The St. Louis Rugby Rams, a quadriplegic wheelchair rugby team we've been following since former staff writer Kristen Hinman profiled super-wheeler Kerri Morgan in 2007, are headed to the sport's national tournament this week for the second time in a row. This year's difference? They've now been elevated to the Division 1 bracket, which pits together the top eight teams in the country.
The Rams, ranked No. 1 in the Midwest and No. 7 in the nation, last month hosted and won the regional tournament in Carbondale, Illinois. Eric Newby earned the tourney's MVP award.
This weekend they'll travel to Birmingham, Alabama, to play in the U.S. Quad Rugby Association Division I National Championship.
Wheelchair rugby, popularized by the 2005 documentary Murderball, combines elements of basketball, rugby and ice hockey. All players compete in manual metal wheelchairs as they try to move the ball across an opposing team's goal line. The Rams, who've been playing since the early 1990s, belong to the St. Louis Wheelchair Athletic Association.