Children's Lightning Wheels Paralympic Sports Club Sets National Records

August 20, 2018

The Children’s Lightning Wheels Paralympic Sports Club (PSC), a program of Children’s Specialized Hospital, competed at the 35th annual Adaptive Sports USA Junior National Championships July 22 -27, 2018. Ten athletes from the nationally ranked team traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana to compete in the Paralympic style competition in swimming, table tennis, track and field, and powerlifting where they finished second in the large team division.  The athletes earned a total of 82 medals – 57 first place medals, 19 silver and 6 bronze and achieved a total of 32 personal best and set 6 national records in powerlifting and field events.

With only ten participants, the Children’s Lighting Wheels was the second smallest competing team. Athletes included Aidan Cairns, 11, Nicholas DaPonte, 10, Matthew Fertig, 22, Sarah Maher, 13,  Kiko Mina, 14,  Eva Niemeijer, 20, Vanessa Strunk, 19, Isaac Sullivan, 18,  Joel Tapia, 9, and Matt Tomain, 18. The team was accompanied by coaches Paul Kolterjahn, Anne Marie Santos, Julie Goerlich and Trisha Yurochko.

Kiko Mina, of Lake Hopatcong, received the Spirit of Excellence Award in table tennis. He was acknowledged for his dedication to training and knowledge of the sport. The award is given to an athlete that shows an exemplary display of vision, focus, commitment, persistence, discipline and sportsmanship. Mina has competed in table tennis for the past two national championships and serves as an ambassador for the sport.

“All of the events were very competitive which you would expect when over 200 high caliber athletes from across the country come together. Our Children’s Lightning Wheels PSC athletes dug deep within themselves to rise to the challenge and by doing so had great success.  The amount of personal records that our team achieved this year was incredible.  All of the hard work paid off and our coaching staff could not be more proud of their commitment, passion and pure athleticism,” said Trisha Yurochko, head coach.

The Children’s Lightning Wheels PSC welcomes those ages 6 – 22 that have a primary diagnosis of a physical disability and are interested in being part of an athletic team.  The program is not only an athletic team but also a place where the participants can build their confidence, independence and self-esteem as well as developing a healthy lifestyle and creating life-long friendships.

For more information on Children’s Lightning Wheels PSC, visit

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges — from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At 13 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective so each child can reach their full potential.  To help, or find more information: call 888-CHILDRENS; visit; Facebook:; Twitter:; YouTube:; LinkedIn:'s-specialized-hospital