USA Bobsled & Skeleton Announces Para National Team

Nov. 07, 2019, 11:59 a.m. (ET)

USA Bobsled & Skeleton Announces Para National Team



USA Bobsled & Skeleton (USABS) announced the seven athletes who have been selected to the 2019-2020 U.S. Para Bobsled Skeleton Team. “The athletes selected bring a wealth of sliding experience to the team,” said USABS Para Sliding Sports Committee Chair Kim Seevers.  “We’re looking forward to seeing how both the Para World Cup and American Para Cup seasons shake out.”


The U.S. will be sending three athletes to international competition. Guillermo (Will) Castillo  (Orlando, FL.) had his spot locked down thanks to his 2019 USA Para National Championships performance, leaving two spots on the team up for grabs.  After three days of sliding Steven Jacobo (Gardnerville, NV.) and Frederick (Rick) Evans (Pooler, GA) were selected to pilot the USA 2 and USA 3 sleds.


Darrin Raupp, the USABS Para Sliding Sports Team Captain was enthusiastic about the selection process saying, “The National Team named this week is the first team chosen using the selection procedure created by the new USABS Para Sliding Development Committee. These athletes have shown a commitment to sliding that has sharpened their skills and will help them challenge the tough World Cup competition.”


Will Castillobegan piloting monobobs in 2016. He competed in four Para World Cup races in 2018-2019, with a best 9th place finish at Park City . This will be Castillo’s first full year as a US Para National Team – International athlete. Steven Jacobo is the most experienced pilot on the team as he began sliding at the Park City track in 2015.  He competed for Team USA on the Para World Cup circuit through the 2016-17 season before taking a year off. Jacobo owns two 6th place Para World Cup finishes in his career and earns his fourth national team berth this season.  Rick Evans makes his debut on the national team after training in Lake Placid and Park City in 2018-2019 and competing in the 2019 American Para Cup Series.


In addition to the National Team – International athletes, four sliders were selected to represent the United States domestically. National Team – Domestic athletes will compete in American Para Cup races as well as the Para National Championships. In addition to two skeleton athletes, two athletes with pushing capability have been named to the team. In previous seasons, below-knee amputees have been classified to compete in the seated division. In 2019-2020, these athletes will no longer be eligible for World Cup competition, and recognizing the contribution of these individuals to the para sliding movement, USABS has designated two spots for push athletes on the team. A push category has been added to each of the American Para Cup races as well as the Para National Championships.


Robbie Gaupp (Havre De Grace, MD) completed a sweep of all skeleton American Para Cup races last season and walked away with the skeleton national championship in 2019. Gaupp continued his dominance in the team selection runs this week. Chris Tarte (Russellville, AR) competed in the American Para Cup series last year, earning a bronze medal in the American Para National Championships in 2019. Tarte joins Gaupp as the second para skeleton national team member for this season.


The two para push athletes selected to the team are James Klingensmith (Ruskin, FL.) and Christ Rasmussen (Coldwater, MI). Rasmussen has successfully competed internationally for Team USA as a seated athlete the previous two seasons and makes the change to push for this year. Klingensmith has been training in Lake Placid and Park City since 2016 and raced in the American Para Cup series last season. “With Christ and James taking the lead in the push division, our athletes will demonstrate what the power of ‘I can’ can achieve, as they pioneer the para movement to push and load into a sled,” said Darrin Raupp.


“The Team Selection Process is an important and time-honored tradition in our sports in which the best-of-the-best are selected from among the group of aspiring athletes to represent the USA in international and domestic competition,” said USABS Interim CEO John Rosen. “Being selected to represent the USA as the member of the National Team carries with it great honor and great responsibility. I congratulate all of our National Team athletes.”


The National Team International slides into World Cup action December 7th and 8th in Lillehammer, Norway. National Team Domestic members return to the ice for the American Para Cup and Empire State Games competitions in January.