Adaptive Athletics relishing success

Warhawks honing skills and achieving goals

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Adaptive Athletics relishing success

Drew Selz takes a shot during basketball practice as his teammates jockey for position on the rebound.

Drew Selz takes a shot during basketball practice as his teammates jockey for position on the rebound.

Dane Sheehan

Drew Selz takes a shot during basketball practice as his teammates jockey for position on the rebound.

Dane Sheehan

Dane Sheehan

Drew Selz takes a shot during basketball practice as his teammates jockey for position on the rebound.

Carter Secor, Staff Reporter

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When most people think of the location of traditionally successful athletic programs on UW-Whitewater’s campus, minds usually go to the football team that practices at Perkins Stadium. But, there is an equally successful program practicing inside the Roseman Building, and they are getting ready to compete for another championship.

The Whitewater Men’s Wheelchair basketball team practices in Roseman Gym everyday starting at 6:30 a.m. During these practices they hone their skills in a game that while very similar to traditional basketball, has key differences.

“Really the only difference is the equipment that we use,” said Jeremy Lade, head coach of the Men’s Team. “We’re playing basketball using a wheelchair to get up and down the floor, but all the rules are basically the same thing. The big difference is the rules associated with dribbling, you’re allowed to push twice and then you have to dribble once before you push a third time.”

Honing skills and proficiency is not the only thing the Warhawks are looking to do in these practices. They are also preparing and looking forward to the start of the season, which kicks off at the tournament hosted by Southern Minnesota State University on Oct. 25.

“I think you always have some excitement going in,” said Lade. “You don’t quite know what the product is going to look on the floor until you start battling against other teams. The nice part is it’s early in the season so if you get any losses then you try to use them all as learning experiences.”

The goal for this team is winning the championship, something they haven’t achieved since 2016. “Ultimately all these games are going to be part of our building block to be the team we want to be,” said Lade.

But that goal will be easier said than done. The competition will be fierce, and the Warhawks will have to adapt.

“There’s always five or six teams at the top of the division that are really competing,” said Lade. “All the teams are a lot closer in terms of matchup. Even the teams you wouldn’t call top tier teams can give any of the top teams a run at any given time.”

Beyond winning games, tournaments and championships, The Wheelchair Basketball team also does a lot for the members on the team themselves. Like junior Brian Wofford, and sophomore Ryan Glatchak, who both have physical disabilities preventing them from able-bodied sports.

For Glatchack, Wheelchair basketball allows him to be on a sports team and experience all that comes with it.

“I’ve been around the sport for my whole life, but I didn’t start playing until I was 13 when I had multiple reconstructive foot surgeries which stopped me from playing able-bodied sports.” said Glatchack. “I love it a lot. It’s got that team aspect that I miss from able-bodied sports. And in my opinion, it’s harder than able-bodied sports because there are so many intricacies and obstacles that you have to overcome.

For Wofford, Wheelchair basketball is an aid to his recovery from injuries suffered in Iraq while he was in the military.

“I’m a disabled vet, and I got exposed to wheelchair basketball doing a veterans only trip and fell in love immediately,” said Wofford. “It’s a huge, huge part of my physical and mental recovery from my injuries.”

Beyond helping the members of the team, the program also makes an effort to do outreach and education about disabilities and how to live with them.

“Our disability awareness presentation is called ‘Cornerstones for Success’,” Said Lade. “It’s a fantastic way for us to get the word out about adaptive athletics and try to help break down some of the stereotypes that are associated with having a disability.”

With the season fast approaching, Coach Lade and his team will embark on a long run to hopefully another championship season. While their first tournament is in Southern Minnesota, they will have a tournament at UW-Whitewater on November 22 and 23 where they will face off against seven other teams from around the country, including the defending national champion University of Alabama team.