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With Almost 200 Schools Represented, Team USA Has Strong Collegiate Footprint At Pan American Games

By Leah Jenk | July 31, 2019, 10:25 a.m. (ET)

The USA 3x3 women's basketball team celebrating their championship win at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 on July 29, 2019 in Lima, Peru.


The 2019 academic year begins soon, but before many student-athletes report to campus, they are competing at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 in Peru.

Of the nearly 650 athletes representing Team USA over the 19 days of competition, almost 400 are current or former collegiate athletes. They are representing close to 200 institutions across NCAA Division I, Division II and Division III, and the NAIA and NJCAA. Stanford University leads the way with 23 athletes on 2019 U.S. Pan American Team roster.

The rosters for the U.S. basketball, bowling, diving, women’s field hockey, rowing, women’s softball, volleyball and water polo teams include 100 percent collegiate athletes, and 33 of the 36 sports with U.S. rosters include a collegiate athlete.

The U.S. men’s basketball team is comprised entirely of standouts from the NCAA Division I BIG EAST Conference and led by Providence College head coach Ed Cooley. The 12-player roster represents seven schools from the BIG EAST and is the first time a single conference will field the men’s basketball team in a Pan American Games competition.

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This is also the first Pan American Games featuring 3x3 basketball, which will also make its Olympic debut next summer. These teams were selected by USA Basketball, and the four women competing will all return to play collegiately in the upcoming 2019-20 season at the University of Oregon and University of Connecticut. In Monday’s gold-medal games, the U.S. women defeated Argentina 21-17, and the U.S. men also claimed gold with a 21-19 victory over Puerto Rico.

Several Team USA athletes utilized skills learned while competing collegiately in one sport to apply them to a new sport. The men’s and women’s team handball rosters feature many talent transfer athletes who competed in a variety of collegiate sports, including basketball, football, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.

Kathleen Sharkey, a 2012 Princeton graduate and field hockey student-athlete, was selected as the Team USA flag bearer for Friday’s Opening Ceremony. Before leading the U.S. to a fifth-place finish at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 – the best finish by a U.S. field hockey team at an Olympic Games since 1984 – Sharkey twice led the NCAA in scoring and remains Princeton’s most prolific scorer.

The Pan American Games, held every quad in the year prior to the Olympic Games and the world’s third-largest multisport event, serves as an Olympic qualifying opportunity for many sports, including diving, field hockey, sailing, shooting and water polo. Athletes competing in swimming and track and field can earn qualification standards to compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

For the next two weeks, athletes will set aside their school’s color and wear the red, white and blue together.

Related Athletes

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Kathleen Sharkey