Saturday, August 27, 2011

Team USA delayed but in great spirits!!

Team USA has been delayed overnight and is being put up in a hotel in Dublin. All is well and we are wanting to make sure that all our families, friends and supporters know that we are safe and awaiting our return home trip tomorrow. See you state side one day late! Go TEAM USA!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Close finishes in an attempt to come out of pool play

Unfortunately as well as Team USA did in individual play, we were unable to advance out of pools. TJ Hawker missed the bracket rounds by 2 points. Although Austin Hanson had a 2-1 record coming out of pool he fell short of point differential to advance. Both men will participate in the Parpan competition in November in hopes of increasing the world rank standing and gaining a spot on the US paralympic team for London 2012. Team USA looked on today as Korea dominated much of the medal rounds finishing 1-2-3 in BC3 division and picking up a medal in the throwing divisions to win the world cup.
We want to again thank our family, friends and sponsors for this opportunity to compete for the honor of our nation. We represented you with total commitment, fair play and sense of pride! We want you all to know that we love you and will see you soon stateside. Go USA!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

USA Rookies continue to turn heads on the world stage

Labas had a hard fought match against Brock Richardson (Canada) keeping it close till the final end with a disappointing 1-3 loss. Cornelius Oatis also had a tough close match against Lukas Balazi (Slovakia) which resulted in a 2-6 score. Marck Harrison had his first win (3-1) on the world stage against our friends from Ireland (Jason Kearney). The 3 new rookies lunchroom conversation today has been around how to improve the practice schedule back home. BC3 division continues to improve in today's play as Sam Williams kept his composure during tie break to go on to get the win against Maria-Elleni Kordali of Greece. Lobmeyer kept each end close only giving up 1 point each end against an excellent player in Veronica Pamies of Spain. Austin Hanson is looking like his world class ranking (17th) today as he played a near perfect game against Armando Costa of Portugal (currently ranked 10th in the world) to win the round 6-2. Team USA is awaiting final results of the matches to see if any members make it our of their pool as point qualifiers.  Stay tuned!!

If you haven't had the opportunity to see the facebook... check out Jim Labas (father of Luke Labas comments below)

A Father’s Reflections on His Son’s Accomplishments
from Jim Labas,  father of Luke Labas
Thanks again for giving him the honor. He will never forget that, nor will I. Appreciating more each day what this sport does on so many levels.
So today, 3,603 miles from home, a 17 year old athlete carried the flag of his nation onto a floor of competition. He carried it as anyone who has the honor to carry our flag in a foreign land carries it. With pride, honor and a respect for all that it represents. He carried it for everyone back home, especially his Mom, brother and sister back in Indiana cheering him on. His brothers that salute it everyday, everyone that has supported him on this trip and are a big part of making it all possible, his friends and supporters at Turnstone. But mostly he carried it for anyone back home with any form of a disability.
The nine athletes that are here wearing Red, White and Blue represent the best that a core of resilience and determination has to offer. For anyone that faces challenges in everyday life that we with able bodies take for granted. For the extra time it takes just to prepare in the morning to start ones day. For the obstacles in everday life that a world that wasn’t designed for them presents. For dealing with something as simple as a mosquito bite that can’t be scratched, because one cannot will their body to do that simple task, so they just mentally deal with it as they just mentally deal with so many discomforts, aches and pains every single day of their life. But at this time, during this week, in this city in Northern Ireland, they will meet their own. They will meet 200 athletes from 32 other countries that have the same mental tenacity to deal with everyday obstacles and push through the road blocks in their way. They have found a way to compete. An avenue to channel their will to better themselves and push beyond what was their past performance to something even better. They will feel their heart beating through their chest as a key throw is needed at a critical time to score and they will mentally deal with it. They will force their bodies to do more than they are comfortable doing so that they don’t feel they let themselves, their teammates, their coaches and their supporters back home down. How could they? They will focus as any athlete does. They will focus on what they have trained for and practiced. They will push their bodies to excel on a world stage. They will do what everyone with a disability does every single day of their life. Adapt, improve, give it their all and push on. Great Britain, Hong Kong and Brazil are the first on the list. Let the games begin. Proud of you Luke Labas.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Team USA looking good going into individual play

Team USA started out the morning with head to head competition against their teammates in the BC2 and BC3 divisions. Labas and Oatis pulled out incredibly close 1 point ends on their own jacks to go into a 4-4 tie break situation. The tie break went down to the wire with Labas pulling out the win over his teammate Oatis. As the young rookie Labas had so intuitively suggested the night before competition "well at least we know we are going to get a win for Team USA". Labas went on to loose his 2nd match to Joao Paulo Fernandez in a very tight 2-3 match. Oatis battled hard in his second match as well keeping it to a 2 differential. Marck Harrison worked hard to block out Zhiqiang Yan of China who unfortunately kept moving Marck's balls that had been strategically placed. Marck played Pablo Sebastian Gonzales this morning giving up 2 points in the first end and only 1 point in ends 2-4. Marck continues to improve in blocking out his opponent and covering up. In the BC3 division, Hanson and Lobmeyer went head to head in what prove to be a repeat match of nationals. After the 3rd end it was tied 6-6. Hanson pulled out in the 4th end, placing his jack in the right short corner and scored 5 in the end giving him the win. In the BC 1 division TJ Hawker pulled out a win in the fourth end with the final 6-3 against Leena Sarela from Findland. Jennifer Jay fought hard to a 1-7 loss against Kam Lung Wong of Hong Kong. Patrick Elliott made his debut on the world stage with the entire Team USA squad looking on. As an unranked player he was forced to go head to head against Pinto Dirceu of Brazil. Patrick took away great strategy from the match and is looking forward winning against Domingos Vieira of Portugal. Stay tuned for future developments of today's individual competition!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Finals today onto individual competition!!

Patrick Elliott works hard preparing his jack ball shot under the watchful eye of his coach Mark McMillian. Patrick has been cheering on his teammates for the last several days as he awaits his individual competition tomorrow. Patrick is competing in the BC4 category. It has been over 10 years since Team USA has had a athlete compete in the BC4 division. We wish Patrick and all the athletes on team USA  the best of luck as they prepare for individual competition tomorrow!

 When it is all said and done it comes down to inches in this sport!! Pairs captain Austin Hanson watches as the referee checks the score against Belgium. Belgium and Portugal (both in the USA pool) went on to take the silver and bronze respectively in the World Championship today.

Many more pictures and information on the Blaze Sports America link

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Team USA fights hard in todays team and pair competition!

Team started out the morning against number 1 seed Great Britian and had an unbelievable game holding the veteran players to 9-1.  Hawker, Labas and Oatis all contributed with many great blocks making it difficult for the veteran Great Britian team to score. Pairs players Hanson, Lobmeyer and Williams gave it their all against Belgium, Portugal and Argentina. Unfortunately they were unsuccessful in advancing out of pool. The team rests tomorrow and prepares as they look forward to individual play beginning Tuesday. Go Team USA!!
Team USA stops momentarily for a quick pic before the parade of athletes last night. They received many comments on their sharp looking red, white and blue! Results of todays team and pair competition to follow soon.