March 16, 2011

Rec center to host wheelchair rugby tournament

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Wheelchair rugby athletes and fans from around the Midwest will converge on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Student Recreation Center March later this week for the Heartland Sectionals Wheelchair Rugby Tournament.

The St. Louis Rugby Rams and the St. Louis Wheelchair Athletic Association are hosting the event, set for March 18-20. Winners will advance to the national competition April 15-17 in Birmingham, Ala. There they will take on the top finishers from the Atlantic, Mountain and Pacific Sectionals. The first- and second-place finishers from each sectional will compete in Division One at the nationals while the third- and fourth-place teams advance to the Division Two segment of the tourney.

The St. Louis Rugby Rams ( is the top-ranked team in the Heartland Sectional. The team includes SIUC students Michael Hasler, a senior recreation major from Carbondale, who also works at the Student Recreation Center, and Chuck Melton, a junior history major from Hoyleton.

Wheelchair rugby is a full-contact team sport, giving men and women with impaired upper and lower extremities the opportunity to participate in a unique sport combining elements of basketball, rugby and ice hockey. All athletes use manual metals wheelchairs and their goal is to carry a ball across the defended goal line of the opposing team.

For more information call the Student Recreation Center at 618/453-1277, visit the website at, or contact the St. Louis Rugby Rams at