Brittni Mason before competing at the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Trials on June 17, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minn.
MINNEAPOLIS — Brittni Mason, already the reigning world champion in the 100-meter T46, showed off her quickness over double that distance on Friday during a night of speed at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for Track and Field in Minneapolis.
Trying to solidify her spot for the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, the 23-year-old won the 200-meter T46 race in a personal-best 25.14, finishing nearly a second ahead of her rival and teammate Deja Young, who won gold in the distance in Rio.
Mason now ranks No. 1 in the world this year in both the 100 and 200.
“This is only my third 200 meters, and my time has consistently dropped every time I’ve run it,” she said with a full smile she couldn’t wipe off her face. “And I ran it into a negative headwind with a nice little breeze on my back, so the next time I can probably go even faster.”
The 100- and 200-meter sprint performances across all classifications were the focal point of the day, as Femita Ayanbeku, a world championship bronze medalist who stars in Team USA’s new “Show the World” campaign, broke April Holmes’ Americas record in the 100-meter T64 with a 12.84. Her time was just two-tenths shy of the world record.
Nick Mayhugh — the 2019 U.S. Soccer Player of the Year with a Disability who took up track last year after soccer 7-a-side was removed from the Paralympic Games program — broke his own national record in the 100-meter T37 in 22.80. His time was also just three hundredths of a second off the Americas record and 21 hundredths of a second off the world record.
“I was a soccer athlete and was told it was impossible to become a track athlete,” Mayhugh said. “Now, I’m here proving everybody wrong.”
The other 100-meter sprints were highlighted by two-time Paralympian Jarryd Wallace and rising star Hannah Dederick. Wallace clocked the fastest time in the world this year in the T64 class, running a 10.99, which would have given him a silver at the last world championships. He was followed by Paralympian Hunter Woodhall in the T62 class, who ran an impressive 11.04. Dederick, competing in her first Trials at 18 years old, claimed victory over eight-time Paralympic medalist Cheri Madsen by one hundredth of a second in the 100-meter T54 in 16.77.
Other 100-meter sprint winners included Noah Malone (T12), Kym Crosby (T13), Isaac Jean-Paul (T13), Alexa Halko (T34), Roderick Townsend (T46) Kelsey LeFevour (T53) and Brian Siemann (T53).
Paralympian and two-time world champion Daniel Romanchuk came away with two victories on the day in the T54 class, winning the 100-meter in 14.04 and the 800-meter in 1:30.83.
In the longer distances, Paralympic champion Michael Brannigan won the men’s 1,500-meter T20 in 4:01.76. Two-time Paralympian Susannah Scaroni then beat teammate and 17-time Paralympic medalist Tatyana McFadden for the second consecutive weekend, clocking in at 12:26.34 in the 5,000-meter T54 after finishing ahead of her on the roads at last Saturday’s New York Mini 10K.
In the long jump pit, both Paralympian Trenten Merrill and junior world champion Ezra Frech broke the Americas records in their respective classifications. Merrill leaped 6.96 meters to break the T64 record by two hundredths, while Frech hit 5.90 meters to surpass the T63 record.
“I felt very good,” said Frech, who is a rising star entering his junior year of high school. “I would have loved to get the six-meter mark, but this season has been full of ups and downs so I’m grateful to even have a Trials and Games this summer.”
Four-time Paralympic silver medalist Lex Gillette flew 6.58 meters in the long jump F11 and two-time Paralympic gold medalist Roderick Townsend went 7 meters on the dot in the F46 class.
Other highlight performances in the field events included retired U.S. Army Sgt. Christy Gardner’s 9.36-meter throw in the women’s shot put F57 and two-time Paralympic medalist Scot Severn’s 7.77-meter attempt in the men’s shot put F53.