Inaugural Land and Sea Adaptive Sports Challenge set for weekend

Sea Star Base Galveston is teaming up with two other local organizations to host the first-ever Land and Sea Adaptive Sports Challenge on Friday through Sunday.

The three-day event, co-hosted by The Christina Grillo Sullivan Foundation and Houston Adapted Sports Club, kicks off this evening with a welcome reception for an anticipated 30-plus participants, mostly from the greater Houston area, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sea Star Base Galveston.

“For it being the inaugural, I think the numbers are fine,” Sea Star Base Galveston adaptive sports coordinator David Gaston said. “Galveston is such a premier town to enjoy all the things going on. I’d rather do it small and do a good job.”

The athletes will partake in a number of sporting events of their choice, including tennis, basketball, sailing and water skiing.

“These are people who have not let their disabilities define them,” said Gaston, who himself has been an active adaptive sports paraplegic after a motorcycle injury in 1978. “We have a couple of athletes from the Victoria area.”

The tennis and basketball action will take place at Ball High School starting Saturday at 8:30 a.m., with opening ceremonies at the tennis courts.

On Sunday, the athletes will have the opportunity to take in various water activities, such as sailing, fishing and swimming starting at 10:30 a.m. at Sea Star Base Galveston.

Tennis officially gets the weekend into full swing, beginning with a wheelchair tournament at 9 a.m. and an on-going adaptive skills expo featuring athletes from Tideway, Sunshine Center and Galveston Independent School District/Special Olympics Texas.

At the same time, the second annual Christina Grillo Sullivan Foundation mixed doubles tennis tournament, which was interrupted by rain April 14, resumes play.

In one of the winners’ bracket semifinals, Liz Castillo and Jeff Dubrow, the No. 1 seeds, will be challenged by Gabby Singleton and Porter Devane.

The other semifinals will pit No. 2 seed Nancy Shipman and Frank Mencacci against Susan Dudek and Dominic Etienne.

The consolation semifinals also start at 9 a.m., with Aurora Galvan and Tim Lambert facing Lydia Miller and David Rassin, and Heidi Harrison and John Koleon taking on Adriene Skiles and Steve Cunningham.

There also will be adaptive ambulatory tennis competition, from 10 to 11 a.m.; open court for wheelchair tennis, from 11 a.m. to noon; and open court for standing amputee tennis, from noon to 1 p.m.

Nearby at the Tors’ gymnasium, wheelchair basketball will already be in progress, starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 4 p.m.

Gaston said sports wheelchairs will be available for anyone wanting to participate in any of Saturday’s activities.

“It’s all hands-on,” Gaston said. Plus, “We have such an amazing facility (Sea Star Base Galveston) here,” he added. “It is completely accessible.”

Saturday’s action concludes with an appreciation and recognition of athletes, sponsors, volunteers and adaptive programs dinner at the Sea Star Base Banquet Room located on the fifth floor, starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re wanting this to become another one of Galveston’s annual events, growing to expand the sports and drawing people from all parts of the country,” Gaston said of the Land & Sea Adaptive Sports Challenge.

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