University News

Five Warhawks to represent Team USA at Parapan Games

November 16, 2023

Written by Chris Lindeke | Photos by Craig Schreiner

Five members of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater family are set to compete on a world stage this month as they represent Team USA at the Parapan American Games from Nov. 17-26 in Santiago, Chile.

AJ Fitzpatrick and Talen Jourdan, current members of the Warhawk men’s wheelchair basketball team, and Jake Williams, a former Warhawk and current head coach of the men’s team, are members of the men’s team.

Williams, who earned a BSE in physical education in 2015, was a member of the gold medal winning Team USA at the 2022 International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) World Championships and claimed gold medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics and 2016 Rio Paralympics. He was a member of the 2019 team that won gold at the Parapan Games in Lima, Peru.


Jake Williams wearing a shirt that says WIN with an American flag.

Paralympics gold medalist and world champion Team USA member Jake Williams, head coach of the Warhawks men's wheelchair basketball team, observes scrimmages on June 28, 2023.


Jourdan is a senior studying general business, while Fitzpatrick is a sophomore majoring in human performance. Like Williams, Jourdan was a member of the 2022 IWBF World Championships gold medal team. Fitzpatrick is competing internationally for the first time after earning a spot on the Intercollegiate Division All-Rookie Team as a freshman at UW-Whitewater in 2022-23.

Josie DeHart and Rebecca Murray, who attended UW-Whitewater and competed for the Warhawk women’s wheelchair basketball team, will play for the women’s team. DeHart, who is originally from Fruita, Colorado, attended the university from 2018 to 2022 and earned a BSE in physical education.


Two wheelchair basketball players talk off the court.

Laura Vacek, left, and Josie DeHart talk during halftime during a two-day tournament of teams men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams from the U.S. and Canada in Kachel Fieldhouse on June 18, 2022.


Murray graduated in 2014 with a BSE in special education and has enjoyed a successful career in wheelchair basketball, having previously won Parapan medals in 2007 and 2011. In 2021, the Germantown native earned an ESPY Award for Best Athlete with a Disability in Women’s Sports.

All five athletes were selected to their teams by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee following selection camps over the summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In group stage competition, the women compete against Chile at 12:15 p.m. CST on Saturday, Nov. 18, while the men begin play Sunday at 6:30 a.m. CST against Brazil. View the entire schedule here.

Fans can follow the games live by visiting the Parapan American Games webpage. To follow the games that Warhawk wheelchair basketball athletes are participating in, visit the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Facebook page.

UW-Whitewater is recognized consistently for exceptional programming and outcomes for students with disabilities. The Warhawk men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams are club sports that compete nationally.

The Warhawk men’s team has won 13 national championships since 1982, while the women have claimed three national titles. Several of each program’s alums are Paralympic medalists.

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