first mini-camp, May 21 – 24 at the home of US wheelchair rugby – the Lakeshore Foundation in Alabama.

Surrounded by legends past, present and future, the team tackled the immense job of being game ready in a short amount of time.  Assistant coach Sue Tucker described the task as “daunting” but felt the team and staff were up to the challenge.

With lines being developed and strategy quickly employed it took time to see the benefits of the classroom and 3 session days. However by Saturday leaders were starting to emerge and take the reigns from the coaches. Strong areas of performance were noted in all areas of the game. “I feel a lot better about the team after the camp”, said Head Coach Troy McGuirk on his assessment of the teams progress.  Read more

  


In an effort to keep the US’s competitive edge, the United States Quad Rugby Association recently held tryouts for its national development program, Team USQRA. Held in Birmingham, Alabama at the Lakeshore Foundation, an Olympic and Paralympic training site; 24 athletes gave everything they had over three grueling days in hopes of becoming the next generation of Wheelchair Rugby athletes for the United States.

In the end only 14 athletes were selected, each of who is expected to train hard and attend regular training camps at their expense. Each of the athlete’s goals is the same, to one day represent their country in international competition, and ultimately win a Paralympic Gold medal. With dedication, training and guidance from their coaches, each has the potential of becoming an elite athlete. Team USQRA will be led by a dedicated staff with decades of experience in the sport, and a strong commitment to greatness.