Who to Watch: Meet the Midwest Athletes on Team USA - NBC Chicago
2016 Rio Olympic Games

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Who to Watch: Meet the Midwest Athletes on Team USA

See what amazing talent Midwest is sending to Rio in August

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Midwest will be well represented at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    If you're looking to cheer on some local athletes here's a list of who you should watch for when the Olympics begin this week.

    ILLINOIS

    Conor Dwyer: Swimming (Qualified: Freestyle & Medley)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Winnetka

    Insight: Dwyer loves all things Chicago, including the Chicago Cubs whose games he attends often. After swimming, he has hopes of entering the sports management side and potentially working with Chicago sports teams.

    Achievements: In the 2012 London Olympics, Dwyer brought home a gold medal in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay team.

    Read more on Conor Dwyer.

    Morolake Akinosun: Track & Field (Qualified: 4x100-Meter)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Aurora

    Insight: Before transferring to the University of Texas, Akinosun was voted as the “most outstanding newcomer in athletics” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Achievements: Akinosun is scored in four events during consecutive seasons at NCAA Outdoor Championships, making her the second woman in history to achieve this feat.

    Haley Augello: Wrestling (Qualified: 48kg)

    Midwest Connection: Lives in Lockport

    Insight: As a child, Augello was introduced to wrestling by her brother, who came home from wrestling practice everyday and worked on the moves he had learned that day with Haley.

    Achievements: Augello holds the title for 2016 Women’s University Nationals champion and two-time WCWA national champion in 2014 and 2015.

    Read more on Haley Augello.

    Gwen Berry: Track & Field (Qualified: Hammer Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Southern Illinois University

    Insight: While attending Southern Illinois University, Berry majored in psychology and criminal justice.

    Achievements: Berry came in second during the 2016 Olympic trials following the lift of asthma medication ban and has hopes of reclaiming an American record in her event at Rio.

    Jimmy Butler: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Chicago Bulls

    Insight: Butler had a tough upbringing and does not look back, literally. He goes as far as removing his rearview mirror from his car to avoid this. His gratitude from his childhood led him to give back by always purchasing groceries for someone.

    Achievements: Butler became the fourth player in Bulls history to score more than 50 points in a game and the first player to be named NBA’s Most Improved player for the 2014-2015 season.

    Andrew Campbell, Jr.: Rowing (Qualified: Lightweight Double Sculls)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Barrington

    Insight: When Campbell is not rowing you can find him working at a financial technology startup company called Quantopian.

    Achievements: At the age of 17, Campbell placed second in the lightweight double sculls in the 2009 U.S. Rowing Youth National Championship and took gold in the lightweight single sculls at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

    Kelsey Card: Track & Field (Qualified: Discus Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Plainview

    Insight: Card chose her university because of the throw program and the beautiful campus. She double majored in gender and women’s studies and human development and family studies.

    Achievements: Before leaving the University of Wisconsin, Card finished her career with an NCAA championship title and a new Big 10 record throw of 208-5.

    Kevin Cordes: Swimming (Qualified: Breaststroke)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Naperville

    Insight: While still in high school, Cordes was able to secure a spot on the U.S. Junior Pan Pac Championships team for the 100 breast event in which he placed 6th.

    Achievements: Cordes won a gold, silver and a bronze at the 2015 FINA World Championships as well as a gold at the 2014 Pan Pacific Swimming Championship.

    Read more on Kevin Cordes.

    Daniel Dennis: Wrestling (Qualified: 57kg)

    Midwest Connection: Lives in Ingleside

    Insight: Throughout his career Dennis never won a championship title; however, after two years of living out west in his truck and trailer, he finished as the runner-up in World Team Trials in 2015.

    Achievements: From 2009-2010, Dennis was named a two-time NCAA All-American while attending the University of Iowa.

    Read more on Daniel Dennis.

    Elena Delle Donne: Basketball (Qualified: Guard/Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Chicago Sky

    Insight: At Ursuline Academy in Delaware, Donne was the first and only student to score over 2,000 in basketball.

    Achievements: Donne skill set has quickly gained her the recognition of being compared to that of Kevin Durant and LeBron James.

    Read more on Elena Delle Donne.

    Lauren Doyle: Rugby (Qualified: Wing/Center)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Boody

    Insight: Prior to playing rugby the summer before her senior year, Doyle ran track at Meridian High School.

    Achievements: The Eastern Illinois recruit won her first championship in 2015 during the North American Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens Championships.

    Kent Farrington: Equestrian (Qualified: Show Jumper)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Chicago

    Insight: In addition to riding carriage horses in downtown Chicago, Farrington grew up skateboarding and growing his love for architecture and interior design.

    Achievements: Farrington cites his biggest career accomplishment as winning the gold medal in the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.

    Ryan Held: Swimming (Qualified: 100 meter freestyle)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Springfield

    Insight: While attending Sacred Heart-Griffin High School, Held was name the Illinois State Swimmer of the Year during his senior year in 2014.

    Achievements: Currently attending North Carolina State University, Held recently helped lead the swimming team to its first relay national title.

    Thomas Jaeschke: Volleyball (Qualified: Outside Hitter)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Wheaton

    Insight: Jaeschke left Loyola of Chicago after his junior year to play for one of Poland’s top professional teams, Asseco Resovia.

    Achievements: In 2012, Jaeschke led Wheaton Warrenville High School to the national championship, closing the undefeated season with 42 wins.

    Read more on Thomas Jaeschke.

    Evan Jager: Track & Field (Qualified: 3,000m Steeplechase)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Algonquin

    Insight: Jager was named as the champion in the 1,600 meter and 3,200 meter out of all the Illinois high schools. His skills were noticed by Nike, who he signed with when he left the University of Wisconsin one year early.

    Achievements: Despite tripping over his final hurdle in 2015, Jager still broke the record in the American 3,000 meter steeplechase.

    Read more on Evan Jager.

    Julie Johnston: Soccer (Qualified: Defender)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Red Stars

    Insight: Johnston was determined to not have her parents pay for her college and worked hard enough to receive a way to stay at Santa Clara University.

    Achievements: Johnston was named the National Women’s Soccer League Rookie of the Year in 2014 and played every minute of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

    Alisa Kano: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Glencoe

    Insight: When she is not training, Kano can be found taking classes at Oakton Community College, drawing and enjoying photography.

    Achievements: Kano has been a member of the U.S. rhythmic gymnastics group where she competed with her teammates to bring home three medals during the 2015 Pan American Games.

    Ben Kanute: Triathlon (Qualified)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Geneva

    Insight: Outside of triathlon, Kanute will root for any of Chicago’s professional teams, watch a poorly made tv movie before a race and drinks coffee as another hobby.

    Achievements: During the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships, Kanute won draft-legal sprint-distance and Olympic Distance titles.

    Madison Keys: Tennis (Singles)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Rock Island

    Insight: Keys’ favorite food is chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and if she was not playing tennis, she would want to open her own bakery.

    Achievements: In February 2009, Keys became a pro tennis player after her 14th birthday and a top-100 ranked player in her first match.

    Lauren Kieffer: Equestrian (Qualified: Eventing)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Mount Carmel

    Insight: At 18, Kieffer was given the opportunity to work with Olympians Karen and David O’Connor to hone her skills of becoming a better eventing competitor.

    Achievements: Kieffer won the title of United States Equestrian Federation CCI4 National Champion for the second year at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event hosted by Land Rover.

    Read more on Lauren Kieffer.

    Natalie McGiffert: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Northbrook

    Insight: McGiffert’s introduction into gymnastics happened by chance when her mother won a raffle for a beginner’s course, where she immediately fell in love with the sport.

    Achievements: After her debut into gymnastics, McGiffert placed 14th in the 2013 and 2014 World Championships.

    Read more on Natalie McGiffert.

    Sandi Morris: Track & Field (Qualified: Pole Vault)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Downers Grove

    Insight: Morris earned the title of Southeastern Conference Indoor Field Scholar Athlete in 2015 as she majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Arkansas. Previously, she attended the University of North Carolina for two seasons.

    Achievements: At the University of Arkansas, Morris broke the collegiate vault record and was the NCAA champion for indoor pole vault, and set school records for both indoor and outdoor.

    Kelly Murphy: Volleyball (Qualified: Opposite)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Wilmington

    Insight: Murphy’s mom played volleyball at Illinois State University and Murphy followed in her mom’s footsteps by starting club volleyball at age 11 with Club Uno in 2000.

    Achievements: During the 2014 FIVB World Championship, Murphy helped the U.S. Women’s team win hold by scoring a team best of 157 points.

    Ryan Murphy: Swimming (Qualified: Men's 100m Backstroke, Men's 200m Backstroke)

    Midwest Connection: From Palos Heights, Illinois

    Insight: Murphy likes to wear festive socks on nights that he is racing. He's a big fan of the Chicago Bulls, Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Cubs.

    Achievements: Murphy won the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke titles at the NCAA Championships three years in a row for the University of California, Berkeley. He hasn’t declared a major yet, but wants to pursue business. At the 2016 Trials, he beat out defending 2012 Olympic champion Matt Grevers – whom he called “a huge inspiration” – in the 100m backstroke to earn his spot on the Rio team.

    Alyssa Naeher: Soccer (Qualified: Goalkeeper)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Red Stars

    Insight: Naeher, who has a twin sister, spends her mornings completing a crossword puzzle with her coffee and occasionally indulges in her guilty pleasure of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

    Achievements: Naeher is the first ever Penn State World Cup Champion for her task of leading five wins in the U.S. U-20 National Team tournament and winning the Cup over North Korea.

    Christen Press: Soccer (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for Chicago Red Stars

    Insight: Press’ first season playing soccer at the age of four resulted in her never touching the ball, but instead picking flowers.

    Achievements: While attending Stanford University, Press broke every offensive record by scoring 71 goals, more than any other woman in the history of the school.

    Read more on Christen Press.

    Deanna Price: Track & Field (Qualified: Hammer Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Southern Illinois University Insight: Price, who majored in accounting, won back-to-back titles during the NCAA tournaments while at Southern University Illinois. Achievements: After her hammer throw career at Southern Illinois University, Price was ranked as the third best in collegiate history.

    Kelsey Robinson: Volleyball (Qualified: Outside Hitter)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Bartlett

    Insight: Robinson grew up as a basketball fan, loving it more over volleyball and wears the number 23 in honor of Michael Jordan.

    Achievements: Robinson won the title Best Receiver at 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament and had the opportunity of being chosen for the FIVB World Championship roster during her first season with Team USA.

    Read more on Kelsey Robinson.

    Monica Rokhman: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Northbrook

    Insight: Rohkman, whose twin sister is Jennifer, has competed internationally in Russia, Spain, France, Germany and more.

    Achievements: In the 2015 Thiais Prix, Rokhman placed 6th in the five ribbons and 7th in the all-around event.

    Read more on Monica Rokhman.

    Kristen Shaldybin: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Chicago

    Insight: Outside of the gym, Shaldybin’s favorite school subject is biology.

    Achievements: Shaldybin is a member of the U.S. senior national group who placed 13th in the 2015 World Championships.

    Read more on Kristen Shaldybin.

    Olivia Smoliga: Swimming (Qualified: Freestyle & Backstroke)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Glenview

    Insight: While in high school, Smoliga was featured in 2013 Swimming World Magazine as the Female High School Swimmer of the Year and became the first to swim the 50 freestyle under 22 seconds with 21.99.

    Achievements: Smoliga’s success has continued to the University of Georgia, where she has set school records in the 50 freestyle as well as 100 backstroke. She currently ranks fifth in the 100 freestyle.

    Corey Cogdell-Unrein: Shooting (Qualified: Trap)

    Midwest Connection: Married to Chicago Bears player, Mitch Unrein

    Insight: Cogdell-Unrein grew up in Eagle River, Alaska hunting with her father and discovered her love for shooting by the age of three.

    Achievements: Cogdell-Unrein has many awards including a bronze medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and six world cup medals including Tuscon (2012) and Acapulco, Mexico (2015).

    Read more on Corey Cogdell-Unrein.

    Jordan Wilimovsky: Swimming (Qualified: Open Water)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Northwestern University

    Insight: Prior to starting swimming at nine, Wilimovsky participated in surfing and water polo.

    Achievements: As a high schooler, Wilimovsky placed in the top 20 during the 1500 meter freestyle at the 2012 Olympic Trials in London.

    Laura Zeng: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Libertyville

    Insight: Before being introduced to gymnastics by a friend at age seven, Zeng used to participate in Chinese folk dance, ballet and swimming.

    Achievements: One year after Zeng began training, she received her first all-around gold in her first competition.

    Read more on Laura Zeng.

    Zach Ziemek: Track & Field (Qualified: Decathlon)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Itasca

    Insight: While at the University of Wisconsin, Ziemek majored in sociology.

    Achievements: At the end of the 2016 Olympic Trials, Ziemek finished with a personal record of 8,413 points from all 10 events in the decathlon. He is the record holder in the Big 10 decathlon events.

    Tatyana McFadden: Paralympic Track & Field (Qualified)

    Midwest Connection: Attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Insight: McFadden past experience with discrimination is credited for the passing of the Maryland Fitness and Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities that allows all students to participate in sports without restrictions.

    Achievements: Since 2004, McFadden has participated in all summer Paralympic Games and is a ten-time medalist, including three golds.

    Alyssa Gialamas: Swimming (Qualified: Backstroke)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Naperville

    Insight: Gialamas has a medical disorder called arthrogryposis which affects her joints and muscles, but found her passion to swimming at a very young age. Her skills led her to come in fifth place during the 2012 Paralympic Games.

    Achievements: During the 2016 Paralympic swim trials, Gialamas broke the American and Pan-American record in the 50 meter backstroke by a second.

    INDIANA

    David Boudia: Diving (Qualified: Synchronized/Individual 10-meter Platform)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Noblesville, Ind.

    Insight: Boudia was a judge on ABC’s reality competition series, Celebrity Splash, which had celebrities performing dives with challenges along the way.

    Achievements: Boudia is a 14-time USA National Champion and was named the NCAA Diver of the Year in 2011.

    Tamika Catchings: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Indiana Fever

    Insight: Catchings, who sometimes wears hearing aids, was the first in the history of basketball to record double-digit total in a single game in 1997 at Duncanville High School in Texas.

    Achievements: Catchings is well known for her efforts off the court and created Catch the Stars Foundation as a way to empower kids through mentoring, fitness and literacy.

    Amy Cozad: Diving (Qualified: Synchronized Platform)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Indianapolis, Ind.

    Insight: Cozad has a habit of collecting hotel room keys from all the hotels that she has visited over the years throughout the world.

    Achievements: Cozad holds eight champion titles, seven in the synchronized 10-meter and one in the individual 10-meter.

    Chloe Dygert: Cycling (Qualified: Track)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Brownsburg, Ind.

    Insight: If Dygert wasn’t racing as a career, she would want to a world famous tattoo artist.

    Achievements: Dygert has the title of being the first U.S. junior women to hold two gold medals in the World Championships in Richmond, Va in the individual time and road race.

    Amanda Elmore: Rowing (Qualified: Eight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from West Lafayette, Ind.

    Insight: Elmore was recognized as Purdue’s Most Valuable Oarswoman two years in a row (2012 and 2013) and was also her class’ valedictorian.

    Achievements: Elmore has taken home six gold medals in events such as the 2016 World Rowing Cup II and 2015 World Rowing Championships.

    Michael Hixon: Diving (Qualified: 3-meter Springboard)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Amherst, Mass.

    Insight: In between dives, Hixon likes to listen to rap music before his turn and has hopes becoming a diving coach when his personal journey with swimming ends.

    Achievements: : Hixon placed second in the individual 3-meter event during the 2015 USA Diving Winter National Championships.

    Molly Huddle: Track & Field (Qualified: 5,000m)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of University of Notre Dame

    Insight: Huddle paints her nails a new color before each race and has rarely missed an episode of Oprah when the television talk show was still on air.

    Achievements: Huddle is known for setting an American record of finishing the 5,000m in 14:44.76 and taking the titles during the 10K and 5K events at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

    Courtney Hurley: Fencing (Qualified: Epee)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Notre Dame University

    Insight: Courtney and her sister Kelley grew up in a household of fencers and began to travel the world at a young age to compete. The two were coached by their father, Bob Hurley, and have competed on World Teams for years.

    Achievements: Hurley is ranked as number one in the U.S. and was an original member of the first epee team that won bronze for the Olympic Games in 2012.

    Kelley Hurley: Fencing (Qualified: Epee)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Notre Dame University

    Insight: Kelley and her sister Courtney grew up in a household of fencers and began to travel the world at a young age to compete. The two were coached by their father, Bob Hurley, and have competed on World Teams together since Kelley was 17.

    Achievements: Hurley qualified for her first Olympic team in 2008 as the only women's epee fencer from the U.S. to do so. She and her sister have both won bronze medals in the team event as members of the first U.S. Women's Epee Team ever to earn an Olympic medal.

    Felisha Johnson: Track & Field (Qualified: Shot Put)

    Midwest Connection : Originally from Indiana

    Insight: While attending Indiana State, Johnson majored in Sports Management and is interested in playing cards, watching movies, hanging with friends and lifting.

    Achievements: At the 2016 Olympic Trials, Johnson finished third after throwing a distance of 63 feet, 1 ¼ inches.

    Steele Johnson: Diving (Qualified: Synchronized & Platform)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Indianapolis, Ind.

    Insight: In his free time, Johnson has several YouTube channels with over 9,000 subscribers and would like to be the frontman of a metal band if he was not an athlete.

    Achievements: Johnson took his 10th national title in his events for individual and synchronized 10-meter.

    Lilly King: Swimming (Qualified: Breaststroke)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Evansville, Ind.

    Insight: King is a self-proclaimed McDonald’s enthusiast that started swimming at seven because it was the only outlet that kept her calm.

    Achievements: At the 2014 U.S. Nationals, King finished sixth, making her first call to the national team at the age of 17.

    Gerek Meinhardt: Fencing (Qualified: Foil)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of Notre Dame University

    Insight: Meinhardt is the youngest athlete ever to compete on a U.S. Olympic Fencing team and youngest male member of any sport in the 2008 Olympics.

    Achievements: Meinhardt has many first titles including being the U.S. man to win a bronze medal in the Senior World Championship in 2010 and 2015.

    Cody Miller: (Qualified: Breaststroke)

    Midwest Connection : Graduated from Indiana University

    Insight : Miller remembers his first swimming memory as his first meet where he received a red ribbon at age eight for a back stroke. He took up the sport to monitor his breathing and heart from a medical condition called Pectus Excavatum.

    Achievements: At the 2015 FINA World Championships, Miller won gold during the 400 meter medley relay event.

    Jessica Parratto: Diving (Qualified: Synchronized Platform)

    Midwest Connection: Attends Indiana University

    Insight: Parratto comes from an aquatic family and was first introduced when her mother, a dive coach, would carry her in a backpack while on the pool deck.

    Achievements: Parratto took home the gold medal for the individual platform at the 2011 Junior Pan American Championships.

    Blake Pieroni: Swimming (Qualified: Freestyle)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Valparaiso, Ind.

    Insight: Pieroni, who listens to music before a race, says his proudest swimming accomplishment was being able to internationally compete with the national junior team. Achievements: In the 2015 Phillips 66 Nationals, Pieroni finished third in the 200 meter free and the year before took home silver for the 100 and 200 meter free during the 2014 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.

    IOWA

    Kayla Banwarth: Volleyball (Qualified: Liberio)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Dubuque, Iowa

    Insight: Banwarth earned the title of Gatorade’s Iowa High School Player in 2006 when she averaged 4.00 kills, 3.70 digs and 1.43 aces per set at Wahlert Catholic.

    Achievements: Banwarth achieved winning back-to-back gold medals in the Pan American Cups and helped Team USA win a bronze medal in her first appearance in the 2011 Pan American Games.

    Harrison Barnes: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Ames, Iowa

    Insight: Barnes, 24, was named Harrison because his mother, Shirley, wanted his name to sound royal. The tech-savvy athlete has a love for social media and was an “extern” at Facebook for a week!

    Achievements: In 2010, Barnes was rated as the top high school player in the nation when playing at Ames High School in Iowa.

    Shelby Houlihan: Track & Field (Qualified: 5,000m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Sioux City, Iowa

    Insight: Houlihan began running at age five and since that moment, she always pictured herself becoming an Olympian.

    Achievements: Houlihan is the first female track runner from her hometown of Sioux City to head to the Olympics.

    Jennifer Simpson: Track & Field (Qualified: 1,500m)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Webster, Iowa

    Insight: While attending University of Colorado Boulder, Simpson studied Political Science and Economics.

    Achievements: As a sophomore in college. Simpson won her first USA Outdoor title and in her junior year, she finished ninth in the Olympic steeplechase as well as set an American record.

    Amanda Weir: Swimming (Qualified: 4x100 free relay)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Davenport, Iowa

    Insight: Outside of the pool, Weir enjoys drawing and has hopes of becoming an interior designer one day.

    Achievements: In the 2012, Weir made the Olympic team by finishing fifth in the 100 meter and brought home a bronze in the 400 meter free relay in the London Games.

    KANSAS

    Amy Cragg: Track & Field (Qualified: Marathon)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Leavenworth, Kans.

    Insight: During a training run, Cragg and teammate Shalane Flanagan ran right into a black bear, instantly cutting their pace from 7:30 to 5:50!

    Achievements: In her debut, Cragg placed second in the 2011 marathon and returned to win a spot with Team USA in Rio during the Olympic Marathon Trials.

    Andrea Geubelle: Track & Field (Triple Jump)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of University of Kansas

    Insight: During the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships, a protest was filed against Geubelle knocking her from the favorite to win down to third place.

    Achievements: Geubelle ranked as the best American triple jumper at the end of her 2013 season at the University of Kansas.

    Nico Hernandez: Boxing (Qualified: Light Flyweight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Wichita, Kans.

    Insight: Hernandez has five tattoos that tell the story of his life, including one in remembrance of his twin brothers who passed before he was born.

    Achievements: Hernandez is representing Wichita in the Olympics for the first time in over 12 years and won the Olympic trials in December.

    Lydia Paterson: Shooting (Qualified: 10m Air Pistol)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Kansas City, Kans.

    Insight: The introduction to shooting came from Paterson following her father and brother to the range and officially started through 4-H.

    Achievements: Paterson became one of the youngest members to join the National team at 16 years old and finished in eighth place during the Olympic quota during the 2015 ISSF World Cup.

    Becky Sauerbrunn: Soccer (Qualified: Defender)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for FC Kansas City

    Insight: Sauerbrunn along with three other soccer players are known as a “brick wall” for not allowing many goals through during the World Cup.

    Achievements: At the University of Virginia, Sauerbrunn became the first player in over a decade to earn the title of All-American three times.

    Jack Sock: Tennis (Singles)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Kansas City, Kans.

    Insight: Sock’s, who turned pro in 2011, first memory of being introduced to tennis was when he found his mother’s racket and just began playing.

    Achievements: Sock’s world ranking in singles was 26 and 19 in the doubles at the end of 2015.

    MICHIGAN

    Andrew Evans: Track & Field (Qualified: Discus Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Portage, Mich.

    Insight: During high school, Evans became the fifth person to have the furthest throw in Michigan history with 192 feet, seven inches.

    Achievements: Evans became the first University of Kentucky Wildcat to head to the Olympics when he placed third in the discus event.

    Alisha Glass: Volleyball (Qualified: Setter)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Leland, Mich.

    Insight: Glass’ mother was her volleyball coach in high school and she has stated that she enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles in her downtime.

    Achievements: During 2013 and 2014, Glass was named the Indoor Athlete of the Year for USA Volleyball and earned three consecutive gold medals in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Rounds of 2010, 2011, 2012.

    Draymond Green: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Saginaw, Mich.

    Insight: Green used to collect Pokemon cards when he was younger.

    Achievements: First player in Finals Game 7 history to score 22+ points in the first half against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

    Desiree Linden: Track & Field (Qualified: Marathon)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Rochester Hills, Mich.

    Insight: Linden is a huge music fan and secretly wants to be the front woman of a rock band! The only time you will see her without headphones on is when she is running.

    Achievements: In 2007, Linden made her debut by participating in the Boston Marathon and finishing 19th with a time of 2:44:56.

    Grace Latz: Rowing (Quadruple Sculls)

    Midwest Connection : Originally from Jackson, Mich.

    Insight: After her rowing career, Latz looks forward to traveling the world with less workout clothes and simply carry-on luggage.

    Achievements: In the 2016 World Rowing Cup II, Latz finished in sixth place in the quadruple sculls.

    Grace Luczak: Rowing (Qualified: Pair & Eight)

    Midwest Connection : Originally from Ann Arbor, Mich.

    Insight: Luczak has a green Ford Fiesta named Kermit and has hopes of pursuing a career in health and business.

    Achievements : At the 2016 World Rowing Cup II, Luczak won gold in the pain and the eight as well as gold in the four at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

    Mikaela Mayer: Boxing (Qualified: Lightweight)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Marquette, Mich.

    Insight: In high school, Mayer was modeling for photographer’s portfolios before stumbling upon boxing.

    Achievements: Mayer was named the number one ranked boxer in the world by the AIBA (International Boxing Association).

    Sam Mikulak: Gymnastics (Qualified: Artistic)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of the University of Michigan

    Insight: Mikulak’s parents, Steve and Tina, were gymnasts who began teaching their son skills from the time he could walk and put him in his first class at the age of 2.

    Achievements: Mikulak earned his fourth U.S. gymnastics title in a row in June 2016 and is the first man to do so since 2000.

    Jeff Porter: Track & Field (Qualified: 110m Hurdles)

    Midwest Connection: Graduate of University of Michigan

    Insight: Porter is known for dramatic finishes during Olympic Trials. In 2012, he dove across the line and in 2016, he pushed out his chest to beat gold medalist and world record holder Aries Merritt.

    Achievements: Porter is the seventh athlete from New Jersey high schools to compete as part of the 2016 Olympic Track and Field team.

    Sean Ryan: Swimming (Qualified: Open Water)

    Midwest Connection: Currently resides in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    Insight: Ryan began swimming because it was helpful for his asthma, but other than swimming he enjoys a big meal and long naps.

    Achievements: In the 2015 FINA World Championships, Ryan finished fourth in the 10K and earned a gold medal in the 2013 World University Games in the 1500 meter free event.

    Allison Schmitt: Swimming (Qualified: Freestyle)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Canton, Mich.

    Insight: Schmitt cites her older sister as introducing her to swimming, but enjoys downtime such as scrapbooking and taking pictures.

    Achievements: Schmitt took home a gold medal at the 2015 Pan American Games and is noted as a five-time medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including a gold in the 800m free relay, 400m medley race and 200m free.

    Claressa Shields: Boxing (Qualified: Middleweight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Flint, Mich.

    Insight: Shields has had the honor of presenting the Liberty medal to Muhammad Ali and will have a documentary film air about her on PBS on August 2, 2016.

    Achievements: Shields became the first American female to win a gold medal in boxing and the first American boxer to win gold consecutively in Olympic Games.

    Katelin Snyder: Rowing (Eight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Detroit, Mich.

    Insight: During her downtime, Snyder enjoys zoos, aquariums, museums, beach and rollerblading.

    Achievements: Snyder holds over ten gold medals and a world record holder of final during the eight in the 2013 World Rowing Cup 3.

    Ellen Tomek: Rowing (Qualified: Double Sculls)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Flushing, Mich.

    Insight: Tomek began rowing her freshman at the University of Michigan to avoid the “freshman 15” loved it after the coach sent out a mass poem about the fun of the sport.

    Achievements: Tomek was named as Michigan’s Women’s Rowing Athlete of the Year in 2006 and was a member of the Academic All-Big Ten teams for three consecutive years.

    MINNESOTA

    Seimone Augustus: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Minnesota Lynx

    Insight: Before her freshman year in high school, Augustus was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

    Achievements: Augustus was chosen as the number one pick overall in the 2006 WNBA draft and was awarded the WNBA Rookie of the Year.

    Garrett Bender: Rugby (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Minneapolis, Minn.

    Insight: On a personal note, Bender’s favorite book series is “The Hunger Games” and he has a twin sister who is a competitive figure skater.

    Achievements: In October 2011, Bender was recognized into the Men’s Eagles Sevens pool and previously was playing for the 2011 Men’s Club 7s National Championship.

    Ben Blankenship: Track & Field (Qualified: 1,500m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Stillwater, Minn.

    Insight: Blankenship. Known for sporting a headband during races, was an American studies major at the University of Minnesota.

    Achievements: Prior to getting the third spot for the 2016 Olympic 1500 meter team, Blankenship earned his first USA title at the Medtronic TC 1 mile with a time of 3:55.8.

    Kelly Catlin: Cycling (Qualified: Mountain/Track)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Arden Hills, Minn.

    Insight: Catlin is a classical violinist, whose talents outside of cycling include unicycling, reading, drawing and creative writing.

    Achievements: Catlin along with her teammates won the first gold medal for the United States in cycling by being ahead of Canada nearly three seconds.

    Kiana Eide: Gymnastics (Qualified: Rhythmic)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from St. Francis, Minn.

    Insight: When joining the 2014 rhythmic gymnastics group in 2014, Eide became the youngest member.

    Achievements: Eide won gold in the 2012 Junior Pan American Championships in the all-around event and made her world championship debut in 2014.

    Sylvia Fowles: Basketball (Qualified: Center)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Minnesota Lynx

    Insight: Fowles, along with Augustus, was the first Louisiana State University to be awarded with multiple Olympic gold medals.

    Achievements: Fowles currently ranks at seventh for rebounds amongst other U.S. Olympians.

    Kathryn Johnson: Rugby (Qualified: Center/Flanker)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Hopkins, Minn.

    Insight: Prior to going professional, Johnson earned honors in the AIG Women’s Junior and Collegiate All-American.

    Achievements: At the 2015 World Rugby Women’s Seven Series in Atlanta, Johnson and her teammates took home second place.

    Megan Kalmoe: Rowing (Quadruple Sculls)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Minneapolis, Minn.

    Insight: A goal of Kalmoe is to travel and begin to write her book when her profession as a rower ends.

    Achievements: Kalmoe took home a gold medal during the quadruple sculls in the 2015 World Rowing Championship.

    Bethanie Mattek-Sands: Tennis (Doubles)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Rochester, Minn.

    Insight: The Daily Mail nicknamed Mattek-Sands “the Lady Gaga of tennis” for her colorful fashion choices when competing.

    Achievements: At the end of 2015, Mattek-Sands earned 17 Women’s Tennis Association double titles from her entire career, won two Grand Slam women’s doubles and a mixed double.

    Hassan Mead: Track & Field (Qualified: 5,000m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Minneapolis, Minn.

    Insight: Mead ran his events with basketball shoes while in high school.

    Achievements: While at the University of Minnesota, Mead became a six-time all American with three cross country and three track awards.

    Maya Moore: Basketball (Qualified: Forward)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Minnesota Lynx

    Insight: Moore was featured as a bright young star in the sports world by Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2015.

    Achievements: Moore’s most recent award was the 2015 WNBA Champion and her skills led her to be selected as a player in an organized basketball game by President Barack Obama to entertain wounded veterans.

    Alise Post: Cycling (Qualified: BMX)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from St. Cloud, Minn.

    Insight: Post founded the “MS Race for a Cure”, a nationwide effort to help find a cure for all neurological diseases, in honor of her former gymnastics coach, Colleen Stark-Haws.

    Achievements: Post was the youngest to win the American Professional Championship at the age of 15.

    Lindsay Whalen: Basketball (Qualified: Guard)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Minnesota Lynx

    Insight: Whalen became the first woman to be recognized as the Minneapolis Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year in 2004.

    Achievements: Whalen ranked seventh for her field goal percentage in London among the 12-team field.

    MISSOURI

    Brittany Borman: Track & Field (Qualified: Javelin Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Festus, Mo.

    Insight: When it comes to throwing, Borman enjoys listening to country music.

    Achievements: At the University of Oklahoma, she left as the record holder in the discus and javelin throw. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she ranked as the American woman to give the best performance in javelin.

    J’Den Cox: Wrestling (Qualified: 86kg)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Columbia, Mo.

    Insight: Cox was noted as having the most impressive resume coming into University of Missouri, including being lettered in basketball and football all four years at Hickman High School.

    Achievements: Cox has achieved great feats by becoming Columbia’s first champion to win four consecutive state wrestling titles in four different weight classes.

    Mason Finley: Track & Field (Qualified: Discus Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Kansas City, Mo.

    Insight: Theater is another passion of Finley, who works behind the scenes at a community theater lifting heavy items.

    Achievements: Finley won the discus championship at the 2016 Olympic Trials with a throw of 208 feet and 1 inch.

    Courtney Frerichs: Track & Field (Qualified: 3,000m Steeplechase) Midwest Connection: Originally from Nixa, Mo.

    Insight: At her high school, Frerichs hold the records of fastest time in the 5K race and the 4x800 meter relay race as well as longest triple jump. Achievements: Frerichs, who was the previous NCAA champion and recorder holder in the 3,000 meter event, placed second at the 2016 Olympic Trials.

    Zach Garrett: Archery (Qualified: Recurve)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Wellington, Mo.

    Insight: Garrett, 21, is from a small rural town and cites his grandfather as his biggest inspiration for introducing him to archery at the age of four as a way to find a productive activity.

    Achievements: Garrett secured a silver medal in 2015 for the World Archery Youth Championships for the recurve junior men’s team.

    Edward King: Rowing (Qualified: Lightweight Pair)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Ironton, Mo.

    Insight: King cites his father as the most influential individual in his life and enjoys all things outdoors.

    Achievements: In 2016, King along with three other rowers made history by earning the U.S. its first medal in the lightweight men’s four since 2003.

    Josh Prenot: Swimming (Qualified: 200 breaststroke)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Sedalia, Mo.

    Insight: Prenot was homeschooled growing up, but now attends the University of California in Berkeley where he majors in Physics.

    Achievements: At the 2015 World University Games, Prenot won fold in the 200 meter individual medley as well as 200 meter breaststroke and silver in the 400 meter individual medley.

    Colleen Quigley: Track & Field (Qualified: 3,000m Steeplechase)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from St. Louis, Mo.

    Insight: Before racing competitively, Quigley was a fashion model in ads for stores such as Nordstrom and JCPenney as well as editorial with Glamour and Seventeen.

    Achievements: While attending Florida State, Quigley won the NCAA title in the 3,000m steeplechase event.

    Murphy Troy: Volleyball (Qualified: Opposite)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from St. Louis, Mo.

    Insight: Troy had various mentions including being named in the 2007 Volleyball Magazine All-American first team, Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 list and St. Louis Post-Dispatch All-Metro Player of the Year.

    Achievements: When playing for Lotos Trefl Gdansk, Troy was the leading scorer in the Polish league during the 2015-16 winter season.

    NEBRASKA

    Jordan Burroughs: Wrestling (Qualified: 74kg)

    Midwest Connection: Lives in Lincoln, Nebr.

    Insight: Burroughs has two tattoos, a lighthouse in honor of his son, Beacon, and his motto: “Dream it, do it.”

    Achievements: Burroughs holds the U.S record for the longest winning streak of 69-match wins at the senior level of wrestling.

    Jordan Larson-Burbach: Volleyball (Qualified: Outside Hitter) Midwest Connection: Originally from Hooper, Nebr.

    Insight: Larson-Burbach made her debut with Nebraska Elite Volleyball Club in 1998 at the age of 12 and became an international start in her small town of 830 population.

    Achievements: In 2015, Larson-Burbach was named as the USA Volleyball Female Indoor Player of the Year as well as the Best Spiker in the 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament.

    Maggie Malone: Track & Field (Qualified: Javelin Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Geneva, Nebr.

    Insight: Malone’s younger sister, Audrey, was at the Olympic Trials as well. Malone posted the longest throw of 199 feet and seven inches.

    Achievements: Malone became the first woman javelin thrower to win titles at the Olympic Trials and NCAA during the same season. She is the third thrower to complete this.

    Frank Thompson: Shooting (Qualified: Skeet)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Alliance, Nebr.

    Insight: In high school, Thompson was also known for playing tennis as well as being on the wrestling team.

    Achievements: Thompson made the National Development team in 2006 and made his debut during the 2012 London Olympics Games, where he placed eighth.

    OHIO

    Rachael Adams: Volleyball (Qualified: Middle Blocker) Midwest Connection: Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio

    Insight: Adams appeared in the Nov. 26, 2007 magazine issue of “Sports Illustrated” for the “Faces in the Crowd” feature. Achievements: Adams skills helped the University of Texas at Austin Hoosiers win the first-ever Premier Volleyball League (PVL) Championship in 2012.

    Tianna Bartoletta: Track & Field (Qualified: 100m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Elyria, Ohio

    Insight: Bartoletta has started a program that focuses on the development of young girls called Club 360.

    Achievements: In 2005 and 2015, Bartoletta was known as the world champion in the long jump and won gold at the 4x100m Olympic Games in 2012.

    Simone Biles: Gymnastics (Qualified: Artistic)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Columbus, Ohio

    Insight: Biles, who began gymnastics at age six after a trip to the gym club, loves getting her nails done to take her mind off the pressure.

    Achievements: Biles has made history as the first female gymnast to win three consecutive world all-around titles and ten titles in three world championships.

    Amber Campbell: Track & Field (Qualified: Hammer Throw)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio

    Insight: Prior to picking competing in the hammer throw event at Coastal Carolina University, Campbell was a shot and discus thrower.

    Achievements: During the 2016 Olympic trials, Campbell took first place and set at trial on her final throw of 242 feet, 10 inches and is ranked as the fourth-best American of all time.

    Kim Conley: Track & Field (Qualified: 5,000m)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Slough, Ohio

    Insight: Before a race, Conley likes to eat spaghetti bolognese and end the season with the treat of Guinness float.

    Achievements: Between 2008 and 2012, Conley dropped her time for a personal record in the 5,000 meter by one minute. She then went on to become runner-up at the USA Cross Country Championships in 2013.

    Charles Conwell: Boxing (Qualified: Middleweight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio

    Insight: Conwell will be the youngest member competing with the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team that is headed to Rio in August 2016.

    Achievements: Conwell won the national Golden Gloves championship as well as being named as the Under Armour Youth Male Boxer of the Year in 2015.

    Tervel Dlagnev: Wrestling (Qualified: 125kg)

    Midwest Connection: Lives in Columbus, Ohio

    Insight: After moving to America with his family from Bulgaria at the age of 4, Dlagnev joined the wrestling team as a sophomore in high school as a way to lose weight.

    Achievements: Dlagnev holds the title of two-time bronze medalist in the World Championships and finished 5th at the 2012 Olympics in London.

    Nate Ebner: Rugby (Qualified: Forward/Inside Center) Midwest Connection: Originally from Dublin, Ohio

    Insight: Ebner, defensive back for the New England Patriots, plays rugby in his off-season in memory of his father.

    Achievements: Joining the USA Rugby team was a feat in itself, but Ebner also holds a Super Bowl ring from the 2015 game against the Seattle Seahawks in Arizona.

    Kayla Harrison: Judo (Qualified: -78kg)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Middletown, Ohio

    Insight: Harrison stated that she will probably retire after the Rio Olympic Games unless 2020 Olympics are hosted in Japan, where judo was founded.

    Achievements: Harrison is iconic for making history in the 2012 London Olympics by becoming the first American to win a gold medal in the history of judo.

    Maxwell Holt: Volleyball (Qualified: Middle Blocker)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio

    Insight: Holt has set an example for his younger brother, Sam, who also carries on the sporting game by playing volleyball professional.

    Achievements: Holt was named as the Best Blocker in 2013 during the FIVB Grand Champions Cup and became a full-time starter that year as well.

    Emily Infeld: Track & Field (Qualified: 10,000m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from University Heights, Ohio

    Insight: Infeld used the failure of not making the AAU team at the age of ten to fuel her to continue to pursue a career in track & field.

    Achievements: In 2012, she became the NCAA Indoor champion in the 3,000 meter and the bronze medalist in the 2015 World Championship event of 10,000 meter.

    Kyrie Irving: Basketball (Qualified: Guard)

    Midwest Connection: Plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers

    Insight: Irving, who began dribbling a ball at just 13 months and shooting on a regulated hoop by four, keeps a journal of mottos with hopes of being a journalist in the future.

    Achievements: Irving was chosen as the first overall pick in 2011 for the Cleveland Cavaliers and was named the Rookie of the Year the following year.

    Carlin Isles: Rugby (Qualified: Full Back)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Massillon, Ohio

    Insight: Isles has been named as the “fastest man in rugby” and has millions of views via YouTube to prove. As a former sprinter, his best time is 10.13 in the 100m.

    Achievements: Isles was named as one of the leading try-scorers during the IRB Sevens World Series during 2012-2013 season.

    Abby Johnston: Diving (Qualified: Synchronized 3-meter Springboard)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Upper Arlington, Ohio

    Insight: Johnston is currently balancing training as well as medical school, where she was accepted into the program at Duke in the fall of 2014 in hopes of becoming a surgeon.

    Achievements: Johnston along with former diver Kelci Bryant took home a silver medal in the 2012 Olympic Games during the synchronized 3-meter.

    Lee Kiefer: Fencing (Qualified: Foil)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Cleveland, Ohio

    Insight: Kiefer has dedicated her first mask that she used as a beginner to the Museum of American Fencing.

    Achievements: Kiefer became the second U.S. woman fencer to earn a bronze medal at the 2011 Senior World Championships.

    Joshua Konieczny: Rowing (Qualified: Lightweight Double Sculls)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Millbury, Ohio

    Insight: In high school, Konieczny’s off season training consisted of stacking hay bales and splitting wood. Achievements: In the 2016 Olympic Team Trials, Konieczny won the lightweight double sculls and also placed sixth in the 2016 World Rowing Cup II for the same event.

    Erik Kynard: Track & Field (Qualified: High Jump)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Toledo, Ohio

    Insight: Kynard began high jumping at eight, qualified for 2008 Olympic Trials at 17 and took home a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics.

    Achievements: When it comes to the high jump, Kynard became one out of seven to jump 7 feet, 9 ¼ inches during the 2016 Olympic Trials for track & field.

    Stacy Lewis: Golf (Qualified)

    Midwest Connection: Born in Ohio

    Insight: Lewis battles with scoliosis and for 6 ½ years wore a back brace for 18 hours a day, only taking it off to play golf.

    Achievements: Lewis became the first American to win the Ladies Professional Golf Association “triple crown” in over 21 years.

    Felice Mueller: Rowing (Qualified: Pair & Eight)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Cleveland, Ohio

    Insight: Mueller left Ohio to attend school at the University of Michigan to pursue a major in Art and Design.

    Achievements: Mueller and her teammate Ashley Kroll set a 2010 word record time in the women’s pair during the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

    Clayton Murphy: Track & Field (Qualified: 800m)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from New Paris, Ohio

    Insight: Although Murphy went professional, he still plans to finish his finance degree in May.

    Achievements: Murphy ran a record time of 3:36.38 during the 1,500 meter at the University of Akron. This record was listed as the best time since 1987 and the third-fastest in NCAA Championship history.

    Jason Pryor: Fencing (Qualified: Epee)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from South Euclid, Ohio

    Insight: After college graduation, Pryor was planning a career in Hollywood, but a plane ticket to Brazil from his parents led him to pursue fencing further during his first international grand prix.

    Achievements: Pryor is ranked as number one in the U.S. for men’s epee and 36 in the world.

    Kyle Snyder: Wrestling (Qualified: 97kg)

    Midwest Connection: Attends Ohio State University

    Insight: Snyder enjoys cooking shows and often cooks himself breakfast and lunch, but says his dinner is often Chipotle.

    Achievements: Snyder, 20, led OSU to their first NCAA championship in 2015 and later became the youngest American wrestler to win a world title after defeating the reigning champion at the World Championships.

    Mariel Zagunis: Fencing (Qualified: Saber)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Beaverton, Ohio

    Insight: Zagunis says that her parents, both Olympic rowers, are her biggest role models because of the dedication that they have put into the success of their children.

    Achievements: Zagunis is the most decorated fencer in USA Fencing history, becoming the first U.S. fencer to win a gold in over 100 years at the 2004 Olympic Games.

    WISCONSIN

    Annie Haeger: Sailing (Qualified: 470 Class - Helm)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from East Troy, Wis.

    Insight: At age five, Haeger received an Optimist Dingy and her immediate reaction were tears, but at the age of eight, she finally got in a boat and realized her natural talents.

    Achievements: Haeger became the second woman in history to win the Co-ed All American status, the only sailor nominated three times for the Quantum female College Sailor of the Year and won All-American all four years during college.

    Gwen Jorgensen: Triathlon (Qualified)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Waukesha, Wis.

    Insight: Prior to being known as a triathlon runner, Jorgensen was employed at Ernst & Young as an accountant in Milwaukee.

    Achievements: Jorgensen is a 15-time winner of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) in cities such as Chicago, London, San Diego, Yokohama and more.

    Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden: Equestrian (Qualified: Show Jumper)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Mequon, Wis.

    Insight: Madden, who began riding horses at three, holds record of being the first woman to exceed earning $1 million in show jumping.

    Achievements: Madden has competed in the Olympics since 2004, winning a gold medal in that year as well as in 2008 for her jumping.

    Michael McPhail: Shooting (Qualified: 50-meter Prone)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Darlington, Wis.

    Insight: McPhail, Sergeant First Class in the U.S. Army, began shooting at the age of 16 and enjoys pastimes such as hunting and fishing.

    Achievements: In the 2012 London Olympic Games, McPhail placed 9th in the 50-meter prone event.

    Heather Miller-Koch: Track & Field (Qualified: Heptathlon)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Columbus, Wis.

    Insight: Miller-Koch serves at the United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota as a part-time operating room nurse during orthopedic surgeries.

    Achievements: Miller-Koch won four out of seven events finishing with 5,796 points continuing to hold the Drake Relays heptathlon title.

    Ben Provisor: Wrestling (Qualified: 85kg)

    Midwest Connection: Originally from Stevens Point, Wis.

    Insight: As a young child, Provisor attended wrestling camps hosted by 1996 Olympic games silver medalist, Dennis Hall.

    Achievements: In 2011 and 2013, Provisor was named the U.S. Open champion and took second place in the 2011 Pan American Games.

    Jesse Thielke: Wrestling (Qualified: 59kg)

    Midwest Connection: Lives in Germantown, Wis.

    Insight: Wrestling provided Thielke with an outlet for his anger and saved his life that once caused him to be involved in school fights, stealing and lying.

    Achievements: Thielke is one of 10 wrestlers in the state of Wisconsin’s history to win four high school state championship titles. 

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