2020 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team Announced
By NWBA Staff
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association announced the final roster for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team.
This selection was made at the conclusion of the three-day Toyota Team USA Women’s Selection Camp, at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 2020 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team will comprise of 12 athletes nominated to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games scheduled to be held from August 25 to September 6, 2020, in Tokyo, Japan.
While the core of this team is relatively young, there is a strong presence of experienced athletes to mentor this young group. Six of these athletes will personally be defending their gold medal from 2016 Rio Paralympics. The roster returns all 12 athletes from the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, where the U.S. brought home a silver medal on the way to qualifying for Tokyo 2020.
2020 U.S. Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Senior National Team
Josie Aslakson | Jordan, MN | 1.0
Megan Blunk | Gig Harbor, WA | 3.0
Abigail Dunkin | New Braunfels, TX | 3.5
Kaitlyn Eaton | Houston, TX | 1.5
Rose Hollermann | Elysian, MN | 3.5
Darlene Hunter | Commerce, MI | 1.0
Alejandra Ibanez | Salt Lake City, UT | 2.5
Bailey Moody | Alpharetta, GA | 4
Rebecca Murray | Germantown, WI | 2.5
Courtney Ryan | Chula Vista, CA | 2.0
Natalie Schneider | Ord, NE | 4.5
Lindsey Zurbrugg | Portland, OR | 2.5
Among the final selection of athletes, six are experienced, Paralympic gold-medal winning athletes: Megan Blunk (Gig Harbor, WA), Abigail Dunkin (New Braunfels, TX), Rose Hollermann (Elysian, MN), Darlene Hunter (Commerce, MI), Rebecca Murray (Germantown, WI), and Natalie Schneider (Ord, NE).
Courtney Ryan (Chula Vista, CA) will represent Team USA for her second straight year after her appearance at the Parapan American Games last year. Josie Aslakson (Jordan, MN), Kaitlyn Eaton (Houston, TX), Bailey Moody (Alpharetta, GA), Alejandra Ibanez (Salt Lake City, UT), and Lindsey Zurbrugg (Portland,OR) secured spots on the U.S. Women’s team after being part of the squad in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Murray and Schneider played together on the 2012 and 2008 Paralympic teams, winning their first Paralympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. They also played together during the 2011 Parapan American Games where the U.S. Women won gold. The pair also found success on the court with a gold medal at the 2010 IWBF World Championships in Great Britain.
Blunk joins the roster for the second time since 2016 where the U.S. Women’s team captured gold at the Rio Paralympics. Blunk also won a gold medal for the U.S. at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
Two-time Paralympian Rose Hollerman and teammate Abigail Dunkin have played together on the U.S. Women’s squad since 2015. During this time the two have secured two gold medals in competition, including one from the 2016 Rio Paralympics, and two silver medals (2017 America’s Cup and 2019 Parapan American Games).
Hunter will be rejoining the U.S. Women’s team for her third Paralympic Games, first representing the U.S. in 2012. Hunter will be among those working to protect their gold medal from the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
In addition to the 12 athletes selected to the U.S. Women’s roster, four athletes were named as alternate selections to the roster. Those alternate selections are: Abigail Bauleke (Savage, MN), Elizabeth Becker (Weddington, NC), Ixhelt Gonzalez (Chicago, IL), and Shelby Gruss (Ossian, IN).
The U.S. Women will be led into competition at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games by head coach Trooper Johnson of San Lorenzo, CA. Coach 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, Columbia, 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.
Joining Coach Johnson on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Amy Spangler of Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Kramer of Westchester, Illinois. Also supporting the team is Athletic Trainer Karla Francioni of Lexington, Kentucky, and Team Leader Kearstin Gehlhausen of Denver, Colorado.
All nominations to the 2020 U.S. Paralympic Team are pending approval of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee.