University of Texas at Arlington

Movin' Mavs Win Ninth National Title in Wheelchair Basketball

NBC 5 News

The University of Texas at Arlington Movin' Mavs won their ninth National Wheelchair Basketball Association championship, defeating Alabama 66-51 for the title.

Amit Vigoda, selected as the tournament's most valuable player, led UTA with 26 points, 16 rebounds, and eight assists. 

Carrington Marendes added 17 points and six assists. Aaron Summerill contributed a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, plus four assists.

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Vincent Dallaire, named to the all-tournament team, scored eight points, with five assists and three rebounds.

UTA lost four starters from last year's top-ranked team and entered this season with an inexperienced starting lineup that included three freshmen and a sophomore, the University of Texas at Arlington said. The team also included players from Israel and Canada.

UTA coach Doug Garner said his team's mood was "joyous and celebratory" as they headed back to Arlington from Tuscaloosa for the tournament.

"It's been great seeing all of these differences come together in a team," Garner said. "We had age differences, philosophical differences and cultural differences. We had to mold together all these parts in just a few tournaments. These players were willing to put in the work."

The national tournament was the first action for UTA since January, with the February schedule upended by winter storms.

Garner said the team's national semifinal game against Southwest Minnesota State was a wakeup call after the Mustangs cut an 18-point lead down to five before UTA pulled away.

"We really needed that game against Southwest Minnesota State to get back into game mode," Garner said. "It really helped us refocus and get back our competitive edge."

The team finished with a record of 8-0 in a 2020-21 season cut short by both the COVID-19 pandemic and winter storms.

In a typical season, the team would play between 25 and 30 games. It was the team's first national championship since 2017 and Garner's second overall, the University of Texas at Arlington said.

According to the University of Texas at Arlington, the title comes a year after the Movin' Mavs lost the opportunity to play for the championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were 22-1 a season ago, including 14-0 in NWBA Intercollegiate Division games, when the remainder of the season was canceled.

Topias Tyni was named honorable mention Academic All American for the Movin' Mavs, the University of Texas at Arlington said.

The Lady Movin' Mavs fell one win short of a national title, falling 67-53 to Alabama in the women's national championship game.

Elizabeth Becker, Elodie Tessier, and Alexus Cook were named to the all-tournament team, the University of Texas at Arlington said.

Tessier also was named to the Academic All-American Team, while Becker was honorable mention Academic All-American. 

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