COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – The NWBA is excited to announce the initial selection of athletes for the 2019 U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team. The initial selection was made at the conclusion of the Toyota Team USA Men’s Selection Camp, a four day camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The initial selection of athletes to the 2019 U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team is the hopeful athletes to compete at the 2019 ParaPan American Games from August 23 to September 1 in Lima, Peru.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the high quality of athletes that attended this tryout,” said 2019 U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, MO. “I’m thoroughly impressed with their continued improvement each day. I again appreciate the effort and performance of all athletes that attended the 2019 Toyota Team USA Men’s Selection Camp.”
The group of 19 athletes proves to be rich with veteran talent and a welcomed addition of younger elite athletes. The pool includes nine members of the historic U.S. gold medal-winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The roster returns eleven athletes from the 2018 IWBF World Championships and nine athletes from the most recent Parapan American Games held in Toronto in 2015.
Among the selected athletes are Mike Paye of Macomb, MI, and Steve Serio of Westbury, NY, the two captains of the gold-medal winning team from the 2015 Parapan American Games. Paye and Serio played together on the 2006, 2010 and 2018 IWBF World Championship teams, and were together again at the 2016 Rio Paralympics where the U.S. Men won gold. Paye was a member of the 2004 Athens Paralympic team, and Serio was a contributor to the bronze-medal team for the 2012 London Paralympics.
Matt Scott of Detroit, MI, joins the initial pool of athletes in hopes of making the final roster which would be his fourth appearance for the U.S. at the Parapan American Games. Scott has seen action on the big stage since the 2004 Athens Paralympics and has earned two Paralympic medals in 2012 and 2016.
Three-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, IA makes a return to Team USA after a two-year hiatus. Turek played a vital role on the gold-medal 2016 Rio Paralympic team and represented his country on the 2014 U.S. World Championship squad that won a silver medal. Turek was a member of the last two U.S. Men’s teams for the Parapan American Games (2011 and 2015).
Ian Lynch of Bellevue, KY, Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, WI, John Boie of Milton, WI, and Trevon Jenifer of Edinboro, PA, are looking to bring back gold for Team USA after they won a silver medal at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. Joining the group above in a quest of redemption are three standouts: Brian Bell of Forest Park, IL; Aaron Gouge of Grand Prairie, TX; and Jake Williams of Milwaukee, WI.
Jorge Sanchez of Dublin, CA, makes the cut for Team USA again after helping capture silver at the 2018 IWBF World Championships this past August. Sanchez was also a gold medalist for the 2013 and 2017 America’s Zonal Qualifiers. Another addition to the hopeful athletes this year is Matt Lesperance of Sun Prairie, WI, who was a member of the 2010 IWBF World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Dylan Fischbach of Vermillion, SD, returns to the pool of athletes after being selected during the first cut in 2017. Fischbach was most recently selected as the 2018 Men’s Player of the Year for the NWBA’s Intercollegiate Division while playing for the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.
Among the pool of athletes will be Ryan Neiswender of Lebanon, PA, and Jorge Salazar of Delano, CA. Neiswender and Sanchez were members of the gold-medal winning U.S. squad at the 2017 America’s Cup Zonal Qualifier. Neiswender returns for a third year on the list of athletes moving on in the selection process after the selection camp in January. Salazar is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. that has been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient.
Tyler Buysse of Gunter, TX, and Eric Rodriguez of Ashland, MO, join the pool as current teammates at the University of Missouri. Buysse makes his second straight initial cut for a U.S. Men’s National Team as he also made the initial selection in 2017. Rodriguez is the rookie in the pool of athletes initial selected. Rodriguez is a veteran that lost a leg to a roadside bomb while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan.
Ian Pierson of New Braunfels, TX, joins the pool with hopes of making his second U.S. team. Pierson first wore the red, white and blue when he was a member of the U.S. U23 Men’s team that won gold at the 2009 IWBF U23 World Championships in Paris, France.
The U.S. Men’s National Team will start their final preparations at a Toyota Team USA Training Camp scheduled for May at the Olympic Training Center.