Launched in 2019, CATAPULT’s Sponsored Athlete Team was created to help build brand recognition, and more importantly, awareness of the para community. We are proud to introduce this team, consisting of athletes from across the country. Each athlete is provided a competition stipend and CATAPULT gear for their current season.
We look forward to growing this program, and thank all who applied! Congratulations to the selected athletes who represent our inaugural Sponsored Athlete Team! Below are introductions to each of our 2019-2020 Team Catapult Sponsored Athletes!
2019-2020 Sponsored Athletes
Mark barr - texas
Mark Barr developed a tumor that would eventually lead to an amputation when he was fourteen years old in order to prevent a fatal outcome. He had grown up playing soccer, baseball, and swam competitively since he was just four years old. Swimming remained in his repertoire as Mark endured chemotherapy. He competed at the collegiate level, against able-body competitors, and swimming eventually translated into an avenue for him to compete at the Paralympic level, in Greece (2004) and Beijing (2008).
Mark eventually progressed to triathlon and has won three National Championships, as well as represented Team USA in numerous ITU World Paratriathlon events. In 2018 Mark was dominant, winning gold in every ITU World Series event, including the World Championship in Gold Coast, Australia. Mark is ranked 1st in the world in his category. He also competed on Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first Paralympics where Paratriathlon was featured. In 2019, Mark was awarded the ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete in a Sport, Athlete with a Disability.
Mark is enrolled in school to become a nurse anesthetist, is a former ICU trauma nurse at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, and is the director of Swim Across America - Houston. He has been with Catapult since its inception in 2015.
Mark’s Paratriathlon resume can be found here.
Kelly elmlinger - texas
In 2013, Kelly Elmlinger was diagnosed with a rare tumor in her left leg and had elective amputation after years of limb salvage attempts. In 2018, she completed her first triathlon three weeks after getting an all-purpose running prosthesis; the start of her paratriathlon journey. Kelly is already among the top ranked athletes in her category in the world, and is a 2020 Tokyo Paralympic hopeful!
Sports and athletics have been of significant importance in Kelly’s life dating back to childhood, being an outlet for her throughout high school, college and her military career. After participating in adaptive sports for the military and within her community, she wanted to give back and has mentored and coached local youth in wheelchair track and wheelchair basketball for the past five years! Sports have given her confidence, sanctity, and a home within her community; all important aspects Kelly wants other adaptive athletes to find!
Currently, Kelly lives in San Antonio with her ten-year-old daughter and recently retired after twenty years of active duty service, in the Army.
jack o’neil - colorado
Jack O'Neil had an above-the-knee amputation when he was nine years old. Shortly after, he was introduced to the sport of triathlon and quickly fell in love with the challenge! Jack was the first athlete with a disability to compete in USA Triathlon High School Nationals and is a member of the Dare2Tri Development Team. Jack is also a member of the Pikes Peak Athletics Swim Team, training and competing against able-bodied athletes. He is also a youth swim camp instructor!
Jack lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with his family and two dogs. He is a junior in high school, with goals of studying journalism while competing in swimming and triathlon at the collegiate level. Jack’s athletic goals include racing the ITU Paratriathlon circuit and the 2024 Paralympics! He is grateful for the opportunity to join Team Catapult’s Sponsored Athlete Program, and for the mentorship and support he receives while pursuing his athletic endeavors!
Devann Murphy - NEw York
Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) of the right femur and hip at the age of eleven, Devann Murphy discovered adaptive sports in 2015. Prior to then, Devann competed in road running and obstacle course races using traditional underarm crutches, struggling to find her niche. Everything changed with the sport of handcycling!
Devann has since become a two-time Overall Handcycling Division Winner of the Vermont City Marathon, and Overall Women’s Handcycling Division Winner of both the 2019 Boston Marathon and 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. She has also qualified for the ParaSpartan Elite Championships. Outside of racing, she enjoys indoor rock climbing, kayaking, nordic sit skiing, and hiking. Devann lives in New York with husband, Tom, and rescue dog, Quincy.
Jeff Waldmuller - UTAH
Jeff Waldmuller is a research prosthetist and thrill-seeker who has been competing in cycling and running events since he was a child. A motorcycle accident took his right leg below the knee in 2008, and Jeff found his calling as a prosthetist and adaptive athlete. He ran track and field for several years and raced mountain bikes, turning to triathlon in 2014. Jeff completed his first 140.6 at RedMan ITU Long-Course Triathlon in 2015 and has since raced at Ironman Cartagena, Colombia, Galveston 70.3, Waco 70.3, and countless other endurance races including Dallas Marathon, Houston Marathon, and Hotter N Hell Hundred.
In 2018, Jeff was referred to Team CATAPULT to participate in the Texas Independence Relay. Acceptance into the Team felt immediate and he has participated in numerous endurance events with CATAPULT since then! His skills as a prosthetist and adaptive athlete allow him to assist others past equipment and prosthesis issues, allowing them to continue competing with little-to-no downtime. Occasionally, even during the course of an event!
Jeff’s race ambitions include returns to the Houston and Dallas Marathons, 2020 Boston Marathon, IM Boulder, IM St. George, IM Japan, IM Kraichgau, IM Hamburg, Leadville 100 Miler, and more!
danielle aravich - utah
Danielle Aravich was born in Boise, Idaho missing her left hand. Throughout her childhood, she was a competitive athlete and participated in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities. In college at Butler University, Dani competed as a D1, multi-sport student-athlete in Track & Field, Cross Country and Collegiate Club Soccer while studying Business Marketing. She currently works in the Marketing Department for the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
Dani has been training heavily for the Paralympics in the hopes of competing on behalf of Team USA in Tokyo 2020 in the 400m. In her spare time, Dani is a coach for the NubAbility® Athletics Foundation and an advocate for the Lucky Fin Project. She also enjoys skiing, hiking, and online shopping.
Corvin Bazgan - california
Corvin Bazgan was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a common cause of deaf-blindness, at the age of 18 in 1992. He began his active lifestyle in 2005 by signing up for an Alcatraz swim and has never looked back. Since then, Corvin has completed over ten Alcatraz crossings, twelve marathons, and many triathlons. His latest accomplishments are finishing the 2018 Ironman Arizona in 12 hours and 38 minutes, and placing first for men at 2019 Houston Marathon Athletes with Disabilities in 3 hours and 23 minutes.
Corvin is a software engineer, and a proud husband and father.
nicole ver kuilen - washington
Nicole Ver Kuilen lost her left leg below the knee to cancer at age ten and has made it her life’s goal to expand access to prosthetic technology for all amputees. She has completed a 1,500 mile triathlon down the west coast to raise awareness for amputee rights, lobbied to members of Congress in Washington, DC, and summitted Ecuador’s 19,347 ft. Cotopaxi with the Range of Motion Project.
In her ITU Paratriathlon debut, Nicole placed 2nd at the 2019 Sarasota-Bradenton CAMTRI Paratriathlon American Championships. She also is the founder of non-profit Forrest Stump with the mission of advocating for fair, adequate rights for amputees and their access to the prosthetics they need to meet and exceed their mobility goals.
Joshua Smith - Texas
Joshua Smith was born in California and raised in Texas, where he joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005. Josh retired in 2015 after a firearms incident caused him to lose his right leg below the knee. He began playing volleyball for the U.S. Men's Sitting Volleyball Team, representing Team USA at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janiero. He’s currently living in Huntsville, TX and attends Sam Houston State University where he is majoring in Math Education for middle grades.
Josh became associated with Team Catapult in 2018 through an invitation to run the Texas Independence Relay. Once connected, he ran his first half marathon a few months later. Josh ran his first full at the Chevron Houston Marathon with Catapult, finishing in just over four hours and qualifying for the 2020 Boston Marathon as mobility impaired athlete! He’s since run two more half marathons and returned to the Texas Independence Relay in 2019, again with Team Catapult. Josh is registered for the 2020 Houston Marathon with a goal of finishing in under 3:30 and aims to run the 2020 Boston Marathon in under three hours.
Patrick PRessgrove - texas
Patrick Pressgrove was born with a rare genetic disorder which affected the development of this legs, feet, and resulted in a cleft lip and palate. By age thirteen, Patrick was wheelchair-bound both at and away from home, and had elective bi-lateral above-knee amputations in 2004. In 2015, he was encouraged by both his prosthetic clinician and a fellow patient, Mark Barr, to begin using a pair of running prosthesis he was granted from the Challenged Athletes Foundation a year before.
In 2016, after training for some time alone, Patrick attended a weekly Catapult workout where he met Catapult leadership, volunteers, and other physically challenged athletes. This community was something Patrick had never been exposed to and proved to be the spark he needed to set and pursue new athletic goals, running his first race in the fall of 2016. The following year, he entered the sport of triathlon as well.
Since joining Catapult Patrick has completed eight half marathons and two full marathons, qualifying for and completing the 2019 Boston Marathon. He’s also qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon. He’s completed the nearly 200-mile, overnight Texas Independence Relay with Catapult three times, once as a team captain. Patrick has completed numerous triathlons, from sprint distance to a Half Ironman, plans for a full Ironman, and aims to become the second bi-lateral amputee to complete an Ultraman-distance triathlon. Patrick was added to Hanger Clinic’s Elite Athlete Team in 2018 and is a Hanger Ambassador.