Nils Jorgensen - 2.0 - 1998
Class: 2.0 Player
Jersey Number: 13
Home: Oakland, California
Hall Of Fame Induction: 1999
Team: Boston Pitbulls 1988-1990, Berkeley Quadzilla 1991-1997.
Growing up with a disability, Nils Jorgenson never had a team sport where he could showcase his abilities. After dominating speed events as a class 1B in wheelchair track from 1977-1988, Nils burst onto the rugby court with the Boston Pitbulls. As a known speedster on the track, he was lured to Rugby in 1988 and both he and the dark clad Pitbulls were immediately successful. In their first year in the league, Nils and the tenacious Pitbulls were runners-up to the National Champion Dallas Sidekicks. As a class 2.0 ball handler flying up and down the court with a wave of long blonde hair in his wake, Nils was known for his speed, power and tenacity. Throughout his career in rugby Nils was frequently the fastest player on the court despite pushing on old grey tires. He was also frequently assigned to cover the opponent's #1 player in the days when one on one pressing was the norm. He was an excellent defender with great chair position and quick hands.
In 1990, Nils was selected to USA's first National team that went on to win Gold at the Stoke-Mandeville Wheelchair Games in Aylesbury, England. Nils was no stranger to Stoke; he had been there in 1981, 1982 and 1984 for track and won gold in numerous individual and relay events. 1990 would be no different as Team USA dominated and Jorgensen won Gold again.
The following year Nils, looking for a change was heavily recruited by teams looking for a player of his caliber. Berkeley Quadzilla won the Nils stakes as he switched coasts. He would help Quadzilla get to the next three USQRA Championship games. Nils converted to a post player, where he set the standard for class two posting in the key. His ability to get in and out of the key with quickness and power was unparalleled by mid-point players. In the 1993 National Championship classic against Tampa, Nils scored 24 goals. He was a complete player on both ends of the court. His coach, Reggie Richner once said, "He's the Michael Jordan of rugby, he can cover like a glove and score when he wants." Nils made regular trips to the all-tournament podium during the late 80's and early 90's, often battling fellow Hall of Famer Dave Gould for best class 2.0. They would compliment each other on National teams in 1990 and 1993, with Gould as a ball handling 2.0 and Jorgenson as a post player. In 1993, USA and Nils would win Gold in Stoke Mandeville for a final time. Nils was again selected to Team USA in 1995 for the World Championships, but he was not able to attend.
Over his 10-year career, Nil's patented power stroke with his wings up high crashing down onto his wheels, hair flying in the air, and his bright orange shoes were all trademarks of one of the most colorful players to play the game.