MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Thirteen Minnesota youth athletes, who compete through Courage Center, recently returned home celebrating individual and team triumphs at the week-long National Junior Disability Championships (NJDC). More than 250 qualifying athletes from across North America competed in St. Louis, Mo., June 25-Aug. 2, a yearly stepping-stone to the Paralympics. Events took place in archery, field events, swimming, table tennis, track, weightlifting and wheelchair basketball.
All 13 Courage Center athletes competed in multiple events and all finished first in at least one of them. Jeff Garten of Bloomington, Minn., competed in 12 events and finished first in all of them as did Dan Kosanda of Maple Grove, who competed in eight events. (A complete listing of all 13 athletes and their results is available upon request.)
Three Courage Center teens received Spirit of Excellence Awards, given to the top male and top female athletes in each sport. They were: Ben Kenyon for basketball; Rose Hollerman for basketball; and Josh Scanlon for table tennis. Highlights of each participant follow:
- Chuck Aoki, Minneapolis, Minn. A Minneapolis Southwest High School grad, Aoki competed in three field events, finishing first in shot put and discus, and second in javelin.
- Mark Braun, Mounds View, Minn. Braun competed in 10 track and field and basketball events and placed in the top three in all of them, with five firsts.
- Evan Carlson, Champlin, Minn., placed first in table tennis-singles and second in doubles; he also placed second in three field events.
- Rose Hollerman, Elysian, Minn. An all-around athlete, Hollerman finished 20 events, in track and field, swimming, archery and table tennis. She had 12 first place finishes, two second place and one third place.
- Jeff Garten, Bloomington, Minn., participated in 12 track and field and table tennis events and placed first in all of them.
- Jayson Gorton, Montrose, Minn., competed in 12 track and field and table tennis events and placed in the top three in all of them, with eight first place finishes.
- Dan Kosanda, Maple Grove, Minn. Kosanda participated in eight track and field and table tennis events and finished in first place in all of them.
- Ben Kenyon, Minnetonka, Minn. A Minnetonka High School grad, Kenyon is ranked one of the top three prep wheelchair basketball players in the nation. He participated in 24 events (track and field, table tennis, swimming and basketball) and placed first in 18 of them, with two second place finishes.
- Mitchell Kohl, Lino Lakes, Minn. Kohl competed in five archery and table tennis events, with two firsts, two seconds and one third place finish.
- Krista Pylkki, St. Paul, Minn. Pylkki finished 17 of 18 events with seven first place, nine second place and one third place finish.
- Janet Scanlon, Wayzata, Minn. Janet Scanlon participated in 11 track and field and table tennis events and finished first in nine of them, with one second and one third place finish.
- Josh Scanlon Delano, Minn., competed in 14 track and field, table tennis and basketball events. He finished first five times, and had four second place and two third place finishes.
- Tyler Sprynczynatyk, Bloomington, Minn., competed in two events with a first place finish in archery and a second place in table tennis.
Three Courage Center teens received Spirit of Excellence Awards, given to the top male and female athletes in each sport. Award recipients were Ben Kenyon for basketball, Rose Hollerman for basketball, and Josh Scanlon for table tennis.
About Courage Center:
Courage Center is a nonprofit rehabilitation and resource center that advances the lives of children and adults experiencing barriers to health and independence. At Courage Center, we specialize in treating brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, chronic pain, autism, and disabilities experienced since birth. Founded in 1928, Minnesota-based Courage Center offers advanced technologies and innovation provided in part through the efforts of thousands of volunteers and donors. For more information visit www.CourageCenter.org.
Contact: W. Mike Bauler, Courage Center, 612-388-4689,
Sue Warner, Courage Center, 763-520-0263
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