To say that Josie Aslakson and Morgan Wood are smitten with their new trophy might be an understatement.
"This is BBT," said Aslakson, a member of UT-Arlington's Lady Movin' Mavs wheelchair basketball team. "It's the Big Ball Trophy."
"Once I touched it, I didn't really want to let it go," said Wood, who is also a member of the team. "I had it for a really long time. It stayed the night at my apartment for a night or two."
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They and their teammates haven't taken their eyes off BBT since bringing him back to Arlington this week -- a not so subtle reminder of the hard work and emotions that led the team to its first ever national title.
“It’s starting to sink in," said Aslakson. "Like every day you wake up – I have my plaque on my bookshelf and I see it and I’m like 'oh, that’s right, we’re champions.'”
It's a remarkable feat when you consider this was only the second full season that UTA has fielded a women's wheelchair basketball team. But early on, they knew were developing a special program.
“More so than the talent is the character of the girls," said Jason Nelms, Head Coach of the Lady Movin' Mavs. "With the character, you can do great things.”
But Nelms and his players admit none of them expected to be this great this soon. And now that they've tasted success, they're hungry for more.
“I don’t think there’s any reason why we wouldn’t be able to keep doing what we’re doing," said Aslakson. "Because we’re obviously on the right track – so if we keep working hard, we should be set.”
They'll take a few weeks off to relax and celebrate -- but then, they say, it's back to the grind.
"We already want that next championship," said Nelms. "We're happy to have this one and we'll enjoy it for several weeks. But there's another one we want."
Now that Lady Movin' Mavs' season is over, team members Abby Dunkin and Rose Hollerman can turn their attention to Rio. Both are expected to contend for spots on the U.S. Paralympic roster.