2009 U.S. Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby National Team Announced
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--Merely two and half months after the United States claimed the gold medal in wheelchair rugby at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, the team's coaching staff came together at Lakeshore Foundation, an official U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site, to select a new group of athletes that will lead Team USA into the future. Following a weekend that tested the players' knowledge, ability and personality, a squad of 18 was chosen that will represent the U.S. at an Americas Zone qualification tournament in the fall of 2009.
Jason Regier (Denver, Colo.), Nick Springer (New York, N.Y.) and Chance Sumner (Lakewood, Colo.) all return from the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team, but the remaining 15 athletes are all fairly new to the international wheelchair rugby scene. 2004 U.S. Paralympian and bronze medalist, Brent Poppen (Paso Robles, Calif.), returns to the rugby court after spending four years with the U.S. Paralympics Wheelchair Tennis National Team. Poppen competed in tennis at the Beijing Games, as well. Wheelchair rugby is a co-ed sport, but no female athlete has ever been named to a U.S. squad - until now. Two-sport star Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Mo.) takes that honor, fresh off a strong performance on the track at the 2008 Paralympic Games.
Chad Cohn (Tucson, Ariz.), Derrick Helton (Tucson, Ariz.) and Max Woodbury (Portland, Ore.) each came close to earning a spot on the 2008 team, but narrowly missed the final cut. All three athletes are back and are looking to cement their spots on Team USA. The remaining 10 athletes are all making their first appearance on the national team. Those athletes are Chuck Aoki (Minneapolis, Minn.), Jace Beck (College Station, Texas), Clayton Braun (Opallon, Mo.), Joe Delagrave (St. Paul, Minn.), Rob Deller (Lebanon, Pa.), Jessie Honl (Gaylord, Minn.), Ryan Lindstrom (Brandon, Fla.), Lee Mercado (Pomona, Calif.), Adam Scatturo (Lakewood, Colo.) and Scott Stokes (Atlanta, Ga.).
Head coach James Gumbert (Austin, Texas) says that the group of athletes selected for the 2009 team represents the next generation of wheelchair rugby players from the United States. "We have a great, young group of men and women that will be working to continue the long history of success of the U.S. wheelchair rugby program."
2009 U.S. Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby National Team
Chuck Aoki (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Jace Beck (Austin, Texas)
Clayton Braun (Opallon, Mo.)
Chad Cohn (Tucson, Ariz.)
Joe Delgrave (St. Paul, Minn.)
Rob Deller (Lebanon, Pa.)
Derrick Helton (Tucson, Ariz.)
Jessie Honl (Gaylord, Minn.)
Ryan Lindstrom (Brandon, Fla.)
Lee Mercado (Pomona, Calif.)
Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Mo.)
Brent Poppen (Paso Robles, Calif.)
Jason Regier (Denver, Colo.)
Adam Scatturo (Denver, Colo.)
Nick Springer (New York, N.Y.)
Scott Stokes (Atlanta, Ga.)
Chance Sumner (Denver, Colo.)
Max Woodbury (Portland, Ore.)