U.S. Paralympics Cycling Announces 2023 National Team
by Kristen Gowdy
Noah Middlestaedt competes for Team USA. (Photo: Casey Gibson)
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – U.S. Paralympics Cycling today named 23 athletes and one guide to its national team for the 2023 season. In addition to the first-ever UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup competition on home soil, the year before the Paralympic Games Paris 2024 includes the 2023 world championships and Parapan American Games.
An experienced group of cyclists in both the road and track disciplines will lead Team USA into these major competitions. Twenty-one of the 23 have competed at a major international championship.
“This team brings a wealth of experience to the international stage for us this year,” Ian Lawless, Director, U.S. Paralympics Cycling, said. “We’re very excited to head into the year before the Games with a group that knows what it takes to experience success at the highest level. They will have plenty of opportunities to showcase that talent in what is already a historic year for us with the first domestic world cup competition ever.”
Eleven Paralympic medalists return to the national team, headlined by 17-time Paralympic medalist Oksana Masters (Louisville, Kentucky) and eight-time Paralympic medalist Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado). Masters won double gold in road events at both the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships, while Jones, a 22-time worlds medalist, returned from retirement last season and will seek her first world championships appearance since 2017. Both dual-sport athletes, Masters is the most decorated U.S. Winter Paralympian of all time, while Jones is a medalist in alpine skiing.
Two-time Paralympic medalist Samantha Bosco (Claremont, California) is coming off the most dominant season of her career, having won two rainbow jerseys on the road and three additional medals at the 2022 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships, in addition to winning the WC4 overall world cup title. Bosco is joined by fellow WC4 athlete Shawn Morelli (Meadville, Pennsylvania), a three-time Paralympic champion who won U.S. Paralympics Cycling’s only gold medal in Tokyo. Morelli is also a 16-time world championships medalist.
Other Tokyo medalists on this year’s national team include Aaron Keith (Woodinville, Washington), Ryan Pinney (Phoenix, Arizona), Jill Walsh (Syracuse, N.Y.), Freddie De Los Santos (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.), and Alicia Dana (Putney, Vermont).
Keith finished 2022 strong with four world championships medals across road and track, a career-high for the veteran athlete. Meanwhile, Pinney, Dana, and De Los Santos, who teamed for the mixed relay bronze in Tokyo, bring a history of success to the handcycling roster with a combined 14 world championships berths. Walsh, a WT2 athlete at three-time Paralympic medalist, makes the team looking to add to her nine career world championships medals.
Kate Brim (Lowell, Michigan) broke onto the scene last season by winning the first two world championship titles of her career. She and Jenna Rollman (Rancho Cucamonga, California), who has competed internationally for Team USA since 2019, round out the women’s handcycling team.
2022 world championships medalists Clara Brown (Falmouth, Maine), Chris Murphy (Rancho Cucamonga, California), John Terrell (Converse, Texas), and Dennis Connors (Beaverton, Oregon) also return to the national team for Team USA.
A 2020 Paralympian, Brown had a successful season in both road and track, winning the first road rainbow jersey of her career before bringing home three medals at track worlds. Terrell also competed at both road and track world championships, earning two bronze medals on the track after nearly clinching the overall MC4 world cup title on the road. Murphy, a two-time Paralympian snagged the eighth world championships medal of his career, a silver in the MC5 time trial on the track. In addition to winning his second world championships medal last season, Connors also won a national title in Paraclimbing.
Paralympic champions Jamie Whitmore (Somerset, California) and Travis Gaertner (Burien, Washington) are the final two returning Paralympic medalists on the 2023 roster. Whitmore has been a staple on the national team since winning two Paralympic medals in Rio, while Gaertner is a two-time Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair basketball who is seeking his first Paralympic team berth as a cyclist.
Track cycling veteran Justin Widhalm (Bridgeport, Nebraska), who has raced in six world championships, is set to compete in the MC4 classification this season. He is joined on the track by up-and-coming athletes Katie Walker (San Diego, California) and the tandem team of Hannah Chadwick (El Cerrito, California) and Mary-Kate Wintz (Cincinnati, Ohio) all three of whom made their world championship debuts in 2022.
Noah Middlestaedt (Saint Cloud, Minnesota) and Elizabeth Mis (Medina, Ohio), who raced at last year’s road world championships, each earned a berth on the 2023 national team, and Owen Daniels (Fontana, California) rounds out the team with his second consecutive year on the roster. Daniels won his first career world cup medal last season in Belgium.
Team USA is currently gathered for a national team camp in Solvang, California, and then will set its sights on the 2023 UCI Para-Cycling World Cup in Huntsville, Alabama. Follow U.S. Paralympics Cycling on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and results from the team.
For media requests and photo inquiries, please contact Kristen Gowdy at Kristen.Gowdy@usopc.org.
2023 U.S. Paralympics Cycling National Team
Mary-Kate Wintz (pilot)
Freddie De Los Santos