Sports

In Westfield, Lightning Wheels Paralympic Athletes Reach for Their Goals

April 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ – Nine year-old Sarah Maher is a busy girl. She takes piano lessons, participates in Brownies, swims, plays baseball in the Buddy Ball league and, on Thursday nights, takes to the field at Kehler Stadium in Westfield to practice track and field events with Lightning Wheels, a paralympic sports club sponsored by Children’s Specialized Hospital.

“I like making new friends and having fun with them, and connecting as a team,” said the Franklin Elementary School third grader of Lightning Wheels.

Maher, who has spina bifida, is one of about 30 athletes between the ages of five and 22 in the club, which accepts children and young adults who have a primary diagnosis of a physical disability.

Sign Up for E-News

At Thursday’s practice, Maher and her mother Karen said she is trying to qualify in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m wheelchair race events so she can attend the National Junior Disability Championships to be held this July in Iowa.

She has already qualified for NJDC in several swimming events and is eager to take the bus with her teammates to the competition.

“Swimming is my favorite sport,” said Maher, who swims during the winter with Lightning Wheels at an indoor facility in Cranford.

Among the club’s goals are increasing independence and self-esteem of an athlete with a disability, improving an individual’s physical skills through instruction and varied activities and developing a peer group for the athlete and her family.

Head coach Trisha Yurochko expects the athletes to attend practice regularly and to qualify for national competition in six events.

“It’s opened up new worlds for them,” she said.

Stephen Koziel, a 17 year-old high school junior from Kearny who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, was focused and fast on Thursday as he zipped around the track, arms pumping, in his chair.

“My main goal is to go to the Rio Paralympics in 2016,” he said after his workout.

To do this, Koziel knows he needs to improve his times, expose himself to national coaches and get his name recognized on a wider stage.

Koziel, who also swims with Lightning Wheels and does shot put, javelin and discus, is dedicating his Eagle Scout project to raising awareness of Paralympic sports. He says the club has taught him that “if you put your mind to something, nobody can stop you from doing what you want to do.”

For nine year-old Kiko Mina of Lake Hopatcong, the best part of practice is running around the track. He loves being outside and seeing his friends.
 
"I like running. I practice a lot," said Mina, who had multiple brain surgeries as a baby to cure a seizure disorder.

His dad, Joseph, sees many benefits to Lightning Wheels.

"Aside from the social aspect of it, it gets him to burn all the energy he has," he said.

On Saturday, April 26, Lisa Natale, owner of Michele’s on Prospect, will hold a fundraiser to benefit Lightning Wheels.

With the help of a group of Maher's older sister’s classmates, Natale has organized a parents-versus-kids basketball game at 11 am at Franklin. Participants are invited to have breakfast on the house at Michele’s beginning at 10 a.m., and then are invited back for a free lunch after the game. Several Lightning Wheels members will be at the deli-cafe, near the school at 760 Prospect Street in Westfield, and donations are welcome.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

There is Room for Improvement in Westfield Schools

August 17, 2016

Dear Parents and Students of Westfield, 

I was delighted to learn that Westfield High School was ranked 67th in Newsweek’s list of best schools in the nation. I’ve been truly blessed to have spent the past 12 years in Westfield Public Schools and can say that the award is both well deserved and not surprising. However, just two years ago, Westfield was ranked 29th in the ...

Westfield BOE Candidate Announces he is Dropping from Race

August 19, 2016

Dear Westfield Residents,

Today I write, with some sadness, that I am withdrawing my candidacy for Westfield Board of Education. I thank Westfield residents for taking my candidacy into consideration, and I thank all the support I have received, but due to reasons I will explain, I cannot continue to run in good conscience for the board.

Over the past month, I have been looking through ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_3967cdd4cd8dfb4182db_burgernightbogo2015

Tue, August 30, 3:00 PM

Molly Maguires Irish Pub and Restaurant, Clark

BOGO Burgers @ Molly Maguires in Clark

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_df6e2293c01cb9e98949_picture2

Tue, August 30, 3:00 PM

TACO TUESDAY NIGHT, Westfield

Taco Tuesday Night @ uber bistro

Food & Drink

Tue, August 30, 7:30 PM

Administration Building, Westfield

Westfield Board of Education Meeting

Education

Westfield Home Under Construction Burglarized & More

August 24, 2016

August 18, 2016, 10:41 a.m.

Report of a theft filed by a victim in the 700 block of Clark Street. Suspect(s) unknown took property valued at $50 from the front lawn of the victim’s property.

August 18, 2016 11:39 a.m.

Paul Linhart, age 24, of Medford, NJ, and Dean Nisenbaum, age 38, of Parlin, NJ, were arrested during a motor vehicle stop at E. Broad Street and Jefferson Avenue by ...

Audio: Point View's Dietze Details Three Great Investment Ops on Bloomberg

August 26, 2016

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President, and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, spoke live on Bloomberg Radio detailing three great investment opportunities:

bloomberg.com

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive financial planning, to develop and achieve ...

Cats Found in Westfield

Two young cats/kittens found on Tremont Avenue. They have been coming to a resident's house and staying in the garden for the last two days, day and night, and show no sign of leaving. The two are described as inseparable.

One is black and white, the other is all gray. Contact Dee at 716-698-5847 if you have any information .

Westfield Area YMCA Offers Water Exercise Classes for All Ages and Fitness Levels

Westfield Area YMCA, 220 Clark Street, offers new water exercise classes this fall to help maximize fitness results while minimizing the stress on joints and muscles! 

New classes are Aqua Boot Camp which allows participants to reach their goal in a simple yet effective high intensity interval training and Yo Pi Chi which is a fusion class that combines Yoga, Pilates and Ai Chi in shallow ...

Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) Entrepreneurship Academy to Be Hosted at Union Catholic

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- YEA! Westfield (Union County) will collaborate with Union Catholic High School to offer state-of-the-art classroom space for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!), an innovative program entering its fourth year in Scotch Plains this fall that transforms students in grades 6 through 12 into successful business owners.

YEA! is a groundbreaking program that takes ...

Some Like it Hot

“Oh boy!” exclaimed my husband. “There’s a hot sauce shop in town!”

We were away antiquing for the weekend in a quaint village populated by Bed and Breakfasts, art galleries, and apparently, a hot sauce shop. For my husband, this was like discovering that someone had bought you a lottery ticket and you won… if the lottery prize was a fireball that would ...

Thinking of Buying a Vacation Home?

Owning a vacation home is many people’s dream.  Being able to own property in one of your favorite locations as a second home provides a much needed escape from the pressures of everyday life.  It’s a special place designated to create memories with our families for years to come.  In fact, vacation home sales soared to 1.13 million in 2014.  The spike shows that ...

Vacation Homes - To buy or not to buy?

If you are anything like me, you begin to truly relax around the third day of your vacation. Soon after that, you visualize what life would be like working from a beach house six months out of the year.  Then you start to analyze:  How can I be sure I can afford the purchase? Is it a good investment?  Are there tax consequences?    

Here are some ...

Westfield School District Prepares English Language Learners

Westfield Public School students in the “English as a Second Language (ESL)” summer program enhanced their study of English prior to entering first, second, or third grades in September.  The eleven participants in the extended school year program are from China, Brazil, Mexico, Ukraine, Germany, India, Philippines and Russia.

This year, the program focused on learning ...

Beware of Tax Scams, & More

Beware of Tax Scams!

The Internal Revenue Service has issued warnings of an increasing number of telephone calls from scammers claiming to be from the IRS.  

Many are using strong-arming tactics, like threatening your arrest, to scare people into making payments or giving out their social security numbers, credit cards or other personal information.  

Understand ...

Ionesco’s ‘Exit the King’ Makes for Powerful Drama at New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre

MADISON, NJ – There’s dying and then there’s dying in long, drawn-out agony. Well, if you’ve been king for 400 years, you won’t disappear quietly. No doubt King Berenger thinks he’s immortal and, like many of us today, lingers long after he’s of any use to himself or others.

The king on "Exit The King" is ravenously alive early on, still ...

Redefining Emerging Markets

For the past 15 years, the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) had been given the most hype as emerging markets. These four nations carried the global economy, particularly when the US housing bubble burst in 2008. However, today only one BRIC stands as emerging, India.

China has already emerged as the second largest economy in the world. China’s economy is projected to ...

It Is Time To Come Clean On Past Due Tax Returns

Failing to file tax returns on time doesn't necessarily make you a criminal, but the penalty for procrastinating can be punishing.

What's the price you'll pay? The IRS can assess a failure to file penalty, which is usually 5% of your unpaid taxes per month, up to a maximum penalty of 25%. In addition, there is a penalty for failure to pay taxes on time. This penalty accumulates at ...