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Thirteen Warhawks head to Rio to compete in Paralympics

July 26, 2016

Written by: Jeff Angileri    Photography by: Craig Schreiner and Joe Kusumoto

Just a few weeks after starting her new job as head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women's wheelchair basketball team, Christina Schwab is preparing for international competition.

Schwab will join 12 Warhawk alumni in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where they will compete for three different countries in the Paralympic Games, September 7-18.

A decorated, experienced athlete of the U.S. squad, Schwab competed in Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 (gold medalist), and Beijing in 2008 (gold medalist). In London in 2012, she competed as a wheelchair racer in the 400-meter, 800-meter, 5,000-meter and marathon events. Rio marks her return to basketball.

200 Beijing gold"The feeling is indescribable, and changes year to year," Schwab said. "I was really excited during my first Paralympics because you're competing at a top level you worked hard to get to. Now, it's bigger than me. I'm representing the people who supported me along the way — family, friends, my teams from home — and I'm representing my country. I get to wear "USA" across my chest."

Originally from Dane, Wisconsin, Schwab graduated from Lodi High School and later, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she won three national titles with the Fighting Illini.

She likely would have pursued her college degree at UW-Whitewater, Schwab said, but at the time, campus did not have a women's wheelchair basketball team.

"UW-Whitewater always felt like family to me. As a kid, I learned how to play basketball in Roseman Gym at the camps, and whenever I was on semester break during college, I was always welcome to train with the guys on the Warhawk men's team. They were like big brothers to me."

SchwabShe's excited to take the helm of the women's team, now in its ninth year.

"I really want to emphasize how a team is a family — how what student-athletes learn here will make them a better player and better person off the court."

Warhawk alumni competing in Rio include:

Mareike Adermann Miller, Germany
2013 BBA General Management, 2014 MBA Business Administration

Warhawk Paralympians

Andre Bienek, Germany,
2012 B.A. International Studies

Warhawk Paralympians

Mariska Beijer, Netherlands
Attended 2013-2015

Warhawk Paralympians

Vanessa Erskine, USA
2015 BSE Physical Education

Warhawk Paralympians

Laura Fuerst, Germany
Attended 2012

Kearstin Gehlhausen, USA
2014 BSE Physical Education

Warhawk Paralympians

Nate Hinze, USA
2011 BSE Physical Education

Warhawk Paralympians

Ian Lynch, USA
2007 BSE Elementary Education

Warhawk Paralympians

Desiree Miller, USA,
2014 M.S. Counseling

Warhawk Paralympians

Becca Murray, USA
2014 BSE Special Education

Warhawk Paralympians

Matt Scott, USA
Attended 2005-2008

Warhawk Paralympians

Jake Williams, USA
2015 BSE Physical Education

Warhawk Paralympians