Ten U.S. Athletes To Watch At The Parapan American Games Lima 2019

By Melissa Zhang | July 23, 2019, 1:42 p.m. (ET)

With less than a month until the 2019 Parapan American Games kick off on August 23rd in Lima, Peru, Team USA is gearing up to travel down to South America. A record 1,850 athletes will be competing in the Peruvian capital, including many Americans looking to take home hardware. Take a look at 10 U.S. athletes to watch next month:

 

1) Hannah Aspden, Swimming
Paralympic swimmer Hannah Aspden competing in backstroke.
Hannah Aspden (S9/SB8/SM9) is only a rising sophomore at Queens University of Charlotte, but the swimmer is already a two-time Paralympic bronze medalist. The Raleigh, North Carolina native was the youngest Team USA swimmer to earn a medal at either the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in Rio 2016. Aspden has continued to make a name for herself from there, breaking two short course American records in the 100-meter backstroke (1:13.09) and the 100-meter freestyle (1:07.55). She earned a national championship title in December in the 100-meter backstroke, and won silver in the 4x100m medley relay at the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships in Cairns, Australia.


2) McKenna Dahl, Shooting

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2016 Paralympic bronze medalist McKenna Dahl is only 23 years old, but has already risen to the top of her sport and doesn’t seem to be stopping. The Arlington, Washington native became the first U.S. women to win a medal in shooting at the Paralympic Games when she won gold in the mixed air rifle event in Rio. Dahl earned two medals at the recent 2019 USA Shooting Nationals in the 50-meter prone rifle event (SH2 R9) and in standing air rifle (SH2 R4).

3) Joe Delagrave, Wheelchair Rugby

Co-captain Joe Delagrave is back on the national team roster after being an alternate for the United States at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. A father of three, Delagrave brings plenty of experience to the team as one of the veterans who earned a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games London 2012. The U.S. wheelchair rugby team finished second at the Four Nations Invitational this past May in Birmingham, Alabama. Lima will be the team’s next big international test, as it works towards a qualification slot for Tokyo 2020.

4) Amanda Dennis, Goalball

Amanda Dennis blocks a ball during a goalball match.

One of the veterans of the U.S. women’s goalball team, Dennis has been a leader on the court for years now. The two-time Paralympian helped the Americans win a bronze medal at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, after making her Paralympic goalball debut at London 2012 at 18 years old. She contributed to the team’s gold-medal finish at the 2014 world championships in Espoo, Finland, and most recently helped the U.S. women win a silver medal at the 2019 IBSA Goalball & Judo International Qualifier in Fort Wayne, Indiana this July, where they also qualified for 2020 Paralympic Games. Watch Dennis and her teammates as they look to continue their momentum.

 

5) Ben Goodrich, Judo

Ben Goodrich is pictured competing for the U.S. Paralympic Judo Team at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.
Ben Goodrich most recently helped the United States win a team silver medal at the 2019 IBSA Goalball & Judo International Qualifier. He earned gold (100 kg.) at the 2019 German Open, and two silver medals at the 2018 Tokyo International Judo Championships and 2018 IBSA Pan American Judo Championships. Goodrich will be facing off against some of the best judo athletes from the Americas when he heads to Peru.

 

6) Rose Hollermann, Wheelchair Basketball

Rose Hollermann competing on behalf of Team USA at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

Rose Hollermann, a student at the University of Texas-Arlington, has emerged as one of the big stars for the United States women’s wheelchair basketball team. The two-time Paralympian is only 23 years old, but has helped the United States win a gold medal at the Paralympic Games Rio 2016. The Elysian, Minnesota native and her teammates will seek to defend their Parapan American Games title from 2015.

 

7) Noah Malone, Track and Field

Noah Malone has been one of the biggest rising stars in track and field for U.S. Paralympics. The high school junior from Fishers, Indiana won the 100- and 200-meter events at the Drake Relays this past May, and set a world record in the T12 100m at the Hoosier Crossroads Conference meet. Malone is only 17 years old, but has already shown plenty of promise, as he recently set a second world record and became a state champion in the 200m, and has earned several accolades, including U.S. Paralympics’ 2018 High School Track Athlete of the Year. With Malone gaining plenty of momentum leading up to Lima, be sure to watch him race at his first Parapan American Games.

 

8) David Wagner, Wheelchair Tennis

David Wagner returns a serve in wheelchair tennis at the Wimbledon championships in London, England.

David Wagner has been one of the top American wheelchair tennis players for the past two decades. The 45-year-old from Portland, Oregon is the No. 2-ranked quad singles and No. 1-ranked quad doubles player in the International Tennis Federation world rankings. He’s competed in four Paralympic Games, winning eight medals in total: three gold, three silver and three bronze, and has won 19 grand slam titles in wheelchair tennis. Watch out for Wagner as he seeks yet another podium finish in Lima.

   


9) Justin Widhalm, Cycling
Justin Widhalm competing in track cycling.
The Colorado Springs, Colorado native is hitting his stride in 2019. The cyclist just won his first career world championship medal, earning bronze in the MC4 time trial at the 2019 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands this past March. Widhalm also maintained his national champion status for the kilo time trial, winning the WC4 title at the 2019 USA Cycling Para-cycling Track National Championships, this July in Carson, California. The two-time national champion will look to continue his momentum down in Peru this August.

 

10) Jillian Williams, Sitting Volleyball

Jillian Williams competing for the U.S. women's sitting volleyball team.

Opposite hitter Jillian Williams will be competing in her first Parapan American Games with the U.S. as one of the newer players on a very strong team. The Odem, Texas native helped the U.S. earn a silver medal at the 2018 World ParaVolleyball World Championships. Coach Bill Hamiter credited her performance in her first major competition, saying “at the world championships, Williams competed in her first really big competition, and she played pretty well when given the opportunity. I think she is one of those players who, if she continues her development, we will definitely count on in the future.” The U.S. Women’s Sitting Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, has won the past two Parapan American Games in 2011 and 2015. Be sure to watch Williams and her teammates defend their title on the volleyball court in Lima.