CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two world records and a series of top performances highlighted Day Two at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Track & Field at Johnson C. Smith University’s Irwin Belkin Complex on Friday.
Cassie Mitchell (Atlanta, Georgia) posted a world record in the women's 100-meter T51/52/34, shattering her own T51 record from the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships by 1.8 seconds for a time of 24.69. Mitchell, who finished third behind winner Alexa Halko (Williamsburg, Virginia) and second place Kerri Morgan (St. Louis, Missouri), the journey was more significant than the feat.
“This was my first track race at Trials and it was an amazing feeling," Mitchell said. "I had to overcome a lot this year and that makes it more special. I was diagnosed with leukemia in April  so to even be here competing with chemotherapy and everything else that is going on makes it really meaningful.
I’m just honored to have a chance to make the team, go to Rio and represent USA and everyone fighting with any kind of disability, cancer or whatever the obstacles may be. I want to be able to show that if you keep working hard and have faith, you can overcome. I think it’s an important message no matter what the result is.”
Daniel Rizzieri (Cohocton, New York) nearly made the podium with a fourth place finish in the men’s long jump 42/43/44/45 with a world record leap of 5.99, besting his own previous T43 mark of 5.86 set in 2013.
Tatyana and Hannah McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) went one-two, respectively, in the women’s 100 T54 as Tatyana clocked in at 16.09 seconds. The sisters will both compete in their final events tomorrow with the women’s 1500 T53/54 and the 400 T34/51/52/54.
Jarryd Wallace’s (Athens, Georgia) 10.84-second 100 in today’s preliminary race for the T44 class set up what is expected to be one of the must-watch events in Saturday’s lineup. The mark would have won him gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and was just .13 of a second from his personal best.
David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) cruised to his second victory of the Trials with guide Jerome Avery (Lemoore, California) in the men’s 100 T11 in a time of 11.16. The world record holder also won the 200 on Thursday night.
It was a busy day for Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California) who won all three events he competed in. In the morning session, Townsend took the top honors in the long jump T42/43/44/45 with a leap of 7.08m. He then transferred his talents to the track, winning the 100 T45/46/47 in 11.22 to open the afternoon session before closing the night with gold in his signature event, the high jump 42/44/45/46/47. His final clearance was 2.06 before attempting 2.13, one centimeter above his T46 world record.
“Things are really coming together greatly,” Townsend said. “I know what I need to do and when it feels wrong or right. I’m just excited to be in this position. Hitting 2.13 [meters] would have been great but it’s there and I feel like I have even more potential than that. It’s great to be where I am at this point in the season.”
In the women’s discus 38/40/41/43, Natalie Bieule (Pembroke Pines, Florida) was in fine form with a winning throw of 29.49 in her first event of the Trials. Jessica Heims (Swisher, Iowa) and Fawn Washington (Charleston, West Virginia) rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.
Competition concludes after three days on Saturday with 22 events, including the women’s 1500 T53/54, men’s 100 T43/44, men’s long jump T11 and men’s 1500 T20 that will all be aired live during the coverage of the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials at 2 p.m. ET on NBC and 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Read here for more information on NBC’s coverage.
Visit USParalympics.org/2016TeamTrials for full results from the U.S. Paralympics Team Trials – Track & Field.
The 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials – Swimming and Track & Field are being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, June 30 – July 2, and are hosted by Partners for Parks. Thanks to support from The Coca-Cola Company, BP, and Deloitte, the multi-sport Trials feature more than 400 athletes who are competing for a chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit USParalympics.org/2016TeamTrials.