MINNESOTA'S OLYMPIC HOPEFULS
Former Minneapolis resident Paula Lynn Obanana and teammate Eva Lee are ranked 18th in the world in women's doubles after winning gold at last month's Pan Am Games. Obanana, who now trains in California, is a native of the Philippines who emigrated to Minnesota with her family in 2005. She has competed for the U.S. since gaining citizenship in 2011.
The Lynx's Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus were part of the United States team that won the 2014 FIBA world championship, which secured the Americans a place in the 12-team Olympic tournament. Their new Lynx teammate Sylvia Fowles and former teammate Monica Wright also are in the national team player pool. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve will be an assistant to U.S. coach Geno Auriemma in Rio.
Grand Rapids native Heidi Henriksen won silver medals in the light heavyweight class (178 pounds) at the past two USA Boxing elite national championships; she also competed at the 2014 world championships, losing in the quarterfinals. Because the Olympic tournament includes only three women's weight classes, Henriksen is trying to qualify for a spot at the Olympic trials in the middleweight (165 pounds) division.
2012 Olympian Alise Post of St. Cloud is ranked third in the world in women's BMX racing and won her fifth U.S. title this year. Kelly Catlin of Arden Hills is considered a rising star; she won the women's individual time trial in road cycling at the Pan Am Games last month and also helped the U.S. earn silver in women's team pursuit on the track.
Laura Ryan of Elk River has won two national titles in 3-meter synchronized with Abby Johnston and made her world championships debut last month, when she finished ninth in synchronized and 25th in individual on the 3-meter board. Apple Valley resident Jessica Parratto, who won the 2015 NCAA title in platform diving as a redshirt freshman at Indiana, finished 21st at the world championships in individual platform and ninth in synchronized platform with Amy Cozad.
A member of the U.S. senior national team since 2013, Maggie Nichols of Little Canada finished third in the all-around, uneven bars and floor exercise at the 2014 U.S. championships. She has recovered from a knee injury suffered last fall and performed brilliantly at last month's Secret U.S. Classic; in a meet that featured most of the top gymnasts in the country, she finished third in all-around and floor and fifth in uneven bars and balance beam.
St. Francis native Kiana Eide, who now trains in Northbrook, Ill., was part of the U.S. team that won the country's first gold medal in group competition at the Pan Am Games last month.
Megan Kalmoe, who was born in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Croix Falls, Wis., won a bronze medal in the women's quadruple sculls at the 2012 London Olympics. After competing in the women's pair for the past two seasons — earning silver with partner Kerry Simmonds at the 2014 world championships — she is trying to make the U.S. team for the 2015 world championships in a larger boat.
Rugby sevens will make its Olympic debut in 2016, and three Minnesotans are in the player pools that will produce the rosters for the U.S. men's and women's teams. Garrett Bender and Nate Augspurger of Minneapolis helped the Americans qualify for the Olympics by winning a regional tournament in June. Kathryn Johnson of Hopkins was part of the team that lost to Canada in the gold-medal match at the Pan Am Games.
Since winning a gold medal in the 400-meter medley relay at the 2012 Olympics, Rachel Bootsma of Eden Prairie has won two NCAA titles in the 100 backstroke. She will swim the 50 back at the world championships this week. Former Gopher David Plummer of Minneapolis, a longtime member of the national team, finished ninth in the 100 back at the worlds and also will race the 50 back.
TRACK AND FIELD
About two dozen athletes with Minnesota connections competed at the USA Track and Field national championships in June, including Team USA Minnesota distance runners Gabriele Grunewald, Heather Kampf and Meghan Peyton; former Gophers athlete Ben Blankenship; and 2012 Olympians Kara Goucher and Amanda Smock. St. Paul resident and St. Cloud State grad Heather Miller-Koch won the silver medal in the heptathlon at the Pan Am Games and was fourth at the national championships.
St. Paul resident Gwen Jorgensen became the first Minnesotan to make the 2016 Olympic team when she won a test event in Rio on Sunday. Jorgensen is the defending world champion and has won 11 consecutive World Triathlon Series events.
Two former Gophers, Tori Dixon of Burnsville and Lauren Gibbemeyer of St. Paul, and Molly Kreklow of Delano are members of the U.S. women's national team. All three were on the roster that won last month's FIVB World Grand Prix Finals, where Kreklow was named best setter.
Andy Bisek of Chaska won a bronze medal in Greco-Roman (75-kilogram weight class) at the 2014 world championships, the first U.S. Greco medal at the world meet since 2009. Bisek and Jordan Holm of Minneapolis (85 kg) are ranked No. 1 in the country in their weight classes and will wrestle at next month's world championships. Several other members of the Minnesota Storm club are ranked in the nation's top three, including former Gopher Dustin Schlatter of Minneapolis (#2, 70 kg freestyle).