COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Standout performances during September earned boxer Duke Ragan (Cincinnati, Ohio), tennis player Sloane Stephens (Plantation, Florida) and the U.S. Para-rowing mixed four team Best of September honors for the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, the United States Olympic Committee announced today.
Duke Ragan became the first male American boxer to advance to a world championship gold-medal bout – in any weight class – since 2009, taking silver in the men’s bantamweight division at the AIBA World Boxing Championships on Sept. 2 in Hamburg, Germany. In doing so, he also became the first American to compete in the men’s bantamweight final since 1982. The second-place finish also marked the first U.S. silver medal at the world championships since 2009 and was the third U.S. medal of the event. Making his international boxing debut this season, the 19-year-old advanced through the tournament by defeating boxers from China, Cuba, India and Scotland.
In her first appearance in a major final, Sloane Stephens won her first career Grand Slam singles title by capturing the US Open on Sept. 10 in New York. Stephens recorded only six unforced errors and upset six seeds – including a 6-3, 6-0 win over 2016 Olympic teammate Madison Keys in the first All-American final since 2002 – to claim the title and improve from No. 83 to No. 17 in the world rankings. With the win, she became the first American woman not named Williams to win a Grand Slam title since Jennifer Capriati won the Australian Open in 2002.
The U.S. Para-rowing PR3 mixed coxed four team continued its podium streak at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida. With four out of five team members returning from its silver-medal-winning performance at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, the team was a boat to watch — and it did not disappoint, finishing second behind Great Britain to earn the team’s fourth straight silver at a world championships or Paralympic Games competition. The team was led by coxswain Jennifer Sichel and included fellow Paralympians Jaclyn Smith, Zachary Burns, Danielle Hansen, along with Mike Varro.
In addition to Dow, the presenting sponsor, the Team USA Awards are supported by DICK’S Sporting Goods and USG.
About the Team USA Awards
Each National Governing Body may nominate one female, one male and one team per discipline. An internal nominating committee selects five nominees from both the male and female categories, and three from the team category to advance to the voting round. Votes received from NGB representatives and select members of the media account for 50 percent of the final tally, with the other half determined by online fan voting via TeamUSA.org/Awards.
Each of the five monthly men's and women's finalists, and three team finalists automatically qualify for consideration for the 2017 Team USA Awards presented by Dow Best of the Year. Visit TeamUSA.org for a complete list of monthly finalists from the 2016-17 qualification period, which runs from September 2016-August 2017. The 2017 Best of the Year Awards will be held in December.