Submitted to OnFocus – On October 21, 2020, Noah Eckelberg, a senior at Columbus Catholic Schools (CCS), officially signed up to become a member of the Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) Wheelchair Basketball Team and will attend SMSU in the fall and receive scholarships toward his education. Noah has excelled as a wheelchair athlete on the CCS Track and Field Team and the Mad City Badgers Basketball Team.
SMSU is a Division II University located in Marshall, MN. It is part of the Intercollegiate Division of the NWBA (National Wheelchair Basketball Association). It is one of the oldest programs in the nation and part of the Athletic Department at SMSU. There are 15 other wheelchairs basketball programs in the nation and SMSU is the only college to support an adaptive sports team in the state of Minnesota.
“Noah is a great student-athlete that embodies the characteristics we are looking for at SMSU,” said Derek Klinkner, Wheelchair Basketball Coach at SMSU. “Noah’s high character, work ethic, and athletic ability will be a great addition to our family. Noah is an extremely driven and motivated individual and we look forward to helping him grow over the next 4-5 years.”
“I’m excited to be furthering my academic and athletic career at SMSU,” said Noah. “I will be majoring in physical education and completing a minor in coaching. I will also work towards becoming a licensed adaptive sports coach.”
“We are very proud of Noah and his decision,” said Noah’s mom, Aimie Eckelberg. “We are excited to see what his future holds.”
Some of Noah’s accomplishments over the year include:
- While playing for the Mad City Badgers (currently in his fourth year), the team has been invited to play for the NWBA National Tournament
- First place in the wheelchair 400 meter dash at the 2019 WIAA State Track Meet
- First place in the wheelchair 800 meter dash at the 2019 WIAA State Track Meet
- First place in the wheelchair 1600 meter dash at the 2019 WIAA State Track Meet
- Third place in wheelchair shot put at the 2019 WIAA State Track Meet
- First place in the wheelchair 400 meter dash at the 2018 WIAA State Track Meet
- First place in the wheelchair 800 meter dash at the 2018 WIAA State Track Meet
- Second place in the wheelchair 100 meter dash at the 2018 WIAA State Track Meet
- Fourth place in wheelchair shot put at the 2018 WIAA State Track Meet
While we are very excited for Noah, he will truly be missed at Columbus! “We are thrilled for Noah. He has been a true leader and inspiration during his time at Columbus,” said Joe Konieczny, Athletic Director for Columbus Catholic Schools. “I am so grateful for the way he represents our school. I know he will do great things at the collegiate level.”
“It’s hard to find athletes who are willing to accept volumes of repeats and constructive criticism; and embrace cold, wet, or hill workouts – while being mindful that form follows function,” said Danielle Wojcik, a member of the CCS Track and Field Coaching Staff, and Noah’s Track Coach. “Noah has grown into a highly competitive athlete and budding role model for adaptive sports. He has endless potential ahead of him; it has been a priceless journey being his track coach.”
Amy Spangler is Noah’s coach on the Mad City Badgers Wheelchair Basketball team. “It has been an absolute blessing to have had the opportunity to work with Noah for the past four years,” said Amy. “He is a coach’s dream. He takes feedback really well and will do whatever is asked of him. He puts the team first and always gives his full effort. Noah has a fantastic work ethic and I look forward to seeing what he can do at the college level both academically and athletically. SMSU is lucky to have him!”
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