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Wheelchair Campers Show No Fear in Rugby Game Against Members of UCSB Men’s Team

Jesus Alverado, center, of the Junior Wheelchair Camp team, and UCSB rugby players Anthony Singh, left, and David Cota are all smiles as they play in a wheelchair rugby game at the Rec Center. Click to view larger
Jesus Alverado, center, of the Junior Wheelchair Camp team, and UCSB rugby players Anthony Singh, left, and David Cota are all smiles as they play in a wheelchair rugby game at the Rec Center. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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They weren't afraid to hit or take a hit.

Participants at the Junior Wheelchair Camp at UC Santa Barbara took on five players from the university's men's rugby team in a game of wheelchair rugby at the Rec Center multi-activity center on Thursday.

The campers got a pair of goals from Dom Trevethan and scored a 13-5 victory.

The Wheelchair Camp is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and rugby is one of the many activities campers can participate in during the week. Other sports include golfing, swimming, basketball, tennis, hand cycling, volleyball, kayaking, SCUBA diving and tennis.
 
Counselors and instructors are wheelchair users themselves, so they become natural mentors to the campers on how to stay healthy and active while living with a disability. The staff members and volunteers come from all over the state to help the athlete attendees, said director René Van Hoorn.

She noted that coach/instructor Oscar Magallenes, was an attendee for the inaugural 1986 summer camp, and he has returned to pass on his passion to help others. He showed off some slick moves in the rugby game.

Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation sponsor the camp.

In the rugby game, camper Matthew Mikkelson, 10, had so much fun dishing out contact he was given the nickname "The Hit Machine" by the UCSB players.  He used his chair as a battering ram to block his opponent’s path to the goal and create open paths for his teammates. He may weigh in at 70 pounds, but showed no fear as he relentlessly pounded opponents three times his size.

Trevethan, 17, and a recent graduate of Santa Ynez Valley High, is confined to a power wheelchair., but that didn't stop him from going all out on offense and defense. He played with grit and determination, and scored twice.

The campers showed their appreciation to the UCSB rugby team members with a round of high-fives and commemorative camp T-shirts. The players were Steve Risch, David Cota, Anthony Singh, Myles Han and Osvaldo Ordonez.

The UCSB team members said it was the most fun and rewarding experience they have had in a long time. New friendships were made, numbers and email addresses exchanged, and hugs were shared.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Members of the UCSB rugby team who played against the Wheelchair Campers were, from left, Steven Risch, David Cota, Anthony Singh, Myles Han and Osvaldo Ordonez. Click to view larger
Members of the UCSB rugby team who played against the Wheelchair Campers were, from left, Steven Risch, David Cota, Anthony Singh, Myles Han and Osvaldo Ordonez. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

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