COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced Wednesday the 2018 U.S. Women’s World Championships Wheelchair Basketball Team, following a three-day selection camp at the Olympic Training Center. The 2018 U.S. Women’s World Championship Team sees the return of two athletes from the 2016 Paralympic Games gold-medal team. The U.S. Women’s Team consists of 12 athletes that will compete in the 2018 IWBF World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, in August.
2016 Rio gold medalists Rose Hollermann of Elysian, Minnesota, and Abigail Dunkin of New Braunfels, Texas, return to lead 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 one of the youngest women’s team rosters, with an average age of 18.5 years old.
“We have an incredibly young group with a lot of potential and energy,” said U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Trooper Johnson. “It’s great to see this group of young women start the process of pushing this sport forward so early and it will be exciting to see how they perform in the World Championships.”
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.
The two returning U.S. Paralympians will be joined by their University of Texas at Arlington teammate, Morgan Wood of Gordonsville, Tennessee.
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 four athletes that are still in high school: Ixhelt Gonzalez of Chicago, Illinois; Ali Ibanez of Murray, Utah; 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.
The following four athletes will be alternates for the World Championships team: Josie DeHart of Fruita, Colorado; Sarah Heinzl of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Jordan Kozloski of Warner Robin, Georgia; and Shantelle Winslow of Centerville, Utah.
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 and 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.
The 2018 IWBF Women’s World Championships pools were established in late January. Team USA will square off with Algeria, Argentina, China, France, and Germany in Pool B. In Pool A, the following countries will play for advancement: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, and The Netherlands.
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
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
Rose Hollermann, Elysian, Minn., Univ. of Texas-Arlington, 1995
Ali Ibanez, Murray, Utah, 2000
Riley Ljungdahl, Longmont, Colo., 2000
Bailey Moody, Alpharetta, Ga., 2001
Emily Oberst, Brookfield, Wis., Univ. of Illinois, 1998
Morgan Wood, Gordonsville, Tenn., Univ. of Texas-Arlington, 1993
Lindsey Zurbrugg, Portland, Ore., Univ. Wisconsin-Whitewater, 1998
Josie DeHart, Fruita, Colo., 2000
Sarah Heinzl, Pittsburgh, Penn., Univ. Arizona, 1989
Jordan Kozloski, Warner Robin, Ga., 2000
Shantelle Winslow, Centerville, Utah, Univ. Arizona, 1995