GENEVA, OH. – The NWBA and USA Women's Head Coach, Trooper Johnson, are excited to announce the selection of athletes for the 2021 Toyota Team USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. The selection was made at the conclusion of the 2021 Toyota Team USA Women’s Selection Camp, a five day camp at the SPIRE Institute. The twelve selected athletes will compete at the (postponed) 2020 Paralympic Games from August 24 to September 5 in Tokyo, Japan.
Women's USA Head Coach, Trooper Johnson (San Lorenzo, CA) feels confident the selection will bring success in Tokyo.
"It has been a long process, and we are excited and happy with the new athletes. We have have such a young team with incredible potential to develop. They have done an amazing job coming together in such a short time. We are ready to go defend the gold medal from Rio," said Johnson.
While the core of this team is relatively young, there is a strong presence of experienced athletes to mentor this young group. The roster includes three members of the U.S. gold medal-winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympics and returns nine athletes from the silver medal-winning team from the 2019 Parapan American Games held in Peru.
Darlene Hunter (Commerce, MI) and Natalie Schneider (Syracuse, NE) will lead the team as Co-Captains and the two most experienced players. Schneider has been a member of Team USA since winning her first Paralympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Hunter will be representing the U.S. Women’s team for her third consecutive Paralympic Games, first representing the U.S. in 2012.
Hunter and Schneider both played on the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic teams, winning gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The pair also found success on the court with a gold medal at the 2011 Parapan American Games and the 2010 IWBF World Championships in Great Britain, and silver at the 2019 Parapan American Games. In addition, Hunter also won gold at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Two-time Paralympian Rose Hollermann (Elysian, MN) will also bring strong veteran leadership having been on the U.S. Women’s squad since 2011. She was an integral member of the gold medal winning 2016 Rio Paralympic Team and has multiple Parapan American Games gold medals.
Courtney Ryan (Chula Vista, CA) will represent Team USA on her first Paralympic Team. She brings prior experience, including as a potent scorer on the 2019 Lima Parapan American Team.
Coach Johnson named several other first time members to this Paralympic Team: Josie Aslakson (Jordan, MN), Kaitlyn Eaton (Houston, TX), Bailey Moody (Alpharetta, GA), Alejandra Ibanez (Salt Lake City, UT), and Lindsey Zurbrugg (Portland,OR). Each of these athletes began their USA experience as members of the 2017 America's Cup Team that won a silver medal in Cali, Colombia. They each went on to be members of the 2nd place 2019 Lima Parapan American Games Team.
This will be Ixhelt Gonzalez (Chicago, Illinois) and Zoe Voris's (Crown Point, Indiana) second time making a National Team. Voris was a member of the 2017 America's Cup silver medal team and Gonzalez was a member of the 2018 World Championship team. Abigail Bauleke (Savage, MI) will be making her National Team debut bringing in gold medal experience from the 2019 U25 World Championships.
The U.S. Women will be led into competition at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games by head coach Trooper Johnson. Johnson has served as the head coach of the U.S. Women’s squad since 2017. He coached them to a silver medal at the 2017 America’s Cup in Cali, Colombia, sixth place finish at the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany and a silver medal at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. Before becoming the head coach, Johnson gained valuable experience as an U.S. Women’s assistant coach from 2013-2016. This of course included being a member of the coaching staff for the iconic U.S. Women’s team that captured a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Also joining Trooper Johnson on the sidelines will be:
- Assistant Coach Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin
- Assistant Coach Adam Kramer of Grand Rapids, Michigan
- Team Leader Brandon McBeain of Northfield, Minnesota
- Athletic Trainer Karla Francioni of Lexington, Kentucky
Assisting in preparations as part of the extended staff are:
- Strength and Conditioning coach Katie McClosky of Houston, Texas
- Nutritionist Sally Baumann of Greater Brisbane, Australia
- Psychologist Roberta Kraus of Colorado Springs, Colorado
These 12 athletes will compete in Tokyo, Japan for the 2020 Paralympics on August 24 to September 5. Team USA originally qualified for the Games by earning silver in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Parapan American Games. Click here to view the 2020 Paralympic wheelchair basketball schedule.
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