TAMPA, Fla. - On January 14-16, teams from around the world travelled to Tampa to get out of the cold and compete at the 19th Coloplast International Wheelchair Rugby Tournament. This year’s event featured teams from Denver, Alabama, California, Ontario, Switzerland, and the tournament host Tampa Generals.
All of the teams would play one another in a round-robin format which would later determine the seeding for the tournament playoff. Team conditioning would be paramount since everyone would be playing at least six games and the top 4 finishers would be playing seven games this weekend.
The tournament opened with the Lakeshore Demolition squaring off against our neighbors to the north, the London Annihilators. London made a good game of it, but without Paralympian Dave Willsie and some of their other veteran players, Lakeshore won 47-36.
The next game matched the Tampa Generals against the Swiss National Team. Switzerland jumped out of the gates with a 14-6 lead after the 1st quarter and never looked back. The second court featured Denver losing by 5 to Crown, but that would not be the last time those two faceoff this weekend.
The game of the day was between Lakeshore and Crown. Lakeshore needed and got a big game from Delvin McMillan who scored 32 goals in Lakeshore’s 51-49 win over Crown.On Saturday, Tampa rebounded to beat London by 2 in the first game of the day. Switzerland continued to dominate as they took down both Denver and Lakeshore in back-to-back games. As Saturday’s games came to a close, it was time to look at the team’s records to determine playoff seeding. Switzerland was undefeated and easily secured the #1 seed. Crown, Denver, and Lakeshore filled in seeds #2 – #4 which was determined by a 3-way tie-breaker. Tampa and London secured the final two slots.The final day of the tournament began with the semifinals. Switzerland handled Lakeshore 45-34 propelling them in the Championship game. In the other semifinal, Denver was looking to avenge their earlier loss to Crown. Crown led by 1 goal at halftime, however tournament MVP Chance Sumner led Denver to 3 straight goals to start the 3rd quarter and Denver never looked back as they finished with a 50-46 victory. The 5th/6th game was a rematch between London and Tampa. It was another close game, but this time it would be London who came out on top. The 3rd/4th game was a tough battle between Crown and Lakeshore. Lakeshore managed to pull ahead by 2 in the 2nd quarter and with another big performance from Delvin McMillan, they ended up winning 42-41 and collecting the 3rd place trophy. Denver gave it all they could, but Switzerland would prove to be too much for them in the final. Switzerland cruised to a 52-43 victory to win the19th Coloplast International Championship.Special thanks to Coloplast, Numis Network, Tampa General Hospital, Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation, Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay, and to all of the volunteers. -Justin Stark, Tournament Director