Wheelchair Rugby Preview
The U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team is heading into the 2019 Parapan American Games in strong fashion. The men’s team is the defending Paralympic gold medalists from the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and won silver at their most recent international competition, the 2018 IWBF World Championships. The same core athletes that played in the 2018 world championships are returning. Some of those core athletes that will be key players this year are Steve Serio, Matt Scott, and Jake Williams. Josh Turek, who was on the team that won gold in Rio, has returned to the sport after retiring in 2016. In order for the men’s national team to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020, they must place top three at the Parapan American Games. 

The U.S. Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team struggled last year, placing sixth at the 2018 IWBF World Championships. The average age of the team was 20 years old, led by veterans Rose Hollermann and Abby Dunkin. Hollermann and Dunkin are both coming into the 2019 Parapan American Games with a gold medal from the U-25 world championships. Two key players from 2016 Paralympic Games were brought back: Becca Murray and Natalie Schneider. The team faces the challenge of balancing the new talent with the young talent. In order for them to qualify to the 2020 Games in Tokyo, they must place in the top two at the Parapan American Games.