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USOPC announces 240-member 2023 Parapan American Team; Wilmington's Katie Walker to compete in para cycling

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Katie Walker of Wilmington. (Photo by Casey Gibson/USOPC, courtesy of www.usparacycling.org)
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United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, Press Release Katie Walker of Wilmington. (Photo by Casey Gibson/USOPC, courtesy of www.usparacycling.org)

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Wednesday announced the 2023 U.S. Parapan American Team of 240 athletes that will compete at the Parapan American Games Santiago 2023 held Nov. 17-26 in Santiago, Chile.  

The roster is comprised of 92 women and 148 men including 91 Paralympians and 45 Paralympic medalists. During the 10-day competition, the United States will be represented in 16 of 17 sports, excluding blind soccer. 

Locally, para cycling team member Katie Walker of Wilmington will be on the team, competing in the Track TT 500m.

Other Ohio athletes include Elizabeth Neag of Medina (para cycling); Mindy Cook of Columbus (goal ball); Travis Baker of Hamilton (wheelchair rugby); Robert Beach of Dresden and Taylor Farmer of Castalia (shooting); Carson Bruner of Centerville (para swimming); Ahad Sarand of Worthington (para table tennis); and Austin Osner of Fairfield (para taekwondo).

“Following the great success of our Pan American Team, we’re thrilled to soon witness the incredibly talented roster of U.S. Para athletes heading to Santiago,” said Julie Dussliere, U.S. chef de mission for the Parapan American Games. “Not only do these Games serve as a vital pathway to Paris for many, they celebrate Team USA athletes as they represent the United States in competition and mark a great occasion in Para sport for the Americas and the Americas Paralympic Committee.”

The event marks the first time that the South American country will act as host to the Games and the seventh edition of the Parapan American Games. Held every four years and one year ahead of the Paralympic Games, the Parapan American Games are the largest multi-sport event in the Americas. In addition, the 2023 edition is first time in which the Parapans’ host city was selected under the terms of the APC-PASO agreement where both organizations worked in conjunction on the bid process for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.  

The 2023 roster includes 21 Paralympic champions. Six members from the 2020 gold-medal winning men’s wheelchair basketball team will compete in Santiago: Brian Bell, John Boie, Trevon Jenifer, Jorge Sanchez, Steve Serio and Jacob Williams.

Five reigning 2020 Paralympic Games individual gold medalists will compete in Santiago including Ian Seidenfield (table tennis) and swimmers Evan Austin, McKenzie Coan, Mikaela Jenkins and Mallory Weggemann. Paralympic champions prior to 2020 include: Joe Berenyi (Para-cycling), David Brown (Para track and field), Lisa Czechowski (goalball), Rose Hollerman (wheelchair basketball), Tahl Leibovitz (table tennis), Asya Miller (goalball), Rebecca Murray (wheelchair basketball), Natalie Schneider (wheelchair basketball) and Jamie Whitmore (Para-cycling). Additionally, three-time wheelchair tennis Paralympic champion Nick Taylor will make his Parapan American Games debut in the sport of boccia.  

Featured on the U.S. squad are 101 returning Parapan American athletes from the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 including 82 medalists and 26 gold medalists who will compete in Santiago.

Team USA athletes will be seeking Paralympic Games Paris 2024 direct qualification in two sports – table tennis and wheelchair tennis - while six additional sports can earn quotas spots for Paris including archery, boccia, men’s and women’s goalball, shooting, men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. Additionally, athletes competing in badminton, boccia, judo, powerlifting, table tennis, taekwondo and wheelchair tennis can receive ranking points which count towards overall calculations for Paris. Furthermore, swimmers can earn minimum qualifying standards for the Paralympic Games Paris 2024.  

Click here (https://click.email.teamusa.org/?qs=c3476f2eadab45bca05f13caa13cddbe485… view the complete 2023 U.S. Parapan American Team roster, sortable by sport and by hometown state. Broadcast and streaming information will be available at www.panamsportschannel.org. Additional coverage of the 2023 U.S. Parapan American Team can be found on Team USA’s social channels featuring the hashtag #Santiago2023. Visit TeamUSA.com/Santiago2023 to follow Team USA in competition, learn about Paris 2024 qualification and more.  

Team USA Notes & Storylines

• The final 2023 U.S. Parapan American Team includes 240 athletes (92 women and 148 men).

• Team USA will be competing in 16 sports.

• The 2023 roster features 91 Paralympians – including 45 Paralympic medalists and 21 Paralympic champions.

• A total of 39 states are represented (by hometown) on the U.S. roster; California leads with 22 athletes.  

• The roster includes two athletes who competed on the Paralympic Refugee Team - 2016 Paralympian Shahrad Nasajpour, originally from Iran, and 2020 Paralympian and Afghanistan native Abbas Karimi will compete for Team USA.  

• Eighty-three Team USA athletes (35 percent of the team) competed collegiately across 49 schools. In total, 43 percent of Team USA's college athletes competed in NCAA programming while 57 percent competed in adaptive, club or non-NCAA varsity programs.

• The youngest and oldest members on the team are 13-year-old swimmer Chloe Cederholm (11/8/2010) and 59-year-old table tennis athlete Micheal Godfrey (8/8/1964).

• There are three six-time Paralympians on the team (Lisa Czechowski, goalball; Tahl Leibovitz, table tennis; Asya Miller, goalball), one five-time Paralympian (David Wagner, wheelchair tennis), five four-time Paralympians (Eric Bennett, archery; Tyler Merren, goalball; Natalie Schneider, wheelchair basketball; Steve Serio, wheelchair basketball; Nick Taylor, wheelchair tennis) and 11 three-time Paralympians (David Brown, track and field; Rebecca Murray, wheelchair basketball; Rose Hollermann, wheelchair basketball; Trevon Jenifer, wheelchair basketball; Joe Berenyi, cycling; Amanda Dennis, goalball, Christopher Fleace, wheelchair rugby; Evan Austin, swimming; Mallory Weggemann, swimming; McKenzie Coan, swimming; Pam Fontaine, table tennis).  

• 23 athletes have military ties – including 13 with Army, one with Air Force, one with the Navy and seven with the Marine Corps. USA Shooting, U.S. Paralympics Cycling and U.S. Paralympics Track & Field have the most representation, each featuring four athletes with military ties.

• 42 athletes identify as parents, including 33 fathers and nine mothers.

* Team statistics are subject to change and the roster may be adjusted due to injury, illness or exceptional circumstances up to the technical meetings for each sport.