What To Know About Team USA’s Paralympic Team Of The Year Nominees

By Gary R. Blockus | Oct. 17, 2017, 1:40 p.m. (ET)

From continuing streaks to qualifying for the Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, the list of nominees for the Paralympic Team of the Year, presented by Dow, is a testament to commitment, hard work and the desire to be the best.

And which team emerges the winner is in your hands. Vote now at TeamUSA.org/Awards.

U.S. squads for team sprint in Para-cycling, mixed four in Para-rowing and sled hockey are nominated for the award.

Winners will be announced at the Team USA Awards presented by Dow, Best of Year, which takes place on Nov. 29 in Los Angeles and will be broadcast Dec. 23 on NBC.

Fans can vote as many times as they’d like at TeamUSA.org/Awards through Oct. 30. The fan vote will account for 50 percent of the final tally, with members of the Olympic and Paralympic family accounting for the other 50 percent.

Here is a closer look at the three 2017 nominees for Paralympic Team of the Year to help you place your vote:

 

U.S. Team Sprint, Para-cycling

Team Members: Jason Kimball, Joe Berenyi, Chris Murphy
What They Did This Year: The trio combined in the C1-5 750-meter team sprint to bring home the first-ever U.S. gold medal in the event during the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Carson, California. Berenyi and Murphy both represented the U.S. at the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Why It Mattered: The world championship gold medal helped the U.S. win both the overall and gold medal counts at the world championships for the first time.
Fun Fact: Berenyi, the United States Olympic Committee’s Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year in 2015, is a two-time Paralympian who has won four Paralympic medals and seven world championship medals. He also set a world record at the 2012 Paralympic Games.
What’s Next: All three athletes are preparing for the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships that will be held March 2-5 in Rio de Janeiro.

 

U.S. Mixed Four, Para-rowing

Team Members: Jennifer Sichel, Jaclyn Smith, Zachary Burns, Danielle Hansen, Mike Varro
What They Did This Year: This group won a silver medal in the PR3 mixed four at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, led by four silver-medal-winning Paralympians from Rio 2106, along with newcomer Varro, who just started rowing in 2016.
Why It Mattered: The silver medal was Team USA’s fourth in a row in the event at either the world championships or Paralympic Games. Sichel served as coxswain for all four silver medals.
Fun Fact: Sichel won the Clifton (N.J.) High School Drum Majorette Award for Excellence in Performance in 2006.
What’s Next: World cup season begins next June, so there’s plenty of training, and talent identification camps begin Nov. 11 in Princeton, New Jersey.

 

U.S. National Team, Sled Hockey

Key Players: Declan Farmer, Nikko Landeros, Andy Yohe, Steve Cash
What They Did This Year: The team earned a silver medal at the 2017 World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Gangneung, South Korea. The team also won a third consecutive World Sled Hockey Challenge.
Why It Mattered: The runner-up finish at worlds earned Team USA an automatic berth to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, where it will go for a third consecutive gold medal.
Fun Fact: Farmer, 19, who was named the top forward at the world championships and was part of the 2014 Paralympic team in Sochi, received an ESPY Award as the 2014 Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
What’s Next: The 2017-18 squad includes 13 members of last season’s team and will take part in the 2017 World Sled Hockey Challenge in Prince Edward Island, Canada, Dec. 1-10.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.