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Two U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalists Headline 2018 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team

01/17/2018, 8:30pm CST
By Pasha Zolfaghari

After a three-day camp in Colorado Springs, CO, the final roster for the U.S. Women's Wheelchair Basketball National Team has been announced

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced the 2018 U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team, following a three-day selection camp at the Olympic Training Center. The 2018 U.S. Women’s National Team sees the return of two athletes from the 2016 Paralympic Games gold-medal team. The U.S. Women’s Team consists of 17 athletes who will come together again over the next several months for the final selection for the 2018 World Championships team roster of 12 athletes.

Two gold medal Paralympians from the 2016 games, Rose Hollermann of Elysian, Minnesota, and Abigail Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, will return in hopes of leading the team at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. Although they are only 22-years-old, the two women will serve as the veterans on this team. This is the one of the youngest aged group of athletes to try out – 21 years old.  

Team USA will prepare for the IWBF World Championships with a variety of training camps and friendly competitions. The IWBF World Championships are set for Hamburg, Germany, August 16-26, at the Edel-Optics Arena, that will feature a total of 12 athletes, which will be confirmed later this year.

The two returning U.S. Paralympians will be joined by their University of Texas at Arlington teammate, Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee.

Two players from the University of Arizona, Sarah Heinzl of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Shantelle Winslow of Centerville, Utah, have also earned spots on the 17-athlete roster. The other collegiate players who made the cut are Josie Aslakson of Jordan, Minnesota (NYU), Kaitlyn Eaton of Houston, Texas (Univ. of Illinois), Shelby Gruss of Ossian, Indiana (Purdue), Emily Oberst of Brookfield, Wisconsin (Univ. of Illinois), and Lindsey Zurbrugg of Portland, Oregon (Univ. Wisconsin-Whitewater)

The rest of the roster includes seven athletes that are still in high school: Elizabeth Becker of Charlotte, North Carolina, Josie DeHart of Fruita, Colorado, Ixhelt Gonzalez of Chicago, Illinois, Ali Ibanez of Murray, Utah, Jordan Kozloski of Warner Robin, Georgia, Riley Ljungdahl of Longmont, Colorado, and Bailey Moody of Alpharetta, Georgia.

Ixhelt Gonzalez, who plays for the NWBA’s Chicago Skyhawks is the youngest player on the roster at 13-years-old.

“This is a group of youthful athletes, who have showed their wheelchair basketball skills in the last three days, and the future of the women’s high performance is very promising,” said U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Trooper Johnson. “We have a group of committed athletes, and the coaching staff is excited in the development and progress of the U.S. Women’s Team as we prepare for the Worlds, and most importantly the 2020 Paralympic Games.”

U.S. Women’s Head Coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, CA, will coach Team USA for his first World Championships team. Johnson is a National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Famer who is the only player to make the national team 15 times. He was an assistant coach for the Women’s National Team in the 2016 Rio Games, where the team took home a gold medal. Joining Johnson on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Northport, Alabama. Athletic Trainer Karla Wessels of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado, return for a second term.

Team USA has returned home with a medal from every World Championships, except for the 2014 World Championships, since its inception in 1990. Team USA has accumulated two gold medals and four silver medals at the World Championships. Team USA has played for the gold medal in six of the seven IWBF World Championships.

The U.S. Women’s returned to the top of the podium at the Rio Paralympics, marking the third Paralympic gold medal in the last four Paralympics Games (2004, 2008, and 2016). The U.S. Women’s team dominated the field in Rio going undefeated, 7-0, and maintains the medal count lead with seven Paralympic medals, including four gold medals.

Team USA led six statistical categories over the seven-game stretch at the Rio 2016 Paralympics. It is the third time that the United States has gone undefeated at the Paralympics, en route to the gold medal. Team USA led shooting percentage at 53.8 percent; points for at 505 points (72.1/game); assists with 178 (25.4/game); fouls with 55; and the least turnovers at 61 (8.7/game). The United States was second in points against with 42.3 per game.

Up next for Team USA is a series of domestic training camps for the National Team in preparation for a couple international competitions this summer in final preparations for the 2018 IWBF World Championships.

 

2018 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team Roster

Name, Hometown, College, University, Birth Year

Josie Aslakson, Jordan, Minn., New York University, 1995

Elizabeth Becker, Charlotte, N.C., 1999

Josie DeHart, Fruita, Colo., 2000

Abigail Dunkin, New Baunfels, Texas, Univ. of Texas-Arlington, 1995

Kaitlyn Eaton, Houston, Texas, Univ. of Illinois, 1994

Ixhelt Gonzalez, Chicago, Ill., 2004

Shelby Gruss, Ossian, Ind., Purdue, 1991

Sarah Heinzl, Pittsburgh, Penn., Univ. Arizona, 1989

Rose Hollermann, Elysian, Minn., Univ. of Texas-Arlington, 1995

Ali Ibanez, Murray, Utah, 2000

Jordan Kozloski, Warner Robin, Ga., 2000

Riley Ljungdahl, Longmont, Colo., 2000

Bailey Moody, Alpharetta, Ga., 2001

Emily Oberst, Brookfield, Wis., Univ. of Illinois, 1998

Shantelle Winslow, Centerville, Utah, Univ. Arizona, 1995

Morgan Wood, Gordonsville, Tenn., Univ. of Texas-Arlington, 1993

Lindsey Zurbrugg, Portland, Ore., Univ. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1998

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