2019 Travel & Training Fund Recipients
The Women’s Sports Foundation has awarded a total of $28,000 to six athletes and one team through our Travel & Training Fund program. This first group of 2019 grantees hail from six states and compete in six sports. With many athletes training for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, World Championships and more, the Travel & Training Fund helps fuel the athletic dreams of competitors, and is generously supported by WSF National Partners Gatorade and Fox Networks Group.
*Biographical information provided at the time of application submission, November 2018
The United States Sumo Female National Team
The United States Sumo Female National Team is a blossoming program both nationally and internationally. In 2018, the International Olympic Committee fully recognized Sumo as an Olympic sport, and the women on the U.S. national team are representing not only the U.S., but the continent of North America as they train for competitions, and hopefully the Olympics. The team placed first at the 2018 U.S. Women’s Sumo Open and the Georgia Open. In 2017 the National Team was honored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo, Japan for their outstanding efforts. The Travel & Training Fund grant will help the team fund women’s training camps and get their top elite athletes to the 2019 World Championships.
Alanna Flax-Clark, Equestrian, Granada Hills, Calif.
Currently ranked 7th in the world as a Grade 2 Para-Dressage Rider, Alanna Flax-Clark is hoping to translate her success to the Paralympics in 2020. Alanna began riding horses as a form of therapy after years of recovering from different surgeries and treatments once she was diagnosed with a chronic neurological disease at the age of 13. In 2008, during her early twenties, she contracted an infection that worsened her healing progress. It was during this recovery that she found hippotherapy (horse therapy. After just five years of riding, she has become an internationally known, winning rider. Most recently she won both the individual and team title during the 2018 winter season. The Travel & Training Fund grant will help Alanna pay for training costs for the next six months and care for her horse, a Dutch Riding pony named El Paso.
Stephanie Zundel, Cycling, Hampton, N.J.
Stephanie Zundel is passionate about inclusion of all athletes, especially those with disabilities. With a personal motto of ‘educate and advocate,’ Stephanie works with different parts of her community to increase access to sports for all disabled people. As a blind tandem cyclist, she is currently training in hopes of competing in the 2020 Paralympics. At the 2018 Tennessee Paracycling Open, Stephanie placed first in the 44-mile road race and the 20k road time trial, as well as holding the best time trial for all women in all categories. The Travel & Training Fund grant will help Stephanie pay for a custom tandem bike for training and competing.
Rachel Stelter, Soccer, Conroe, Texas
After continued success in her collegiate and amateur soccer career, Rachel Stelter is hoping to advance to the next level of play. Rachel graduated from Davidson College as one of their star players and went on to play in amateur leagues in Prague, France and the United States. She has most recently served as a training player with the Houston Dash. Her love for soccer is not just limited to the field: she has been able to use her passion to help young girls get involved through her self-created organization, Houston Soccer School. The Travel & Training Fund grant will help Rachel pay for coaching and training expenses as she prepares for the National Women’s Soccer League season in hopes of signing with the Dash.
Sade’ Smith, Triathlon, Haymarket, Va.
At just 16 years old, Sade’ Smith has already made her mark in the world of triathlon and duathlon. Competing since she was 8 years old, Sade’ now trains as a USAT Junior Elite athlete and competes in races around the country. Between balancing her schoolwork and triathlon training, she will continue to add international competition to the mix. In three of her last four races, Sade’ has placed as first female in her Age Group 16-19 and top 10 as Overall Female. The Travel & Training Fund grant will help her with travel expenses for the upcoming year, including the ITU Duathlon World Championship in Spain this April.
Brittany Warly, Triathlon, Colorado Springs, Colo.
A decorated triathlete, Brittany Warly is training to compete at the global level in upcoming World Cup competitions. In 2018, she placed third in sprint distance at the International Triathlon American Cup in both Montreal and Magog. Balancing her career in mechanical engineering and training, Brittany hopes her hard work will eventually help her to qualify for the 2020 and 2024 Triathlon Olympic Teams and train as a full-time professional triathlete. She hopes to use her experiences as an athlete and engineer to inspire young girls to work towards their goals both academically and athletically. With the assistance of the Travel & Training Fund grant Brittany will be able to focus more solely on her training and travel to more international competitions.
Cathryn Gray, Track & Field, Alpharetta, Ga.
Cathryn Gray is an All-American track & field athlete as just a sophomore in high school. She also competes with cerebral palsy, but she hasn’t let that hold her back. In 2017, Cathryn was the only female named as a U.S. Paralympic Track & Field All-American, in addition to being the 2017 javelin and discus national champion. She currently holds the national record for javelin as well. These incredible performances led to her being named to compete at international competitions in Spain and England this summer. She hopes that she can inspire others to realize that having a physical challenge does not mean your dreams are out of reach. With the Travel & Training Fund grant, Cathryn will be able to travel internationally to compete this upcoming year.
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