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Former East athlete is golden

Dec. 8, 2009

Former Brookfield East student-athlete Greg Anger brought something special back with him when he returned from the Australian Paralympics Youth Games this fall.

His gold medal.

The talented Anger, who is a member of the University of Missouri wheelchair basketball team, was selected to play on the USA U20 team in the games.

He almost didn't take the invitation.

"They sent a letter of interest," Anger said. "I wasn't sure if I wanted to do that since we were in my first two weeks of practice (at UM). My coach didn't want me to go either."

But one of his former coaches, Mike Bauler, got a coaching job for the USA team and encouraged Anger to look into it.

Anger talked to University of Missouri coach Ron Lykins again, and they decided it would be a good opportunity for Anger and it would also help the Tigers with recruiting.

But now Anger had to wait for the call to see if he was officially selected.

"I was really excited," he said. "When they called me, I was shaking I was so excited."

Anger, who is a power forward for Missouri, played forward, point guard and guard for the USA team.

The team played against Team Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia, beating Western Australia, 68-55, in the medal round.

"It was a wonderful experience," said Anger's mom, Kathy, who made the trip along with Greg's father, Bob, and sister, Kelly. "We found out that Melbourne is a very progressive city.

"The venue was the location for the Commonwealth Games that were held there awhile back. The Australians were very impressed with our team, and as a matter of fact some of the competitors are interested in attending college in the United States."

Anger has cerebral palsy, which affects his stomach muscles and the tops of his legs.

"It's a birth defect," he said. "My mom wanted me to go out and do other things when I was growing up. We found this group in downtown Milwaukee which stressed independence first."

He took part in adaptive recreation programs they offered, which included basketball, hockey, football, water skiing and snow skiing.

Anger was more than competitive in various sports and he joined the Eighth-Grade National Wheelchair Basketball Association and has competed regionally and nationally with the Wheelin' Wizards from eighth grade through his junior year. He finished 37-1 in his final season, falling one game short of winning the championship.

"It was a real bummer," he said.

But Anger now has a gold medal to look at to help out wipe out that bad memory.

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