Records fall on final day of U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships

By Brianna Tammaro | June 21, 2015, 3 p.m. (ET)
Tatyana McFadden competes in the 5000m on June 19 during the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. McFadden won the women's T53/54 400 and 1500 national titles on Sunday in St. Paul, Minnesota.

ST.PAUL, Minn. — There was no short of excitement on Sunday morning as numerous records were set at Hamline University, closing out the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships.

One world, American and four Americas records highlighted Day Three of competition as over 200 of the nation’s best Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls gathered in St. Paul, Minnesota for the opportunity to represent Team USA at the Parapan American Games and IPC Athletics World Championships later this summer and fall, respectively.

Michael Brannigan (East Northport, New York) blazed through 1500-meters to break a world record and American record in the T20 class with a time of 3:48.85. Brannigan, an autistic athlete who competes in the intellectually impaired divison, shattered the previous mark set in 2003 by Poland’s Rafal Korc by a little over five seconds.

“I felt physically and mentally strong,” Brannigan said. “I’m excited and just enjoying the moment.”

Minnesota-native Josh Cinnamo (Apple Valley, Minnesota) of the F46 class set an Americas record in the men’s F38/40-47 shot put with a throw of 13.71. Cinnamo broke his own personal best and Americans mark from May’s Desert Challenge Games, which doubled as an IPC Athletics Grand Prix event, by .08 meters. F44’s David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) took the title with a throw of 14.36.

Blake Leeper (Churchill, Tennessee) earned his first title and an Americas record this weekend in the men’s T43-44 400 after falling short of the podium’s top step in the 100 and 200. Leeper, a T43 athlete and 2012 Paralympian in this event, won in convincing fashion by running a 47.90, almost two seconds ahead of his next competitor.

In the women’s F11-12/37-38/40-41/43-44 discus, Natalie Bieule (Miramar, Florida) defended her first national title from 2014 in the F44 class with a toss of 28.30 to claim the Americas record previously set in 2004 at the Paralympic Games by Cuba’s Noraivis de La Heras Chibas. Kate Callahan (San Antonio, Texas) also set the regional mark for F42 by throwing 24.85. Stephanie Timmer (Naperville, Illinois), who competes in the F12 class, won the title with a 28.56 throw.

Athletes who added the title of national champions to their name include: Raymond Martin (Champaign, Illinois) in the men’s T51/52 400 and 1500, Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) in the women’s T53/54 400 and 1500, Aaron Pike (Park Rapids, Minnesota) in the men’s T53/54 1500, David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) in the men’s T11/12 400, Brian Siemann (Champaign, Illinois) in the men’s T53 400 and many more.

“When we get to nationals, the top guys are almost not trying to beat each other but are working together just to hit a faster time,” Pike said. “We just want to make it in the top three but obviously it’s icing on the cake to win the race and call yourself a national champion.”

Full results from this weekend’s Para track and field nationals can be found at HalfmileTiming.com.

Teams for August’s Parapan Am Games in Toronto and October’s world championships in Doha, Qatar will be named based off performances from this weekend’s track and field national championships. For more information on U.S. Paralympics Track and Field and selection procedures, visit the USParalympics.org.