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U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team selected in Alabama for Tokyo games

The 2020 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team has selected the 12 athletes that will represent the United States in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The national team members were chosen from 16 athletes who competed at a team selection camp at Alabama’s Lakeshore Foundation Olympic & Paralympic Training Site this past week.

“We believe that we have put together a great balance of functional athletes that will give us a chance to compete for the gold medal,” said U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby head coach James Gumbert. “This team is one of the most driven and focused I have ever worked with, and their desire to finish what they started is inspiring. During the past year many of us have experienced so many hardships and setbacks, but these elite athletes have stayed on point and continued to push each other to be the best they can be.”

Gumbert says the veteran players have been pushed by the new talent in the program and everyone has embraced the challenge to play to the highest standard. The team captains will lead a seasoned veteran class toward the postponed Tokyo Games.

2020 U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby team

  • Chuck Aoki, Minneapolis
  • Jeff Butler, Austin, Texas
  • Chad Cohn, Tucson, Arizona
  • Joe Delagrave, Holmen, Wisconsin
  • Lee Fredette, East Moriches, New York
  • Ray Hennagir, Deptford, New Jersey
  • Joe Jackson, Maricopa, Arizona
  • Chuck Melton, Richview, Illinois
  • Eric Newby, Nashville, Illinois
  • Kory Puderbaugh, Boise, Idaho
  • Adam Scaturro, Lakewood, Colorado
  • Josh Wheeler, Tucson, Arizona

Team alternates

  • Ernie Chun, Phoenix
  • Jake Daily, Belleville, Illinois
  • Liz Dunn, Pittsburgh
  • Montrerius Hucherson, Tallassee

U.S. Paralympic Rugby Team staff

  • Mandy Goff, high performance manager and team lead
  • James Gumbert, head coach
  • Sue Tucker, assistant coach
  • Jim Murdock, ATC/medical coordinator
  • Bob Murray, equipment and bench staff
  • Chuck French, equipment and bench staff
  • Meg Smith, sports psychology provider
  • Sharon Moskowitz, strength and conditioning
  • Amy Claire McMurtrie, dietician
  • Lexi Coon, photographer
  • Jen Allred, press officer

“I want to thank each athlete for their incredible sacrifice, hard work and commitment to their effort to represent the United States in Tokyo this summer,” said Lakeshore President Jeff Underwood. “I have watched all these players work and they have not made the coaches’ decisions easy. With this talent, the U.S. Paralympic Wheelchair Rugby Team looks strong. To the athletes, congratulations, good luck, and bring home the gold!”

USA Wheelchair Rugby high performance Manager Mandy Goff said the one-year delay has not deterred the team.

“When the Games were postponed last March, we made a promise to each other that we would finish what we started, and we aim to do just that,” Goff said. “Over the last 14 months we have gone through a lot together and I think that, in addition to their hard work and dedication, it’s going to be what propels us to the top of the podium.”

The team will return to Lakeshore for two more training camps, June 10-21 and August 7-17, before leaving for Tokyo.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)