Mar 08, 2012

2012 USABA Goalball Season Kicks off with John Bakos/USABA Midwest Regional Tournament

A new tournament site, several new teams and all-star matches were among changes US goalball enthusiasts experienced this past weekend as the 2012 goalball season kicked off at the John Bakos/USABA Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament.

After many years at Kalamazoo, Michigan, the 28th edition of this tournament found a new home in Warren, Michigan and along with the change of venue, the tournament welcomed several US teams that participated for the first time or returning after an absence of several years:

California Cyclones
Michigan Striders
Ohio Bats
Rose City Thorns – Men
South Florida Rage
Tennessee Tornados

After a heated round of pool play, the initial field of 16 men’s teams, including three teams from Canada, narrowed down to 8 teams that would advance to the quarterfinal round:

Atlanta Force
British Columbia
California Earthquake
Michigan Wrecking Crew
New York Knights
Nova Scotia
Pennsylvania Venom

As the dust settled on the quarter final round, three very tough teams from Canada and an outstanding California Earthquake would advance to the semifinals to battle for the right to play for gold in the finals. 

In the first semifinal game against California, Nova Scotia took a 3-1 lead at halftime.  In the second half, California pushed back with a goal, but couldn’t clinch the win.  Final score 3-2, Nova Scotia.  The second semifinal paired Canadian rivals Quebec and British Columbia.  Fans in this gym witnessed another match equal in intensity and also ending in a 3-2 finish, this time with the victory going to British Columbia.  

It was all Canada in the men’s gold medal match with a young Nova Scotia team facing a seasoned British Columbia. Ninety seconds into the match, Brendan Gaulin would capitalize on a penalty shot to put British Columbia in the lead.  Nova Scotia would quickly bounce back to tie the game, but Brendan Gaulin would score again; the first half would end with 2-1 British Columbia lead.  In the second half, Brendan Gaulin would score the hat trick, sealing Nova Scotia’s fate.  British Columbia would take the gold medal with a 3-1 final score. 

The lone US hope for a men’s medal, California Earthquake would relinquish the bronze medal to Quebec who overtook California  7-3.  

The following women’s teams would emerge from pool play to the semifinal round:

Georgia Firebolts
Kalamazoo Kraze
New Jersey
Pool Team

In the first women’s semifinal match, the Georgia Firebolts, 2011 USA national championships women’s silver medalists, would face off against a team comprised of pool players Cathy Morgan, Tracey Sinkovic and Christy Ray.  Although the pool team played valiantly, the Firebolts would prevail with a 3-1 win.  In the other women’s semifinal pairing, the Kalamazoo Kraze would gain a 1-0 lead against New Jersey they would keep until the final buzzer.  They would later meet Georgia to play for the tournament championship. 

The women’s gold medal game was a nail-biter between the Georgia Firebolts and the Kalamazoo Kraze.  Neither team would concede a goal with regulation play ending with a tied 0-0 score.  Two minutes into the first overtime period, Leanne Merren would drive a ball down the line that would find its way into the goal and win her team the women’s gold medal.  Final score: Kalamazoo Kraze 1, Georgia Firebolts 0. 

The bronze medal match would be the Pool team versus New Jersey.  In another very tight game, the Pool team, playing together for their first time a this tournament would find a way to overtake New Jersey and win by a 2-1 margin.

The next tournament will be the 2012 ABANJ/USABA Northeast Regional Goalball Tournament to be held in Westmont, New Jersey, April 14 and 15.  The application deadline for teams is April 2.  For additional information regarding the tournament can be found on our events calendar.  


Mar 07, 2012

Jim Mastro Candidate for US Olympic Hall of Fame

Voting is now open! Jim Mastro, multi-sport Paralympic athlete and medalists is up for induction into the 2012 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, but he needs your votes to win! Click here to vote now.   If you require assistance registering with the website, please call the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Hotline at (719) 866-2312. 

It is hard to know where to start with Jim’s accomplishments because there are so many. He is the first Paralympic athlete to medal in four different sports: track & field, judo, wresting and goalball. He has competed as a multi-sport athlete on seven Paralympic Teams between 1976 and 1994 as well as competed in many Pan American Games and World Championships. Jim was the first, ever, blind athlete to be selected as an alternate for a U.S. Olympic Team (Greco-Roman Wrestling, 1976). Throughout his athletic career Jim earned 10 Paralympic medals and 17 International medals. Still need proof that Jim is the ultimate athlete? Well, an ESPN article states, “Once, to raise money for his family to travel and watch him at the Paralympics, he lifted a 45-pound weightlifting bar 1,300 times in 15 minutes. Before another Paralympics, he knocked off 3,076 pushups in an hour.” Jim is the definition of a Paralympian. Allstate is looking to honor and induct “role models and heroes” into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame and Jim Mastro is just that. He has shown that with dedication and determination he can overcome even the toughest challenges.

The 2012 U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame presented by Allstate has five Paralympic athlete nominees, but only one will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this July in Chicago. Jim Mastro is a member of the USABA Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Hall of Fame, but he needs your votes to be inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.

Go to to cast your vote for Jim Mastro once each day, now through April 9, 2012.  If you require assistance registering with the website, please call the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Hotline at (719) 866-2312. 

Mar 07, 2012

Vancouver, Washington Selected as 2013 USABA Goalball National Championshp Tournament Site

March 6, 2012
Contact:  John Potts, USABA
(719) 534-3805, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


(Colorado Springs, Colorado)  The United States Association of Blind Athletes is excited to announce the Northwest Association for Blind  Athletes (NWABA) and Vancouver, Washington are selected to host the 2013 USABA Goalball National Championship Tournament, June 20-23.

“Over the past couple of years, NWABA and other organizations have worked hard to make the Pacific Northwest our hotbed for growth in goalball,” says USABA’s Goalball Coordinator, John Potts.  “We’ve seen new several goalball teams from California, Washington and Oregon compete in our national goalball program and we’re aware of several additional teams being formed that we hope we’ll soon see in tournaments. The fact they were selected as the 2013 USABA Goalball National Championship Tournament site is a testimony to the hard work that has led to the success of goalball in this region.”

The Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA) provides life-changing sports and fitness programs for individuals of all ages and ability levels who are blind and visually impaired. They provide programming throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA's mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information go to

Additional information on the June, 2013 tournament will be posted to the USABA website ( and provided to USABA members via email. 

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