2008 PARALYMPIC GAMES: U.S. Men's & Women's Wheelchair Basketball Teams Ready to Take to the Court

Sept. 06, 2008, 5:24 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING, China –The 2008 U.S. Paralympic Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Teams are set to begin competition at the Paralympic Games.  The men’s team opens pool play against Israel on Saturday, Sept. 7, and the women kick-off on Sunday, Sept. 8, against Germany.

The teams have been in Beijing for nearly one week and have had an opportunity to take in the sights of the Athlete’s Village, the competition venues and the city, itself.

“This is so far above what I have ever dreamed it would be,” said Loraine Gonzales (Ft. Worth, Texas), who is playing in her first Paralympic Games.  “Everyone has been incredibly helpful and accommodating.  Seeing these amazing venues in person makes me even more excited to get out on the court to begin our journey to achieving our goal of winning the gold medal.”

The men’s team has also been hard at work preparing for tournament play to begin and three-time Paralympian Jeff Glasbrenner (Little Rock, Ark.) says the team is raring to go.

“We feel great.  We had a nice opportunity to get out into the city and experience Beijing, but now we’re focused and ready to take care of business and bring home the gold,” said Glasbrenner.

The U.S. women are defending gold medalists from the 2004 Paralympic Games and the men’s team is looking to improve on its seventh place finish in Athens.

2008 U.S. Paralympic Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team
Eric Barber (Whitewater, Wisc./Chicago, Ill.)
Joe Chambers (Whitewater, Wisc./Davis, Calif.)
Jacob Counts (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Covington, Ken.)
Jeff Glasbrenner (Little Rock, Ark.)
Jeremy Lade (Janesville, Wisc.)
Matt Lesparance (Whitewater, Wisc.)
Jaime Mazzi (Whitewater, Wis/Dorchester, Mass.)
Jason Nelms (Fort Worth, Texas/Detroit, Mich.)
Mike Paye (Warren, Mich.)
Paul Schulte (Bradenton, Fla./Manchester, Mich.)
Matt Scott (Whitewater, Wis./Detroit, Mich.)
Steve Serio (Champaign, Ill./Westbury, N.Y.)

2008 U.S. Paralympic Women's Wheelchair Basketball Team
Sarah Castle (Champaign, Ill./Centennial, Colo.)
Patty Cisneros (Champaign, Ill./Lake Station, Ind.)
Loraine Gonzales (Ft. Worth, Texas)
Carlee Hoffman (Champaign, Ill./Cutlerville, Mich.)
Emily Hoskins (Murray, Ky./Mascoutah, Ill.)
Mary Alison Milford (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Magnolia, Ark.)
Becca Murray (Germantown, Wis.)
Alana Nichols (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Farmington, N.M.)
Christina Ripp (Littleton, Colo./Dane, Wis.)
Jennifer Ruddell (Champaign, Ill.)
Natalie Schneider (Lincoln, Neb.)         
Stephanie Wheeler (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Norlina, N.C.)

For more information, or to arrange an athlete interview, please contact Susan Katz at 139-1075-4845 (Dial 011-86 plus the local number if calling from the U.S.).

Additional resources available in the U.S. Paralympics Media Room.

Daily video highlights will be available on www.usparalympics.org and www.universalsports.com