FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Staff Sgt. Shawn Runnells, Warrior Transition Battalion, was recognized for his excellence as an athlete at the WTB holiday party and achievement luncheon Dec. 15 at the Soldier Family Assistance Center on 674 Warrior Road.
He recently competed in the regional Warrior Games trials, a wounded Soldiers Paralympics.

"This last trials that I competed in was wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball and the air rifle," Runnells said. The regional trials was held Nov. 28 to Dec. 8 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Lindsay Gaudet, WTB adaptive reconditioning program site coordinator, said Runnells is in the running to be added to the Army team for wheelchair basketball.
"He's a good prospect for the Army team after going to the trials and they were really interested in him," she said.

If chosen, he will join the Army wheelchair basketball team and compete against other teams from other branches of service.

Before this, Runnells was an armor crewman tank commander. He later had extensive knee cap surgery, which severely limited his range of motion in his legs in addition to a shoulder injury. He said staying active through sports gave him the chance to continue to pursue his competitive side.

"I'm super competitive in anything that I do," he said. "(Being able to participate in sports) just supports me in this time to just release the energy and everything that I need to be comfortable in this condition that I am in."

Of all the categories of sports he participates in, he enjoys the team events the best.

"I think it's more rewarding to see everybody else on your team happy as a group," he said. "When you can help other people achieve the same thing as a group, to me it's just more rewarding. You know that you helped that person."

Runnells is gearing up for the next Warrior Games trials in of February 2018 in Fort Bliss, Texas. He hopes his perspective on sports can encourage more people in similar situations to participate with him.

"I just really look forward to it and hope I can take more people with me from here," he said. "I see so many people with the same competitive attitude that I have."

Additionally, Runnells also interns for Gaudet's adaptive reconditioning program. She said he is a good addition to her team because of his reliability.

"He assists me and the adaptive team put on all the events and plan them," she said.
"He's a good addition to the program because he is very helpful. We can give him a task and he can do it right away. We don't have to worry about anything."

Not present during the luncheon was Staff Sgt. Matthew Olsen, WTB, who was recognized for placing third in the cycling competition during the last regional Warrior Games trials.