Austin Athletes Head to Goalball Championship In Hungary

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 1, 2017 2:03 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

San Antonio is the fourth best city for basketball fans in the country, according to a report from the finance site WalletHub, released ahead of the start of the 2017 NBA Finals tonight.

“San Antonio did so well mostly because of its performance level,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with the site. “We looked at the past three seasons and saw that the win streak here was about 75 percent. That was second best in the country.”

Dallas ranked 11th best for basketball fans and Houston came in at 18 out of 30 cities.

At the end of June, four students from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) in Austin are headed to Hungary to compete in the Goalball World Youth Championships.

One of those students is 17-year-old Davieon Perez, who says this summer’s tournament is like a version of the Paralympics.

“It’s where we get to [play] versus the best players from all over the world, from every country – the top best players – and we all get put into one place and we all go at each other,” he says.

In goalball – a sport played by athletes who are blind or visually impaired – there are two teams on a volleyball-sizedcourt. Each team has three players who spread out to guard the goal, which stretches across the entire width of the court.

“The object of the game is to get a 1-and-a-half-pound ball, with bells inside of it, the size of a basketball, you try to roll that as fast as you can to the other side of the court and try to get it over the other team,” Perez says.

World War II veterans started the sport in the 1950s.

“They were trying to create a team sport that was physical and that’s when it started and it’s kind of evolved over the years,” says Mark Gronquist, who coaches the boys’ and girls’ teams at TSBVI. “In ’76 it became a Paralympic sport – and these kids are going to be on track to become Paralympians.”

TSBVI’s teams each came in second at youth nationals this year.

Like Perez, Ta’Liya Woodard is also headed to Hungary.

“We might not be able to drive a car or ride a motorcycle, but we do have a sport that we love just like anyone likes football or basketball, and goalball’s our sport and they should really check it out,” she says.

The Goalball World Youth Championships start June 30.

Six of the 40 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finalists hail from Texas.

Part One of today’s finals started this morning and will wrap tonight on ESPN.