UA Adapted Athletics Sweeps National Championships for First Time in School History
Championship banners and trophies are integral pieces of décor for The University of Alabama Adapted Athletics facilities.
Entering into last season, UA’s men’s wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis teams were looking to repeat as national champs. UA’s women’s wheelchair basketball team was just two years removed from its last national title. Its wheelchair tennis program had four national championships.
This spring, all three programs would reach the pinnacle and add another milestone to Adapted Athletics’ lengthy brag sheet: each program winning a national championship in the same season.
UA’s men’s wheelchair basketball team repeated as national champions for the first time in its history, winning its third title overall after beating the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, 79-73, in March.
UA’s women’s wheelchair basketball team clinched its sixth national title and first since 2017 with an 82-76 overtime win over the University of Texas at Arlington.
UA’s wheelchair tennis team clinched its fourth-straight USTA Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis team national title and fifth overall.
DeQuel Robinson, a senior on UA’s men’s basketball team, averaged 16.8 points per game last season. He was named MVP of the title game after scoring 28 points and dishing out 14 assists.
“It always feels great to win a national title as a student-athlete but to win two titles back to back, ending your college career on a high note, on top of being named MVP of the national title game, you couldn’t ask for a better and more amazing experience and feeling than that,” Robinson said. “It’s unexplainable … making history within Alabama Adapted Athletics and leaving a legacy behind is what it’s all about.”
UA’s men’s team went 27-5 last season and won its title despite starting two freshmen in the championship game.
Australian international Michael Auprince led UA in scoring last season with 19 points. He’s one of five seniors the team will look to replace next season.
UA’s women’s team, which lost in the 2018 national championship game, went 25-4 and was led by Arinn Young, who had 37 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists in the win over UT-Arlington. Young, of Sturgeon County, Alberta, Canada, was named the women’s tournament MVP.
“We knew this was the chance that we had to beat [UT-Arlington] and to prove a point,” Young said. “To just go out there and prove ourselves was one of the most satisfying things in most of our careers.”
UA’s tennis team entered the USTA Collegiate Wheelchair Tennis tournament as the top seed, securing a first-round bye before sweeping the University of Houston in the semifinals and San Diego State University in the championship final.
UA will have to replace just one senior – Shelby Baron – next season.
“This was my fifth and final time I would compete for the Tide,” Baron said. “Winning our fourth consecutive championship was the perfect way to end my collegiate career. It was bittersweet, but having my teammates and coaches there with me the moment we won was something I’ll never forget.”