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Dana Mathewson wins two gold medals to lead U.S. at 2023 Parapan American Games

Victoria Chiesa | November 26, 2023


American wheelchair tennis players are coming home from the 2023 Parapan American Games with three medals, including a pair of golds from Dana Mathewson. The top-ranked U.S. woman in the world wheelchair tennis rankings came in as No. 1 top seed and a gold medal favorite, and she delivered, doubling her total of career Parapan medals after the week in Santiago, Chile was done. 

 

Mathewson previously started off her milestone week as one of Team USA’s two flag-bearers for the opening ceremony, an honor she shared with judo athlete Ben Goodrich, and when she returns to the U.S., she’ll get married in a week’s time.

A two-time Paralympian, Mathewson will also soon make it three. With a 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Colombia’s Angelica Bernal in the women’s singles, Mathewson earned an automatic bid to next summer’s Paralympic Games in Paris.

 

“Once you get a taste of these medals, you want more,” Mathewson said in victory. “This has been an amazing time. I never expected to be the flag-bearer; I never expected to get two gold medals. It has been unbelievable.”

 

In the doubles gold medal match, Mathewson and 16-year-old Maylee Phelps from Portland, Ore. beat Brazil’s Maria Fernanda Alves and Meirycoll Duval in a match that came down to a few key points in the match tiebreak, 3-6, 6-2, [10-8]. 

Phelps, the junior US Open singles finalist and doubles champion this summer, was making her senior Parapan American Games debut. 

 

The quad doubles team of Andrew Bogdanov and David Wagner rounded out the U.S. medalists with a bronze. Wagner and Bogdanov, who like Phelps was in his first Parapan Games, beat the Colombian team of Daniel Campaz and Albeiro Moreno, 6-4, 6-4, in the third-place match. In the men's open division, Casey Ratzlaff dropped a tight 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3 bronze-medal match to Daniel Rodrigues of Brazil, and he and Conner Stroud also finished fourth in doubles. 

 

Despite falling just short of the medal stand, Ratzlaff and Stroud nonetheless said that they're taking the positives away from their latest, improved effort donning the red, white and blue as they eye next summer's event in Paris; last August at their first Paralympics, the duo were beaten in the second round in doubles. 

 

"Conner and I have both grown up playing the sport through juniors and now onto playing together in the men's division," Ratzlaff said. "This is such a great opportunity to work together and get to play against some of the world's best. [We] couldn't come up with a win today [in the bronze medal match], but we will continue to get better as a doubles team and individually as well."

 

Held every four years and one year ahead of the Paralympic Games, the Parapan American Games are the largest multi-sport event in the Americas.

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