BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA – The Lakeshore Foundation played host to 14 of the nation’s top Boccia athletes and six ramp operators from Feb. 24-27, as the U.S. team came together for its first major gathering since the 2021 World Boccia Americas Regional Championships in December.
Among other important agenda items for the team, the first-of-its-kind camp included athlete selection for BISFed events in 2022,, and the development of standards for the national team going forward.
“Our athletes put in grueling days of head-to-head competition as well as having their skills assessed on five different metrics,” Team USA coach Kathy Brinker said. “We had strong performances from many of the athletes who are working in new licensed balls as required by BISFed in this triennium. I am proud of the team going forward with their work ethic to improve their performance.”
Athletes in attendance included much of the team that exceeded expectations at the World Boccia Americas Regional Championship in Brazil, and all classifications were represented at the camp. Top athletes in attendance included Austin Hanson (Topeka, Kansas), Nick Taylor (Wichita, Kansas), Michele Lynch (Westmont, Illinois), Henry Sawyer (Callahan, Florida) and Natalie Chastain (Oak Park, Illinois), all of whom recorded wins for Team USA in Sao Paolo.
Taylor spoke highly of the support the team received from Lakeshore, as well as his overall experience at the camp.
“The facility at Lakeshore had everything we needed, and the staff was right there to take care of whatever needs arose during our training,” he said. “I would like to thank the USOPC, everyone at Lakeshore, and of course coach Brinker as well as our other Team USA coaches, for providing this opportunity for all of the athletes.”
Team USA has a quick turnaround before its next major events in its quest to qualify for the 2022 Boccia World Championships. Team members are preparing to travel to Veldhoven, Netherlands, and Cali, Columbia, for their first international competitions of 2022.
For media requests and inquiries, please contact Kristen Gowdy at Kristen.Gowdy@usopc.org.
Austin Hanson, BC3
Charles Fleisch, BC3
Cornelius Oatis, BC1
Fawad Zakai, BC3
Henry Sawyer, BC4
James Miranda, BC3
Jeremy Palmer, BC4
Kalvin Blauert, BC3
Kevin Scott Stokes, BC4
Marck Harrison, BC2
Michele Lynch, BC2
Natalie Chastain, BC3
Nick Taylor, BC4
Wyatt Struxness, BC1
Anthony Blauert, Ramp Operator
Julia Dykes, Ramp Operator
Michelle Miranda, Ramp Operator
Mohammad Zakai, Ramp Operator
Sabrina Hemmingway, Ramp Operator
William Lowry, Ramp Operator