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UA Adaptive Athletics Well Represented in Rio Paralympic Games

UA Adaptive Athletics Well Represented in Rio Paralympic Games


UA Adaptive Athletics has been consistently represented in the Paralympic Games since 2010. The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is the largest presence of UA Adaptive Athletes in the program's history. Categorized by sport, below is a list of former and current UA athletes headed to Rio in September:

Wheelchair Track and Field:

UA Track and Field Athlete Shirley Reilly

Shirley Reilly, UA Wheelchair Track  and Field athlete, will represent Team USA for the fourth time at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
A native of Los Gatos, Calif., Reilly joined UA Adaptive Athletics in 2003 as a student athlete pursuing a degree in Public Management and Policy. The fierce competitor took home gold in the marathon division, silver in the 5000m, bronze in the 1500m, and placed fourth in the 400m and 6th in the 600m at the 2012 London Paralympic Games. Reilly also competed in the Paralympic Games in 2004 and 2008. Other titles and awards include:

  • 2010: Bolder Boulder 10K, 1st
  • 2011: IPC Athletics World Championships Competitor; Los Angeles Marathon, 1st; Chicago Marathon, 2nd U.S. finisher; Bolder Boulder 10K, 1st
  • 2012: Boston Marathon, 1st; Los Angeles Marathon, 1st; Bolder Boulder 10K, 1st
  • 2013: IPC Athletics World Championships, 2nd in 400m
  • 2015: Parapan American Games, 2nd in 400m and 800m

Reilly will be competing with 40 men and 25 other women from September 7 through September 18. For the full roster, please go to the official U.S. Paralympic site.

Wheelchair Women's Basketball:

UA Wheelchair Basketball Player Jennifer Poist

Former UA Wheelchair Women's Basketball Player Jennifer Poist is representing team USA at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, September 7 through September 18. 
Originally from McSherrystown, Pa., Poist completed a seven-year stretch with UA Wheelchair Basketball in May. She helped lead the team to three NWBA Championships in 2012, 2013 and 2014, placing first in 2012 and 2014. In addition to UA Adaptive Athletics, Poist represented Team USA at the 2012 Paralympics in London and was a member of the 2014 World Championship team.

Former UA Wheelchair Basketball Player Darlene Hunter

Photo Courtesy of Team USA Website

Darlene Hunter, UA alumnus and former UA Wheelchair Basketball player, will join Poist on the court in Rio. Hunter graduated from the UA in 2004 with a bachelor's in psychology.
Poist, Hunter eleven other players were selected by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Women's Player Selection Committee.
"The selection of the U.S. women's team was a tough choice for head coach Stephanie Wheeler and the selection committee, as all of the athletes are deserving of selection," said NWBA Executive Director Jim Scherr in a press release. "The talent of this team brings a wealth of experience from prior Paralympics and World Championships, and familiarity to draw from that will provide the United States success in Rio. This team is deep in talent, and provides our coaching staff an ability to establish numerous lineups as we build towards Rio in September." 
The U.S. Women's team won the 2015 Parapan American Games qualifying them for the Rio Paralympic Games. The women dominated the Parapan Am competition, outsourcing their opponents by 55 points per game and avenged their 2014 World Championships fourth-place finish by defeating Canada for the gold medal in Toronto, Canada. 

Wheelchair Rugby:

UA Wheelchair Rugby Player Chad Cohn

Photo Courtesy of Team USA website 

Rio is UA Wheelchair Rugby Player Chad Cohn’s second Paralympic Games. A Tucson native, Cohn competed with the USA Wheelchair Rugby team in the London 2012 Games and took home bronze.

UA Wheelchair Rugby Player Josh Wheeler

Photo Courtesy of Team USA website

Josh Wheeler, UA Wheelchair Rugby player, is headed to Rio for his first Paralympic Games. Originally from Medford, Oreg., Wheeler competed on the national team at the 2014 World Championships in 2014. The team took home bronze.

Wheelchair Tennis:

UA Wheelchair Tennis Head Coach Bryan Barten and Player Dana Mathewson are traveling alongside former players David Wagner and Kaitlyn Verfuerth to Rio de Janeiro in early September to represent Team USA at the 2016 Paralympics.

The UA Wheelchair Tennis team has a long history on campus of producing top level athletes. The team has been consistently represented on the USA National Team for the last five years. Five UA Wheelchair team members competed in the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

UA Wheelchair Tennis Player Dana Mathewson

Mathewson, a California native, fell in love with the game at 13 years old and began playing tennis for the UA in August 2009 while pursuing a dual bachelor degree in Psychology and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She is currently a graduate student studying Audiology and is ranked No. 17 in the world for the women’s singles division and No. 15 in the world for the women’s doubles division.

UA Head Coach Wheelchair Tennis Bryan Barten

Barten, initially from Hart, Michigan, has been coaching at the UA since 2007 and has led his players to multiple collegiate titles, including the Collegiate National Singles Champion in 2011 and 2012 and the Collegiate National Doubles Champions in 2012. Rio will be Barten’s second attendance at the Paralympic Games. He competed in the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Former UA Wheelchair Tennis Player David Wagner

Photo Courtesy of ITF website

Wagner played for the UA Wheelchair Tennis team in the early 2000s as a community member. This will be Wagner’s fourth time representing Team USA at the Paralympic Games. He competed in 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Beijing and 2012 in London. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the world for the quad singles division and No. 1 in the world for the quad doubles division.

Former UA Wheelchair Tennis Athlete Kailyn Verfuerth

Photo Courtesy of ITF Website

Verfuerth competed with UA Wheelchair Tennis from August 2010 to May 2012, while completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Originally from Port, Washington, Verfuerth began her tennis career when she was 14 years old. Rio will be her third appearance at the Paralympic Games. She competed in 2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing. Verfuerth is currently ranked No. 24 in the world for the women’s singles division and No. 21 in the world for the women’s doubles division.

Former UA Wheelchair Tennis Athlete Adam Kellerman

Photo Courtesy of ITF Website

Adam Kellerman, former UA Wheelchair Tennis player, will represent team Australia in Rio this September. Kellerman was an international student athlete at the UA from 2010 to 2011. 
“Following the most successful Paralympic Tennis Event in history at London 2012, I am confident that this year’s event will be an equally memorable competition,” said David Haggerty, International Tennis Federation president in a press release. “Wheelchair tennis has become one of the most popular Paralympic sports thanks to its outstanding athletes and great personalities, and we are looking forward to a great atmosphere and some fierce competition.”
A total of 100 players from 29 countries will compete for six gold medals in early September. The full roster of players and additional details can be found on the ITF website.


Former UA Wheelchair Basketball Player Alana Nichols

Photo Courtesy of Team USA Website

Alana Nichols, former UA Women's Wheelchair Basketball player, will represent Team USA in Paracanoe in Rio this September. Rio will be Nichols 5th Paralympic games and her third sport in the Games. In 2008 and 2012, Nichols competed on the USA Wheelchair Basketball team and competed in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games for skiing. Click here to read more about Nichols.