‘Mr. Wheel Your Girl’ rolls to IM wheelchair basketball championship

Mr. Wheel Your Girl and Lambda Wheelchair A2 battled for the 2017 OSU recreational sports intramural championship this fall.

Stephanie Purkey, Multimedia Contributor

As fall term wraps up at Oregon State University and varsity sports are coming to an end, so too are intramurals, and with that comes wheelchair basketball.

According to Megan Guilfoyle, the sports programs graduate assistant at Recreational Sports, wheelchair basketball is one of the two unique adaptive intramural sports held every year that give every student the opportunity to be involved in more than just the regular sports they see every day.

The season started off with 14 teams. After five rounds of playoffs, including the championship game that took place at Dixon last week, one team now reigns the ultimate victor.

With a final score of 31 to 25, Mr. Wheel Your Girl held on to defeat Lambda Wheelchair A2 for this year’s title.

Connor Rooney, a second-year student and captain of team Lambda Wheelchair A1—the other Lambda team that was knocked out in the semifinals by Mr. Wheel Your Girl, said his role on the team is to bring spirit and morale.

“The sport has definitely brought competition into my life, I’ve never really gotten into any championship games before this, so this is big. I hope to keep it going,” Rooney said.

But with every sport, Rooney recognizes this is more than just a game.

“It means bringing together guys to have some fun on the courts, play some basketball. There’s lots of sportsmanship which is great and the competition is always fun,” Rooney said.

Team player Kyle Leliefeld, a second-year student, said that playing the sport has helped his life in more ways than one.

“It really got me motivated to get a leadership role as like the captain of the team and some confidence on the court,” Leliefeld said. “Last year me and a group of guys just tried it out just for fun basically and ended up really liking it.”

According to Rooney, the game is much different than what people are used to with traditional basketball.

“Well it’s different from regular basketball because you’re using wheelchairs, obviously, it makes it so you can’t walk at all and you’re using your arm strength for every shot every pass. It makes it a lot more difficult and the flow of the game is completely different, it’s a different strategy completely,” Rooney said.

Wheelchair basketball may seem easier than regular basketball, as the teams are required to sit instead of running cross court, but there is much more to that. According to those involved with the sport, the games actually have gotten more intense and competitive throughout the years, becoming more successful and well known each season.

“The sport has had its ups and flows throughout the years,” Guilfoyle said. “When it first started we had many teams out here, the past couple of years it’s been wavering about 10 teams per league, this year we actually jacked it up to 14 teams.”

Guilfoyle encourages students to get involved in intramural sports even if they’re just on the sidelines supporting.

The winter term session for intramural sports includes basketball, bowling, water polo, a soccer tournament and much more. More information on registration will be available at the start of the term.