Togetherness helped Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team win back-to-back titles

A timeline of UTA Movin Mavs national titles.

Jakob Gorton

Timelines shows the national titles won by the UTA Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team.

Jakob Gorton, Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas ­­–– The University of Texas at Arlington Movin’ Mavs wheelchair basketball team clinched its second straight NWBA intercollegiate national championship this past March.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the team’s undefeated 2020 season to a screeching halt, members of the Movin’ Mavs have been more determined than ever to prove their success is not just a fluke.

“We always felt that, you know, we should have won [and] we would have won in the year of 2020 of nationals,” senior and co-captain Clarence McCarthy-Grogan said. “Unfortunately, COVID happened.”

McCarthy-Grogan, was unable to play during the 2021 season due to COVID travel complications from his home country of Australia to the United States.

“Coming back here to UTA for my final year to finish off in 2022 when we were hosting, it just made it that much more special [and] we knew we had to just shut the doubters up,” McCarthy-Grogan said. “Because we knew that if we didn’t win, then we would just prove them right.”

With all the outside noise and pressure to prove that they belong at the top, the Movin’ Mavs adopted a one-word mantra that reminds them of who they are fighting for and what it’ll take to keep their spot as national champions: Together.

Despite all the adversity that the pandemic and outside doubters brought, the Movin’ Mavs knew they’d have to rely on each other, and the only thing that mattered is what they accomplished on the court.

“I would say that for overcoming adversity with the Movin’ Mavs this year, it was about keeping our eye on the prize, keeping our focus on the games and trying to control only what we could control,” co-captain Aaron Summerill said. “And last but not least, by sticking together on the court.”

Even members of the team who were unable to compete this year due to injury played a role in the back-to-back titles. Isaac Hummer has been unable to compete due to lingering concussion symptoms stemming from a January 2021 seizure and concussion.

“For me, watching another season where I had to sit out due to my concussion it was tough, but having the team behind me and me being able to still be on the sidelines for the team was great,” Hummer said. “One of the hardest parts of my injury is looking fine and not feeling fine. But I tell you what, watching the hard work finally pay off again was awesome. It made it that much better seeing them hold the trophy this year at home.”