2014 Travel & Training Recipients
Dania Vizzi, Shooting, Odessa, FL
Dania Vizzi intends to use this grant money to support her trip to China for the Shotgun International World Cup, where she can win an Olympic quota spot. Although Vizzi has only been competing in the sport of skeet shooting for three and a half years, already she has won an international title and held a world record. She hopes to medal in the upcoming World Cup competitions in Germany and China, as well as the World Championships in Spain. Having these wins under her belt will give her the experience and confidence to fulfill her dream of being a part of the United States Olympic Team.
Sarah Beard, Shooting, Colorado Springs, CO
Sarah Beard has an impressive shooting career – she won gold and silver medals during the 2010 World Championships, won a bronze medal in the last Pan American Games, and earned two NCAA titles during her time at Texas Christian University. Beard narrowly missed making the Olympic team in 2012 and is motivated and excited to carry on her pursuit of the 2016 Olympic Games. She wishes to utilize this grant to fund her travel abroad to train with other countries in order to elevate her performance to the next level of competition.
Elizabeth Beisel, Swimming, Saunderstown, RI
This grant awarded to Elizabeth Beisel will help her work with some of the best swimming coaches in the United States, and allow her the opportunity to travel to the most competitive meets throughout the world. Beisel hopes to become one step closer to reaching her goal of making her third Olympic appearance. She has had tremendous success competing on the international stage – winning the silver medal in the 400 IM and the bronze medal in the 200 backstroke, but now has her sights set on Olympic gold for the 2016 Games.
Rosie Brennan, Skiing-Cross Country, Park City, UT
Rosie Brennan is a previous grant recipient, having received funding from the Women’s Sports Foundation back in 2012. Brennan was a distinguished cross-country skier at Dartmouth College and has begun the transition to competition in the World Cup series. This year she hopes to make the World Championship team and continue to be a competitive force during the World Cup season. Brennan intends to use this grant money to cover the costs of attending two National Team training camps, which would allow her the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in the sport that she loves. This grant would help to alleviate the financial stress of traveling a World Cup schedule and would help offset the associated costs.
Sydney Collier, Equestrian, Ann Arbor, MI
Sydney Collier intends to use this grant to pay for entry fees, horse transportation costs, travel expenses and coaching fees during the course of competition to help her continue her successful career as a competitive Grade 1b member of the United States Para Equestrian Association. At age seven, Collier found her love of riding while simultaneously being diagnosed with Wyburn-Mason – a syndrome in which tumors affected her control of the left side of her body and destroyed her vision. These complications led to brain surgery, during which Collier suffered a stroke. Collier has not given up her love of riding and recently competed in the 2014 World Equestrian Games placing ninth in the 1b division. In the next couple of years Collier plans to continue her training toward selection as a member of the 2016 United States Paralympic dressage team representing the USA in the Paralympic Games.
Erika Flowers, Skiing-Cross Country, Belgrade, MT
Erika Flowers is a ski racer who is focused on becoming the first U.S. woman to bring home a medal in the sport of Nordic skiing. She has competed in seven Junior Olympic competitions and has earned three All-American titles during her stint as an NCAA D-I athlete. Flowers has three specific goals for this upcoming season: win the 10km skate race at U.S. Nationals, earn her first World Cup start, and podium at OPA Cup Finals in the European Continental Cup Series. She plans to dedicate more time to training in order to build strength and improve her skiing technique. This grant would help cover the added expense of the extra training.
Savannah Graybill, Skeleton, Denver, PA
This grant will help cover the costs of international flights, baggage fees and expensive equipment associated with the sport of skeleton. Graybill wishes to utilize this grant to fund her upcoming 2014-2015 World Cup tour in order to continue competing at the elite level, have access to successful coaches, experience more difficult courses and gain a better understanding of training practices. She has had numerous top results at the International Cup and North American Cup over the last three years and is determined to work hard to reach her goal of competing in the 2018 Olympic Games.
Colleen Gulick, Cycling, Spring City, PA
Colleen Gulick has proven to be a competitive and successful athlete. A recent graduate of the University of Maryland – where she was a Division I field hockey student-athlete, two-time ACC Champion and two-time National Champion – Gulick has transitioned to the sport of cycling. During the 2013 season she earned top results in national and international competitions and qualified for the upcoming Cycling Track World Cup. This past August, Gulick made the move to California to join the national team in training, while working to achieve her goal of competing in the 2016 Olympic Games. This grant will help to alleviate the financial burden of race entry fees as well as the travel expenses necessary for participation and experience within a successful cycling season.
Ashley Hejlik, Judo, Latham, NY
Ashley Hejlik is ranked ninth in the United States in the sport of judo. She won the 52kg brown-belt division of the 2013 USA Judo Senior National Championships and was a member of Team USA during the 2014 season. Hejlik is relatively new to the sport of judo but has had a dominant impact in her competitions and shows tremendous potential for future success. Her goals for 2014 include making the World Ranking List and becoming ranked No. 1 in the United States for her new weight category, 48kg. She plans to use this grant money for tournament entry fees, travel expenses and clinic costs, which will help her to build up her experience in the sport and in international competition.
Storm Klomhaus, Alpine Skiing, Boulder, CO
Storm Klomhaus is a 15-year-old alpine ski racer who has recently moved to TEAM Academy to continue her high school education in conjunction with competitive ski training. Klomhaus competes for the USSA Team Academy at the under-16 level, won the Junior Championships last year, and qualified to compete again this year. This upcoming season is her first year of FIS competition, and she hopes to begin to lower her FIS points and gain experience on a more competitive playing field. Within the next five years, Klomhaus hopes to become a member of the U.S. Ski Team’s World Cup team and compete in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea.
Erika Lang, Waterskiing, Gilbert, AZ
Erika Lang is a trailblazer in the sport of women’s waterskiing. Lang is the 2013 Women’s Trick Waterskiing Champion and world record holder for trick waterskiing but is not stopping there. She has her sights set on bigger and better tricks and performances in the hopes of elevating the standards of women’s waterskiing and closing the gap between the level of performance between men and women in this sport. Lang plans to use this grant money for gas, travel and coaching expenses and move her training to Florida, where she can continue to train and compete at the elite level.
Esther Lofgren, Rowing, Alexandria, VA
Esther Lofgren plans to use this grant to cover the costs of physical therapy, regatta entry fees, travel expenses and equipment. Among numerous athletic achievements, Lofgren has won back-to-back World Championships with her teammates in 2010 and 2011, set a world record in the 2012 Rowing World Cup and won Olympic gold in London. She is motivated and determined to continue her successful rowing career with her sights set on earning a seat on the USA women’s eight team and winning gold in both the 2015 World Rowing Championships and the 2016 Olympic Games.
Maddie Mastro, Snowboarding, Wrightwood, CA
Maddie Mastro has been snowboarding since she was six years old. She was the USA Snowboarding Association’s Overall National Champion for three years running from 2007-2010. Mastro was named to the U.S. Snowboarding rookie team in 2013 and was the Revolution Tour Overall Halfpipe winner in 2014. Her goals for this upcoming season are to podium during the Dew Tour, Grand Prix Events and to qualify for the U.S. Open in halfpipe. This grant will help her work towards achieving those dreams by covering the high costs that come with traveling and training at such an elite level.
Miranda Melville, Track and Field, Rush, NY
Miranda Melville is a competitive athlete in the sport of race walking. Melville was the 15K National Champion in 2013 and finished second in the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials 20K Race Walk in 2012. She is focused on this upcoming season with an eye on the World Race Walk Cup, which will be held in China. Melville plans to use this grant to cover the costs of training and traveling as an elite athlete, and hopes to eventually be able to reach out to and give back to all generations of women through the sport of race walking.
Christine Neville, Sailing, Middletown, RI
This grant will help to cover Christine Neville’s travel and competition expenses for the upcoming sailing season in the pursuit of her ultimate dream of making the 2016 Olympic Games. Neville wishes to utilize the funds to allow her to participate in a greater number of international races to expose her to a higher level of competition that will get her ready for the 2016 Olympic Games. In 2015 she hopes to be the top American in laser sailing and finish in the top five at the Sailing World Championships.
Beth Newell, Cycling, Oakland, CA
Beth Newell plans to use the grant to upgrade her cycling equipment and to pay for international travel expenses associated with World Cup competitions in order to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games. She has been on the USA National Team since 2012 and was recently selected to represent the United States at the World Championships in 2014. Newell is motivated to train and improve at the elite level and gain experience on the international stage while pursuing her dreams of racing at the 2016 Olympic Games.
Angela Parra, Weightlifting, Ormond Beach, FL
Angela Parra has spent the past six years serving in Iraq on active duty in the Air Force and recently has started to make the transition to full-time weightlifting athlete. Parra dreams of training and competing at the elite level in the hopes of making the 2016 Olympic Team. She has earned recognition as the Alaska State Champion for the past two years and was awarded the honor of strongest female regardless of weight class at the 2012 Alaska State Weightlifting Championships. Parra intends to use this grant money to pay for travel expenses related to participation in international competitions, which will allow her to garner the necessary points and experience needed to make the world championships team.
Danielle Reynolds, Archery, Gilbert, AZ
Danielle Reynolds has been shooting archery since she was 13 years old. During her first year competing, Reynolds earned a spot on the United States Archery Team and has been a competitive archer ever since. This grant will help cover the costs of travel to national tournaments, which are necessary competitions in order to continue to qualify for the United States Archery Team. Reynolds is currently ranked No. 1 in the Junior Division and hopes to start to shoot in the Senior Division so she can work toward making the World Cup Team and fulfilling her ultimate dream of competing in the Olympic Games.
Laura Ryan, Diving, Athens, GA
Laura Ryan was named 2014 NCAA Diver of the Year and is currently aspiring to make the 2016 Olympic diving team. She is a diver on the U.S. National Team and is scheduled to compete in the FINA World Cup in the upcoming season. Success at this competition will put her in a great position leading up to the Olympic Trials and help her move one step closer to competing in the Rio Games. Ryan plans to use this grant to cover the costs of travel that her international competitions demand.
Maia Shibutani, Figure Skating, Ann Arbor, MI
Maia Shibutani is a previous Women’s Sports Foundation grant recipient and has been a great example of confidence and success in a young, female athlete. Shibutani partnered with her brother, Alex, as an ice dancing team that became the youngest team in the history of the sport and the first Americans to debut at the World Championships on the podium. They were able to compete at the 2014 Olympic Games and are now focused on the “Road to 2018.” Shibutani plans to use this grant to work with the best ice dancing coaches, specifically in the style of Spanish dance.
USA Softball Women’s National Team, Softball, Oklahoma City, OK
Since its inception in 1965, the USA Softball Women’s National Team has won an unprecedented 20 gold medals at the Olympic Games, ISF World Championships, and the Pan American Games combined. Recently the IOC decided to no longer consider softball an Olympic sport – therefore drastically reducing essential funding to keep this team competing at an elite level. No longer able to compete in the Olympic Games, the Women’s National Team has their sights set on winning the World Cup of Softball, the Canadian Open, and the ISF World Championships, which would put them on the path to regaining the No. 1 World Ranking.
USA Team Handball Women’s National Team, Colorado Springs, CO
One of USA Team Handball’s many goals is to build up their sport’s popularity in the United States while becoming a dominant presence in the international playing field. While handball is played in many cities and communities nationwide, it does not have quite the same amount of interest and level of play as it does in other countries from around the world. For the 2014 season, USA Team Handball hopes to qualify for the Pan American Games, which would put them on the direct road to the 2016 Olympic Games. This grant would cover the cost of international travel for training tours in Brazil, France and Mexico, which would help the team prepare to play on a higher level of competition.
USA Water Polo Women’s Senior National Team, Water Polo, Huntington Beach, CA
The USA Water Polo Women’s National Team is a previous grant recipient, having received funds in 2012. This team was first awarded a spot in the Olympic Games back in 2000 and has since medaled in every Olympic Games, including a gold-medal finish in the 2012 Olympic Games. The team is focused on top performances in the upcoming FINA World League Super Final, Pan American Games and FINA World Championships, all in preparation of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games. This grant would help cover the costs of domestic team training as well as international competitions, all which would allow the team more opportunities to grow stronger and improve their skills in the sport of water polo.
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