Two Penn Staters competing in Paralympics in Rio

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A graduate and a freshman will represent Penn State at the 2016 Paralympic Games, to be held Sept. 7-18 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Emily Frederick, an incoming freshman, will represent Penn State’s Ability Athletics program in the shot put. Teri Jordan is the Ability Athletics coach and she also will attend the Paralympics. Shawn Morelli, a 1998 Penn State graduate, will participate in cycling events. Both athletes are competing in their first Paralympics.

From Gadsen, Alabama, Frederick will compete in the shot put on Sept. 11. She plans to study kinesiology at Penn State. Frederick was an Alabama state champion in para-ambulatory track and field in the discus, javelin, shot put and 100 meters. She won a pair of National Paralympic Track and Field titles in 2015.

Originally from Meadville, Pennsylvania, Morelli competes in road and track cycling events. The Paralympics track cycling events are Sept. 8-11 and the road events are Sept. 14-17. Morelli is a U.S. Army veteran. While deployed as an engineer officer in Afghanistan in 2007, she was seriously injured by an improvised explosive device. Morelli has won six medals at the World Championships, with four golds. A resident of Leavenworth, Kansas, she broke the women’s C4 pursuit world record and won gold at the 2016 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships.

In addition to Frederick and Morelli, Penn State will be represented at the Paralympics by nine students and four faculty members from the College of Communications, who will help cover the games for the Associated Press. Among the nine students from the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism is Brett Gravatt, a member of the Penn State men’s soccer team who suffered a spinal injury in a 2014 accident. Also a member of Penn State’s Ability Athletics program, he finished fourth in the 100- and 400-meter wheelchair dashes at the 2016 U.S. Paralympics Trials.

The United States will send a team of 280 to Rio, its largest contingent in Paralympics history. The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be the largest edition of the games yet, with an estimated 4,350 participating athletes. Athletes from more than 176 countries will compete in 528 medal events.

For more information on Penn State Ability Athletics, contact Teri Jordan, the coach and disability rec program coordinator, at 814-863-8375 or

Freshman Emily Frederick will represent Penn State’s Ability Athletics program in the shot put at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Credit: Penn State AthleticsAll Rights Reserved.

Last Updated September 09, 2016