Eastern Wheelchair Basketball to Compete in Nationals, March 15-18

March 7, 2023

The EWU’s men’s wheelchair basketball team, fresh off traveling to participate in two prominent tournaments, will compete later this month in the 2023 Men’s National Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

The national championship tournament runs March 15-18. You can access a schedule and link for a livestream of the games on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater website.

The two recent tournaments leading up to the national championship event — one in January at the City University of New York, Queen’s College, and the other, more recently, at the University of Arizona in Tucson — allowed the team to gain valuable experience on the road, says David Evjen, their head coach. “They worked hard and got better every game,” Evjen says.  

The experience in New York was particularly illustrative of the benefits, and challenges, of competing on the road. The group making the trip consisted of five student-athletes, along with Evjen, a graduate assistant, Taya DeFrance, two undergraduate student managers and one Eastern alumni volunteer who is currently in medical school but still found time to assist and accompany the team. 

It was many of the students’ first time in the Big Apple. “The experience was great overall. It was my first time traveling with this team, and the furthest I’ve ever been from home,” says Liam Frobisher, a freshman communications major from St. Helens, Oregon.  

The team played in four games. They didn’t get a win, but Evjen says he is proud of their performance, especially considering the team traveled with only five players — which resulted in having no subs for the entirety of the tournament.  Evjen wasn’t the only one who felt good about the experience. “I think we showed a lot of improvement, even just from our home tournament earlier this season,” says Frobisher. 

Gifts from generous EWU alumni and friends help to support EWU’s Adaptive Athletics Program. To learn about how you can make a gift to support this hardworking group of student athletes and the overall program, please click on this webpage link

Eastern’s wheelchair basketball team started in 2018 after it was awarded a Neilson Fund grant. The program has received additional support from Alliant, Premeria Blue Cross, MultiCare and alumnus Mike Mumford, who made a generous matching gift commitment that inspired others to give. The program, organized under the College of Public Health and Science, is also supported by EWU Athletics with facilities use, storage and gym space, equipment and uniforms.

Coach Evjen would also like to grow the program to more than just wheelchair basketball. In the future, Evjen says, he would like to strengthen the wheelchair tennis program started in 2021, and add sled hockey and track to EWU Adaptive Athletics.