Moving into 2020, it is only fitting to reflect on all that has been accomplished by Turnstone clients and staff over the previous decade. In 1994, Turnstone added a gym to its facilities, enhancing and expanding the Sports and Recreation program, paving the way for athlete success. Throughout the 2010s, members of the Turnstone family, past and present, made tremendous advancements in the world of adaptive sports.
Turnstone Goes to Washington (October 2011)
Tina Acosta, Turnstone’s Director of Sports and Recreation, spoke on Capitol Hill at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC. Acosta was there to address the importance of the partnership between the United States Paralympics and the Department of Veterans Affairs to Promote Adaptive Sports. You can read the subcommittee transcript here.
Turnstone Volunteer Named to USA Team for World Cup (November 2011)
Mark Berron was named Power Soccer Team USA Equipment Manager to both the 2011 World Cup team in Paris, France and 2017 World Cup in Kissimmee, Florida. Berron started to volunteer with Turnstone's power soccer team in September of 2006. He was instrumental in helping us with all our power wheelchair equipment needs, especially in the early years.
First Quadruple Amputee Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro (January 2012)
Kyle Maynard, a graduate of Turnstone's preschool, reached Mount Kilimanjaro's peak (19,340 feet) to be the first quadruple amputee to get to the top without assistance. Check it all out here. Kyle Maynard attended Turnstone’s preschool and was involved with our recreational programs in the late '80s and early '90s. Kyle was born with a rare condition known as congenital amputation where the fibrous bands prevent the development of fetal limbs. Kyle has been quite busy since his family moved from Fort Wayne to the Georgia area. In middle school, he joined the football team playing nose tackle. Then he joined the high school wrestling team followed by wrestling and pursuing his degree at the University of Georgia. This lead to him writing the New York Times Bestselling autobiography, No Excuses. Kyle also reached the summit of Mount Aconcagua in South America (22,838 feet), because why not. Maynard still lives in Atlanta and he runs his own cross fit gym called No Excuses. You can learn more about Kyle at https://www.kyle-maynard.com/.
First Turnstone Athlete in Paralympics (August 2012)
Noah Yablong was the first Turnstone athlete to compete for Team USA in the Paralympics. Yablong was first introduced to wheelchair basketball in 2001 when he was 12 years old. He played on the Turnstone Flyers through his senior year of high school in 2007. During this time he also played wheelchair tennis where he was on the Jr. World Cup team in 2005 & 2006. During this time he was the first athlete to compete on his high school tennis team while in a wheelchair. This competition helped him become ranked as the #1 jr. wheelchair tennis player in the USA. In 2008 he earned a wheelchair tennis scholarship to attend the University of Arizona where he earned his Bachelor of Science in Engineering Management, later using this knowledge as an Aerospace Engineer. At the peak of his tennis career in 2012, Yablong was ranked as the 41st best men's wheelchair tennis player in the world (4th in the USA). Yablong still lives in Phoenix, Arizona and is married to Claire.
1st Wheelchair Basketball Athlete to Earn Spot on Team USA & Play Basketball at the Professional Level (June 2013)
Jared Arambula who played on Turnstone’s wheelchair basketball teams (Prep & Varsity) from age 12 - 18 years old is living the dream of playing on the USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball team along with playing basketball at the professional level when time permits.
Arambula's first team USA opportunity came in 2013 when he made the national team to compete in America's Zone World Qualifier. Arambula began on Turnstone’s Prep wheelchair basketball team in 2003 where he helped lead the team to a runner-up finish at Nationals. Then, at the Varsity level, Jared was a part of Turnstone winning 4 straight Midwest Conference Championships from 2005-2008 (Turnstone Flyers also won in 2009 but it was after he graduated). Arambula earned numerous accolades while in high school. In his senior year, he won the Conference Commissioner's Award and was a Finalist for the Tony Lucarelli Spirit Award at Nationals. Also in his senior year, he helped lead the U23 National team to Gold in Sydney, Australia. With the Flyers, Jared also earned the MVP at Regionals once (‘08) along with three times at the Conference Championships (‘06-’08). At Nationals he was on the All-Academic team once (‘05) and 1st Team All-American four times (‘05-’08).
In College, Arambula led Alabama University to their 1st Intercollegiate Wheelchair Basketball National Championship where he scored a team-leading 21 points in the clinching game and was named 1st Team All-American. Arambula earned a Bachelors degree in Education and plans to earn his Master's degree in education when he’s finished playing ball. However, right now Jared is going to pursue the highest level of competition he can compete within the basketball world.
After college in 2013 Arambula moved to Arlington, TX to play on the Dallas Mavericks championship division (top men’s league in the USA) wheelchair basketball team where he has helped lead them to back-to-back National Championships. He then went on to play professionally in Germany before winning gold in the Toronto Parapan Games in 2015 and then Gold again in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. He's currently playing professionally in Bordeaux, France and is hopeful to make the 2020 Paralympics.
1st Athletes to Compete at Track & Field State Championships (June 2013)
Turnstone athletes Robert Burns and Daniel Klingler competed in the first State Championship Track and Field competition in Ohio. You can find the full write-up on how they performed by visiting our Facebook page or clicking here.
Rowing Program Earned 1st place at Local Raft Race (July 2013)
With inspiration from the Wells Street Bridge—Turnstone and Concordia High School athletes teamed up to create this killer raft in the 2013 Three Rivers Festival Raft Race. Along with looking great, the crew also finished 1st in the Non-Commercial Speed division. Pictures here.
Turnstone Created 1st Sled Hockey Goalie Camp in the U.S. (September 2013)
Turnstone noticed that there was a need for a camp specifically for sled hockey goaltenders. So in 2013, we teamed up with USA Paralympic starting goaltender, Steve Cash, along with teammate defenseman Josh Pauls. The duo has won three straight Gold medals in 2010, 2014 & 2018 Paralympics. The camp incorporated a nutritionist along with on and off ice specific training.
WOWO Penny Pitch Charity (December 2013)
WOWO Radio chose Turnstone to be their 2013 Penny Pitch charity. Local NFL star Tyler Eifert, former Bishop Dwenger football standout, second-team All-American tight end for Notre Dame, and currently a Cincinnati Bengal, helped promote Turnstone in this campaign. In promotion of Penny Pitch, WOWO staff scrimmaged vs our Bandits wheelchair basketball team. Click here for a must-see video. You can also check out the pictures from the game by clicking here.
Turnstone Acquires Adaptive Golf Cart (March 2014)
Turnstone was able to purchase an adaptive golf cart to allow individuals from a seated position to play independently on a golf course. Thanks to a grant from the National Alliance for Accessible Golf and a partnership with the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department, Turnstone has been able to purchase an adaptive golf cart for use by Turnstone and the Lifetime Sports Academy Program sponsored by FW Parks! The cart is primarily located at McMillen Golf Course for use there.
National Coach of the Year - Bob Burnsworth (April 2014)
Longtime Turnstone wheelchair basketball coach, Bob Burnsworth earned the 2014 Ed Owen Coach of the Year Award by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Burnsworth was then featured in the July 2014 edition of the Sports & Spokes national magazine for his accomplishments. Burnsworth started Turnstone's Junior wheelchair basketball program (originally Turnstone Fury) in the fall of 1994 with only three kids. After numerous practices and added players, the group competed in their first tournament January of 1998 down at Southern Illinois University. Success didn’t come early but after countless hours in the gym and getting beat by older, stronger, and more experienced teams the 2001-2002 Turnstone Flyers made history by qualifying for Varsity Nationals for the first time. From that date the Flyers haven’t looked back as the Jr. basketball program has been competing at the national level from then to today. In 2007 Burnsworth was named Assistant Coach of the U23 Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team, and in 2008 he was a Finalist for the Robert J. Szyman Junior Division Leadership Award.
Groundbreaking for the ‘Turnstone of Tomorrow’ (June 2014)
Paralympian, Amy Purdy helped dig the future of Turnstone's largest expansion. Purdy, who won a Bronze Medal in the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics and a 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant, joined the festivities of Turnstone's Plassman Athletic Center addition. The expansion included over 125,000 square feet with a new entrance being added from Spy Run; a new fitness center, an additional warm-water therapy pool, additional administrative space, and a 4-court fieldhouse with a 230-meter indoor track.
Tom Davis Earns a Spot on Team USA (July 2014)
This was the start of Tom Davis's International Cycling Career. In July 2014, Tom Davis made the USA Para-cycling Road World Championships. He continued to make the World Championships team in 2017, 2018 & 2019 earning a total of 3 Silver Medals. Davis was a part of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games where he finished 4th (road race) and 6th (road time trial). Davis became affiliated with Turnstone in 2012 and has been on a mission since to become one of the top cyclists in the world along with helping us grow our own cycling program.
Retired Staff Sgt. Tom Davis joined the Army in 2002. In 2006, he rode shotgun in a Humvee as it drove through Ramadi, the most dangerous city in Iraq at the time. While turning, the truck ran over an improvised explosive device. The blast threw the truck two stories in the air. It flipped backward and landed on its roof. Due to his injuries, Davis had his left leg removed above the knee, broke both forearms, fractured his right knee and vertebra in his back, and cracked some bones in his head. Davis spent 15 months rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Today, Davis is a Paralympic hopeful for the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 and trains at Turnstone when he's in the neighborhood.
Turnstone Volunteer Inducted to Hall of Fame (November 2014)
Pete Crewe, a friend, volunteer, and mentor of Turnstone’s Tennis Program, was inducted into the Fort Wayne Tennis Hall of Fame. Crewe was a volunteer in our tennis program for 14 years and assisted with our tennis tournament every season through 2017.
Turnstone Earns Gold Level Status with U.S. Paralympics (February 2015)
Turnstone was designated as a Gold Level Paralympic Sport Club by the U.S. Paralympics in 2015. Turnstone is only the third adaptive sports and recreation program to be honored with this achievement. Many people’s hard work went into reaching this level and a special thanks goes out to all of our coaches who, on a volunteer basis, not only keep our teams competing at a high level but also attend training and certifications on their own time to keep themselves certified and knowledgeable in their sport. Turnstone became a Paralympic Sport Club in 2009. In November 2013 the U.S. Paralympics started a Bronze, Silver and Gold level to recognize the sport clubs based on their level of programming. In December 2013 we became a Bronze Level status, making Turnstone one of 5 clubs, of 181 clubs, to reach this status at the time. And as of February 2015, Turnstone remained one of only 3 clubs with the Gold Level status.
Barbknecht Named to Team USA for IWAS World Junior Games (July 2015)
Noah Barbknecht qualified to represent the United States as Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports USA took a team to the International Wheelchair and Ambulatory Sports World Junior Games in Stadskanaal, Netherlands. Barbknecht competed in Archery and Field events for the USA. During this year Barbknecht competed all over the United States including Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and New Jersey. He placed at each competition and even set a new WASUSA shot put record while competing in Arizona. To cap off the 2015 season, Barbknecht also earned the Rising Star Award and the Junior Most Valuable Athlete Award. Barbknecht also competed and trained with his peers at Northrop High School. Here are some pictures of Barbknecht throwing for Northrop.
USA Men's Goalball Team Moves to Turnstone (October 2015)
In October 2015, the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) partnered with Turnstone to establish the first-ever U.S. Men’s Resident Goalball Program. The resident program would allow athletes to train together full-time and live within walking distance of training facilities. As a result, the U.S. Men earned silver at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games just one year later.
Turnstone Coach of Sit Volleyball at the National Level (February 2016)
Turnstone's Steve Florio was added as a member of the coaching staff for the USA Sitting Volleyball A2 Team, the developmental team of elite athletes one step away from making the USA Men’s and Women’s National Team. Florio coaches the PFW's Women's Volleyball team in addition to continuing to be a vital part of our sit volleyball program at Turnstone.
Shelby Gruss 1st Turnstone Female to Earn a Spot on Team USA, Later Becomes Team Captain (February 2017)
Three times is the charm. Shelby Gruss was a finalist in both 2013 & 2015 in making team USA. Both times she came up just shy. Instead of quitting, each time she became more determined to where in 2017 not only did she make the team but she was named co-captain for the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. The determination of Gruss can be shown in many ways. Before her spinal cord injury, she was a Senior at Bishop Luers High School. During her winter break in 2010, she went snow skiing and while attempting a big air jump, the board flipped from under her. Gruss landed on her shoulder and upper back, breaking the T8 and dislocating the T9 vertebrae, paralyzing her from the waist down. The following year, Gruss began playing wheelchair basketball on Turnstone’s Division III wheelchair basketball team while attending school at IPFW. In 2013, she transferred from IPFW to the University of Illinois to study Crop Science and play Collegiate Women's wheelchair basketball. Gruss is now working on her doctorate in plant breeding and genetics at Purdue University and yes, is trying out for the 2020 Paralympic team.
Rowing Program Adds Training in Water (June 2017)
After 4 years of developing a rowing program, the group was finally able to set sail in the water for the 2017 season. There were a lot of logistics to make it all work with the program led by John Hoham, Executive Director/Head Coach of the Glorious Gate Rowing Association. Our athletes got to train with Concordia High School rowing athletes who were all certified in Adaptive Rowing at Louisville, KY which is considered the top adaptive rowing organization in the USA. Our new practice location was on the St. Mary's River near the iconic Wells Street Bridge which is now part of Fort Wayne's new Promende Park.
USA Women's Goalball Team Moves to Turnstone (October 2017)
Following the introduction of the Men's team at Turnstone in 2015, the USA Women's Goalball Team began a residential training program at Turnstone in 2017. Turnstone allowed a centralized location for the women to train together as a team, moving Paralympians and up and coming goalball athletes to Fort Wayne, along with their head coach, Jake Czechowski.
USOC designates Turnstone as official Paralympic Training Center (May 2018)
On May 17, 2018, the United States Olympic Committee and Turnstone announced an agreement designating the agency as its seventh U.S. Paralympic Training Site. Turnstone’s facilities, staff and resources provide an elite athlete training environment for current and aspiring Paralympic athletes, with a specialty in the sport of goalball, as well as developmental opportunities for athletes in other Paralympic sports.
History in the Making - Hosted Largest International Event in Fort Wayne (June 2019)
Turnstone hosted the largest international event in Fort Wayne's history for the International Blind Sports Federation Goalball and Judo International Qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. This event provided some of the world’s best athletes with visual impairments the chance to book their ticket to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Events were held at Turnstone Center, Indiana Tech and the Grand Wayne Center. Over 40 countries were represented by nearly 600 athletes, coaches and delegation staff. IBSA’s General Assembly also was held in Fort Wayne in conjunction with the competition.
Butler Leads USA Rugby Undefeated at the Parapan American Games in Peru (August 2019)
Jeff Butler and the USA Quad Rugby team went undefeated at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, August 27, 2019. USA defeated Canada 58-47 in the Gold Medal Match. Butler won Silver in the 2016 Paralympics and is projected to be on the 2020 squad. Butler grew up in Fort Wayne playing rugby at Turnstone before moving to Texas to train with the national team.
Dowling & Heer earn spots on Team USA (Power Soccer) for FIPFA World Cup in Australia (October 2019)
Current Turnstone athlete, David Dowling and Turnstone alumna, Lexi Heer, were named to Team USA for the Fédération Internationale de Powerchair Football Association (FIPFA) World Cup which will be played in 2021 at Olympic Park in Sydney, Australia. Dowling and Heer are among the 12 that were selected from 24 athletes that attended a training camp in Monticello, MN. Team USA is eyeing to reclaim their dominance in this sport as they won the World Cup in both 2007 & 2011 before losing to France in 2017.
Pfenning Representing Team USA (Track & Field) for IWAS World Games in Thailand (October 2019)
Zebidiah Pfenning will be competing in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, February 20-28, 2020, for the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games. He's among 14 athletes from the USA to be competing in Track & Field events. Pfenning is an active member of Turnstone's track and field program.
Peters Named High School All-American by U.S. Paralympics Track and Field (November 2019)
Maggie Peters was named to the 2019 High School All-American class by the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field. Maggie was one of 29 females to earn this recognition by setting national records in shot put and the 400m at Junior Nationals in July 2019. She currently trains in a multitude of sports, including training and competing with Turnstone's Track & Field team.