News: Army wheelchair basketball team takes Warrior Games gold again
Story by Sgt. Jerry Griffis
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The crowd cheered and chanted as the players entered the arena for another exciting night of wheelchair basketball. The Army faced off against the Marines once again during the 2012 Warrior Games May 4, at the United States Air Force Academy. The stake – the coveted gold medal for Warrior Games wheelchair basketball.
Warrior Games is an annual competition of wounded, ill and injured service members from the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. The games feature a variety of sporting events, including cycling, shooting, wheelchair basketball, archery, track and field, swimming, and sitting volleyball.
The Marines were ready for revenge after an initial defeat to the Army, 45-27.
The Army won the gold in the 2011 Warrior Games and claimed the gold again this year with a final score 54-34.
“We had a lot of expectations put on us by winning last year,” said Army Veteran Juan Soto, of San Antonio, Texas. Soto scored the first two points of the game and was the highest scorer with 15 points.
By halftime, the scoreboard read Army-31, Marines-21. It looked as if the margin was narrowing, but as the game progressed the Army led by 20 points until the end.
“It feels surreal right now, like an out of body experience,” said Army Veteran and Wilmington, Del. native, Perry Price III. “All the hard work and practices paid off. I’m very happy with my team. All the hard work those guys put in together--they fought hard through injuries and everything. It’s just a wonderful feeling right now.”
At the close of the medal ceremony, Army Sgt. Delvin Maston, Fort Sam Houston Warrior Transition Unit, gathered the Army, Marines, and Air Force teams together and delivered inspiring words. The Birmingham, Ala. native said it was important for the teams to put out a good product for all to see and all of the wheelchair basketball teams were essentially ambassadors of the sport.
“It’s really important for us to go back home and tell as many people as we know and try to grow the sport,” said Soto.
“I am very appreciative for this opportunity,” said Price. “Through all the support and all the help that was given to us, it was really fulfilling, and that is what the Army is all about”.