Mitchell, Townsend set world marks at U.S. Paralympics track and field nationals

By Brianna Tammaro | June 20, 2015, 11:30 p.m. (ET)
Richard Browne runs to a victory in the men's T43/44 200-meter dash at the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships on June 19, 2015.


ST. PAUL, Minn. – Cassie Mitchell (Atlanta, Georgia) was at it again on Saturday, setting another unofficial world record in the women’s T51/52 100-meter race at the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships at Hamline University.

The 2012 Paralympian for the T51 class set her second world mark in the first two days of competition, crossing the finish line at 25.77 seconds. She shaved less than three seconds off the previous record set by Canada’s Becky Richter last month. Mitchell won silver for this distance at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

Accompanying Mitchell in rewriting the record books was Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California) who is a U.S. Paralympics newcomer. Townsend, a recent graduate of Boise State where he competed in track and field, leaped 2.07 in the men’s F12/42-47 long jump, taking .02 meters off the former mark. Three-time Paralympian Jeff Skiba pushed Townsend throughout the opening heights, taking second with a successful attempt of 2.04.

“I never thought this would be something for me until I met Jeff Skiba,” Townsend said. “He introduced me to [Paralympics] and from that point on I’ve been doing what I’m doing. It’s been a great experience and I feel like I’m in a really good place.”

Townsend set an American high jump record with a 1.90 mark at May’s Desert Challenge Games, an IPC Athletics Grand Prix event, in Tempe, Arizona.  He also won the men’s 100, taking gold in a windy men’s T45-47 100 race in 11.34.

“[The world record] means it’s really here,” Townsend said. “It’s just the beginning. I can’t wait to show everybody else what I have in store.”

It was a familiar faceoff in the women’s 100 race with Tatyana and Hannah McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) battling for the T54 title. Hannah pushed out to the early lead until Tatyana came from behind in the last 25 meters to capture the win in 16.53 seconds.

All eyes were on the men’s 100 T43/44 event as current world record holder Richard Browne (Jackson, Mississippi) shot out of the start to pull away from the talented Paralympic pack of Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia), Blake Leeper (Churchill, Tennessee), Jerome Singleton (Greenwood, South Carolina) for the title win with a time of 10.78 seconds.

“It was probably my best start of the year, which I’m really proud of myself for because I’ve been struggling this year with my starts,” Browne said. “After about 50 meters, I got into my running and felt good. I’m really excited about my time since I’m only three-hundredths off the world record. I’m looking forward to world championships and Parapan Ams.”

The day of sprints and field events included numerous other national champions, including three-time Paralympic gold medalist and world record holder Jeremy Campbell (Edmonton, Oklahoma) who took the men’s F11/12/37/42 discus with 57.23.

Other Day Two champions include: David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) in the men’s T11 100, Raymond Martin (Champaign, Illinois) in the men’s T52 100, Kerry Morgan (St. Louis, Missouri) in the women’s T51/52 100, Angela Madsen (Long Beach, California) in the women’s F33/34/53/57 shot put, Shaquille Vance (Houston, Mississippi) in the men’s T42 100, April Holmes (Kissimmee, Florida) in the women’s T43/44 100 and many more.

Additionally, Americas records were set today by Rachel Kroener (Scottsdale, Arizona) for the F34 class in the women’s F33/34/53/57 shot put (5.90), Alexa Halko (Edmond, Oklahoma) for the T34 class in the women’s T33/34 100 (18.60 seconds) and Rachael Morrison (Farmington Hills, Michigan) for the F51 class in the women’s F51/52 discus (11.24).

Track and field national championships is the U.S. qualification opportunity for the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto and IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar this summer and fall.

Competition concludes tomorrow with a final morning session beginning at 9 a.m., Sunday, June 21, at Hamline’s Klas track and field stadium.

For more information on the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships, visit USParalympics.org. Live results will be available at HalfmileTiming.com.