St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Mark Dayton is cheering on the 11 athletes with Minnesota ties who will soon compete in the 2018 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games. He issued a statement Tuesday praising them for their accomplishments and wishing them luck in the upcoming competitions.

“Paralympic athletes embody the values that we all strive to emulate in our personal lives. These individuals overcome great challenges to compete at the highest level, on the world stage,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “On behalf of all Minnesotans, I wish all of our Paralympians success at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.”


Shaun Tichenor (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

The list of athletes with Minnesota ties includes 37-year-old Shaun Tichenor, who will be participating in the shooting competition. The Brainerd native was severely wounded by a bomb blast while he was serving in the Army in Afghanistan in 2011. The Staff Sergeant ended up having his right leg amputated below the knee. Team USA reports Tichenor joined a Marksmanship Unit to continue his active service and is one of four athletes on Team USA on active-duty in the Army.

Below is a list of the other athletes with Minnesota connections

Chuck Aoki, Men’s Wheelchair Rugby
Aoki is from Minneapolis and attended Southwest High School. This will be his second Paralympics, having won bronze when Team USA defeated Japan at the 2012 London Games. Aoki has been a member of the USA wheelchair rugby team since 2009 and earned a bronze medal in the 2014 World Championship games. He also is a member of the Minnesota Wheelchair Rugby Club.

Sean Boyle, Men’s Soccer
Boyle is from Minneapolis and is a 2013 graduate from Shattuck Saint Mary’s in Faribault. Currently, he is attending San Jose State University, where he is a member of the soccer team. This is his first Paralympics. Boyle played goalkeeper for the American team that finished sixth at the Pre-Paralympic tournament.

Benjamin Goodrich, Judo
Goodrich is from Saint Paul and currently attends the University of Minnesota. Originally a wrestler, Goodrich started competing in Judo in 2011 after taking a physical education elective course during college. In 2015, Goodrich won gold in the 100kg at the U.S. National Championship and won gold, and the brown belt 100kg at the 2014 US National Championship. This is his first Paralympics.

Rose Hollermann, Women’s Wheelchair Basketball
Hollermann is from Elysian. This will be her second Paralympics. Hollerman first competed at the 2012 London Game, where the team placed fourth. Hollermann received the gold medal in the Under 25 World Championship and the Parapan American Games in 2011. Hollermann was a national champion in 2014. This will be her second Paralympic games.

Ian Lynch, Men’s Wheelchair Basketball
Lynch currently lives in Brooklyn Park. He attended the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater where he played basketball, winning the college championship every year. This will be his third Paralympics. Lynch first competed in the 2008 Beijing Games, where Team USA finished fourth. In 2012, he was a member of the American team took home the bronze. Lynch also played professional wheelchair basketball in Rome for three years and won the Italian Championship in 2012.

Aaron Pike, Track and Field
Pike is from Park Rapids. He attended the University of Illinois-Champaign, where he was a member of the wheelchair track and field team. A double-sport athlete, Pike competed in track at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games and Nordic skiing at the 2014 Winter Paralympics. In 2015, Pike finished first in 1500 meter race at the U.S. Paralympic Track and Field National Championship. Pike also has completed several marathons, including the Twin Cities marathon, where he placed third in 2010 and second in 2013.

Jon Rydberg, Wheelchair Tennis
Rydberg is from Pine City. He currently lives in Woodbury. A four-time Paralympian, Rydberg competed in the 2004, 2008, and the 2012 Paralympic games. Rydberg won a gold medal in doubles tennis at the 2011 Parapan American Games. He also earned gold medals in singles and doubles tennis at the 2007 Parapan American Games. Rydberg currently coaches both boy’s and girl’s tennis at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.

Lexi Shifflett, Sitting Volleyball
Shifflett, a Waseca native, currently attends the University of Central Oklahoma, where she is a member of the volleyball team. Shifflett won gold at the ParaVolley Intercontinental Cup this year in addition to winning silver in the 2014 ParaVolley World Championships. In 2016, Shifflet received the Wilma Rudolph Award as part of the 2016 Minnesota National Girls and Women in Sports Day. In 2015, she was named the Most Improved Player on the USA Volleyball Female sitting team.

Natalie Sims, Swimming
Raised in Edina, Sims recently graduated from Edina High School this past spring. A member of the YWCA Minneapolis Otters since she was 13 years old, this is her first time participating in the Paralympics. Sims won silver in the 4 x 50 meter free relay at the 2015 Parapan American Games and bronze in the 100 meter free at the 2015 CanAm Para Swimming Championship.

Mallory Weggemann, Swimming
Weggemann grew up in Eagan and is a 2011 graduate of the University of Minnesota. Weggemann is the recipient of several accolades, including the 2011 ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability, Swimming World Magazine’s Female Disabled Swimmer of the Year in 2009 and 2010, and USA Swimming’s Disabled Swimmer of the Year in 2009-2011. This will be Weggemann’s second Paralympics having competed in London in 2012 where she won gold and set the Paralympic record for 50 meter freestyle. Weggemann also won nine gold medals at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2011, and currently holds 15 world records.