December 17, 2009 12:00AM
With some of the top ranked teams in the country, the 2nd Annual Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment Gorilla Invitational Wheelchair Basketball Tournament will be held this weekend, December 19-20 at the Student Recreation Center and Kansas National Guard Armory at Pittsburg State University.
The tournament will host eight teams, double the participation of last year, and will include for the first time intercollegiate teams. Games begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19, with the championship game scheduled for 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 21. Also new this year, the championship game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio 1340 AM.
According to Dan Ferguson, professor in the Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Pittsburg serves as an ideal location for this event.
"None of these teams are located close to Pittsburg," said Ferguson. "But the advantage we have is that we are in a centralized location and the new recreation center is an extremely accessible facility."
The tournament is sponsored by Mt. Carmel Medical Equipment, Southeast Kansas Independent Living (SKIL), the PSU Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation, and the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The tournament is free and open to the public, and according to organizers, the event will be an exciting weekend for the sport.
"These games are nearly as fast and just as intense as traditional basketball," said Ferguson, who has been involved with organizing and teaching wheelchair sports since 1984. "Members of these teams have played at all different levels, from junior to international and Paralymics."
Intercollegiate rules will be enforced, with just a few modifications, such as allowing players two pushes of their wheelchair before they have to dribble the ball.
Competing teams include the Kansas Wheelhawks from Topeka, the Kansas City Thunder, the St. Louis Rolling Rams, the Arkansas Rollin' Razorbacks, University of Missouri, Oklahoma State University, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Madonna Magic from Madonna College in Michigan.
For more information, contact Ferguson at (620) 235-4911 or firstname.lastname@example.org.