The Grand Rapids Junior Pacers Prep Team traveled to Denver, Colo., April 10 and 11 to take part in the 2010 National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships. The team came home with the national runner-up trophy, with the national champion Bay Area Rollers (San Francisco) team barely squeaking by.
The Jr. Pacers took first place at the 2010 Midwest Conference championships.
“It’s always great to see the kids improve their game as the season progresses. This year each player made significant improvement and that was evident by their showing at the national championships in Denver,” said assistant coach Mike Totte. “We need to build on this year’s success and make another run at a national championship next year.”
Team members include CJ Blackwell (East Kellogsville Elementary), Shane Brewer (Pine Island Elementary, Comstock Park), Tanner Gentry (Campbell Elementary, Muskegon), Thomas Konor (East Grand Rapids High School), Codey Minard (Tri-County Middle School, Pierson), Oksana Parmenter (Sand Lake Elementary), Alex Totte (Hayes Middle School, Grand Ledge), and Natalie Wright (Appleview Elementary, Sparta).
Twelve-year veteran, Coach Pat Besta, also plays with the Pacers adult wheelchair team. Totte also serves on the Grand Rapids Wheelchair Sports Association (GRWSA) board.
The Junior Pacers are sponsored by GRWSA, a nonprofit organization designed to help children and adults whose various physical challenges require them to use a wheelchair to play competitive and recreational sports. The Jr. Pacers Wheelchair Basketball teams are open to any physically disabled youngster who is school age, kindergarten to high school senior.