2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans named

By Brianna Tammaro | Sept. 03, 2015, 10 a.m. (ET)
Michael Brannigan holds up the American flag after receiving his gold medal for the men’s 1500 T20 race on Aug. 10, 2015 at the 2015 Parapan American Games in Toronto.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, announced today the 66 athletes selected as 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans. This is the sixth year that U.S. Paralympics has honored the top high school track and field athletes with Paralympic-eligible impairments based off performances during the 2015 season.

“Each year, the high school All-American list showcases the top young athletes across the country,” Cathy Sellers, high performance director of U.S. Paralympics Track and Field said. “This group has a number of athletes that we will see on the podium at the 2020 Paralympic Games and potentially even in 2016.”

Ten of the high school All-American athletes recently represented Team USA at August’s Parapan American Games, including four who won medals in Toronto. Michael Brannigan (Northport, New York) and Daniel Romanchuk (Mt. Airy, Maryland) won gold in their first international competition while Desmond Jackson (Durham, North Carolina) and Isaiah Rigo (Cheney, Washington) captured bronze.

Over the years, the esteemed list has recognized young U.S. athletes who have competed at the Paralympic Games and currently hold world records: David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri), Ray Martin (Jersey City, New Jersey) and Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington).

Ohio, once again, tops the list with six athletes on the All-American roster, including the Female Track Athlete of the Year, Grace Norman (Jamestown, Ohio). Florida, New Jersey and Texas had a three-way tie for second with five. Having increased since 2014, a total of 12 states produced multiple athletes on the list. Others include: California (four), Colorado (four), Louisiana (four), Alabama (three), Massachusetts (three), Washington (three), North Carolina (two) and Virginia (two).

“It’s encouraging to see more states including Paralympic sports and events into their programs,” Sellers said. “Witnessing athletes like Grace Norman, the first amputee to qualify for the Ohio Track & Field High School State Championships, pave the way for future stars is both exciting and telling of how much this class can accomplish.”

The selection criteria looked at multiple performances by each athlete compared against the “A” standard for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Team. The ranking list is not a conventional list as the results are weighted according to the level and type of disability. The general disability categories of athletes named to the All-American list are visual impairment (11-13), intellectual disability (20), cerebral palsy (33-38), dwarfism (40), amputation/limb loss (41-46) and spinal cord injury (51-57).

2015 Female Track Athlete of the Year

Grace Norman had a standout year in 2015 to take the top female honor. She became the first amputee to qualify for the Ohio Track and Field State Championships and podium with an eighth place finish in the 1600-meters against able-bodied runners for Xenia Christian High School. The 17-year old also broke two T44 world records in June in the 800 and 1500 at the Indy International and Fast Cow Invitational.

2015 Male Track Athlete of the Year

A finalist for this award in 2014, Michael Brannigan (East Northport, New York) continues to dominate the men’s T20 class as one of the most exciting high school distance athletes in the nation. Brannigan, who has autism, clocked a world record time of 3:48 in the 1500m to win his first U.S. Paralympics Track and Field national title, placing him second amongst all high school runners in the U.S. He also took gold in his first international meet at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, reinforcing that Brannigan is a name to remember for years to come.

2015 Female Field Athlete of the Year

Amy Watt (Palo Alto, California) has established herself as one of the top T47/F47 female athletes in the country. A high school All-American in 2014, Watt won her first national title in the 400m and long jump while also taking second in the 100 and 200. Ranked fifth in the world in long jump and placing fourth in the 100 and 200 at the Parapan Am Games, Watt continues to show her versatility as an athlete.

2015 Male Field Athlete of the Year

In a close race, Garrison Hayes (Aurora, Colorado), a F42 athlete, gets the edge after a great season leading the high school field in both the discus and shot put and taking the second slot in the javelin. At July’s IWAS World Juniors, Garrison won gold in the discus and javelin and finished third in shot put and long jump.


2015 U.S. Paralympic Track and Field High School All-Americans
Name    Hometown (High School)    Mark/Time 
Men         
         
100
1. Nick Rogers (43) Lisbon Falls, Maine (Lisbon) 11.54
2. Desmond Jackson (42) Durmham, N.C. (Hillside) 13.23
3. Isaiah Rigo (52) Cheney, Wash. (Cheney) 18.71
4. Jack Briggs (46) Fort Collins, Colo. (Ft. Collins) 11.67
5. Casey Followay (53) Wooster, Ohio (Wooster) 16.38
6. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool)  15.30
7. Timothy Tanner (12) Nashville, Tenn. (Tenn. School for the Blind) 11.84
8. Garrison Hayes (42) Aurora, Colo. (Cherokee Trail) 13.77
200
1. Hunter Woodhall (43) Syracuse, Utah (Syracuse) 22.94
2. Jack Briggs (46) Fort Collins, Colo. (Ft. Collins) 23.20
3. Isaiah Rigo (52) Cheney, Wash. (Cheney) 33.16
4. Nick Rogers (43) Lisbon Falls, Maine (Lisbon) 23.25
5. Austin Joseph Digby (43) Bowling Green, Ohio (Otsego) 23.99
6. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 26.76
7. Timothy Tanner (12) Nashville, Tenn. (Tenn. School for the Blind) 24.24
8. Desmond Jackson (42) Durmham, N.C. (Hillside) 28.67
400
1. Hunter Woodhall (43) Syracuse, Utah (Syracuse) 49.15
2. Austin Joseph Digby (43) Bowling Green, Ohio (Otsego) 51.55
3. Isaiah Rigo (52) Cheney, Wash. (Cheney) 65.47
4. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool)  50.40
5. Branden Walton (13) Windsor, Calif. (Windsor) 55.07
6. Timothy Tanner (12) Nashville, Tenn. (Tenn. School for the Blind) 56.23
7. Michael Zane Magin (36) Mead, Wash. (Mead) 65.38
8. Casey Followay (53) Wooster, Ohio (Wooster) 59.47
800
1. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 1:39.00
2. Brandon Walton (13) Windsor, Calif. (Windsor) 2:07.00
3. Christopher Alividrez (54) Dumas, Texas (Dumas) 1:47.04
4. Nicholas Badeaux (38) New Iberia, La. (Catholic) 2:32.00
5. Matthew Tohon (54) Linden, N.J. (Linden) 1:56.00
6. Joey Gibbs (53) Ocala, Fla. (Vanguard) 2:03.00
7. Isaiah Rigo (52) Cheney, Wash. (Cheney) 2:07.00
8. Miguel Jimenez-Vergara (54) Ewing, N.J. (Notre Dame) 2:08.00
1500
1. Michael Brannigan (20) East Northport, N.Y. (Northport) 03:48.85
2. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 03:03.74
3. Isaiah Rigo (52) Cheney, Wash. (Cheney) 03:58.85
4. Brandon Walton (13) Windsor, Calif. (Windsor) 04:29.00
5. Noah Scherf (13) Michigan City, Ind. (Michigan City) 04:57.71
6. Nicholas Badeaux (38) New Iberia, La. (Catholic) 05:37.00
7. Zach Woodke (37) Brandon, Fla. (Sante Fe Catholic) 05:37.66
8. Matthew Tohon (54) Linden, N.J. (Linden) 03:59.62
5000
1. Michael Brannigan (20) East Northport, N.Y. (Northport) 14:42.33
2. Daniel Romanchuk (54) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 10:36.53
3. Matthew Tohon (54) Linden, N.J. (Linden) 14:17.10
4. Joey Gibbs (53) Ocala, Fla. (Vanguard) 14:53.50
5. Miguel Jimenez-Vergara (54) Ewing, N.J. (Notre Dame) 15:21.69
6. Stephen Machak (54) Pompton Plain, N.J. (Pequannock Twp.) 15:48.34
7. Jason McCabe (54) O'Fallon, Mo. (Holt) 17:24.51
8. Donovan McBride (54) Waterloo, Iowa (Waterloo) 15:51.53
Discus
1. Garrison Hayes (42) Aurora, Colo. (Cherokee Trail) 38.59m
2. Samuel Grewe (42) Middlebury, Ind. (Northridge) 35.04m
3. Randy McMullen (56) Kent, Ohio (Kent Roosevelt) 26.45m
4. Rashad Bennett (34) Birmingham, Ala. (Clay-Chalksville) 24.90m
5. Alexander Klein (44) Metairie, La. (Jesuit) 33.43m
6. Brendon Driscoll (42) Essex, Mass. (Manchester Essex) 24.74m
7. Zach Woodke (37) Brandon, Fla. (Sante Fe Catholic) 25.09m
8. Daniel Romanchuk (56) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 17.70m
Javelin
1. Justin Ferra (37) Greenwich, R.I. (East Greenwich) 38.64m
2. Garrison Hayes (42) Aurora, Colo. (Cherokee Trail) 39.54m
3. Nolan Langford (44) Uvalde, Texas (Uvalde) 40.52m
4. Samuel Grewe (42) Middlebury, Ind. (Northridge) 34.90m
5. Randy McMullen (56) Kent, Ohio (Kent Roosevelt) 23.48m
6. Nigel Diaz (37) Tampa, Fla. (Center Academy) 25.32m
7. Daniel Romanchuk (55) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 16.43m
8. Rashad Bennett (34) Birmingham, Ala. (Clay-Chalksville) 18.07m
Long Jump
1. Austin Joseph Digby (43) Bowling Green, Ohio (Otsego) 5.54m
2. Desmond Jackson (42) Durmham, N.C. (Hillside) 5.06m
3. Justin Ferra (37) Greenwich, R.I. (East Greenwich) 4.88m
4. Samuel Grewe (42) Middlebury, Ind. (Northridge) 4.41m
5. Nolan Langford (44) Uvalde, Texas (Uvalde) 4.45m
6. Nigel Diaz (37) Tampa, Fla. (Center Academy) 3.76m
7.Zach Woodke (37) Brandon, Fla. (Sante Fe Catholic) 3.66m
8. Gianni Toce (11) Mandeville, La. (La. School for the Visually Impaired) 3.75m
Shotput
1. Garrison Hayes (42) Aurora, Colo. (Cherokee Trail) 10.25m
2. Randy McMullen (56) Kent, Ohio (Kent Roosevelt) 9.50m
3. Rashad Bennett (34) Birmingham, Ala. (Clay-Chalksville) 7.71m
4. Samuel Grewe (42) Middlebury, Ind. (Northridge) 10.03m
5. Miguel Jimenez-Vergara (55) Fort Wayne, Ind. (Northrup) 7.64m
6. Daniel Romanchuk (55) Mt. Airy, Md. (Homeschool) 7.53m
7. Alexander Klein (44) Metairie, La. (Jesuit) 9.29m
8. Joshua Winsper (41) Rochester, Mass. (Old Rochester Regional) 7.28m
Women
100
1. Alexa Halko (34) Williamsburg, Va. (Jamestown) 18.60
2. Amy Watt (46) Palo Alto, Calif. (Gunn) 13.09
3. Suzanne Arenal (35) Corona Del Mar, Calif. (Corona Del Mar) 17.79
4. Jessica Rogers (53) Springfield, Va. (W.T. Woodson) 19.08
5. Jessica Heims (44) Swisher, Iowa (Prairie) 15.12
6. Katrina Gerhard (54) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 18.85
7. Yen Hoang (53) Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen) 19.73
8. Annie Schlesinger (37) Naperville, Ill. (Naperville Central) 16.50
200
1. Amy Watt (46) Palo Alto, Calif. (Gunn) 27.38
2. Alexa Halko (34) Williamsburg, Va. (Jamestown) 34.75
3. Suzanne Arenal (35) Corona Del Mar, Calif. (Corona Del Mar) 37.31
4. Jessica Heims (44) Swisher, Iowa (Prairie) 31.84
5. Katrina Gerhard (54) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 34.38
6. Jessica Rogers (53) Springfield, Va. (W.T. Woodson) 34.88
7. Yen Hoang (53) Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen) 34.93
8. Jenna Fesemeyer (54) Ravenna, Ohio (Southeast) 35.03
400
1. Alexa Halko (34) Williamsburg, Va. (Jamestown) 64.16
2. Grace Norman (44) Jamestown, Ohio (Xenia Christian) 63.99
3. Amy Watt (46) Palo Alto, Calif. (Gunn) 62.85
4. Katrina Gerhard (54) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 65.68
5. Jenna Fesemeyer (54) Ravenna, Ohio (Southeast) 67.06
6. Yen Hoang (53) Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen) 68.25
7. Jessica Rogers (53) Springfield, Va. (W.T. Woodson) 69.06
8. Jessica Heims (44) Swisher, Iowa (Prairie) 75.17
800
1. Grace Norman (44) Jamestown, Ohio (Xenia Christian) 02:27.88
2. Alexa Halko (34) Williamsburg, Va. (Jamestown) 02:09.41
3. Yen Hoang (53) Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen) 02:11.44
4. Katrina Gerhard (54) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 02:12.51
5. Jessica Rogers (53) Springfield, Va. (W.T. Woodson) 02:23.94
6. Jenna Fesemeyer (54) Ravenna, Ohio (Southeast) 02:21.49
7. Abby Farrell (54) Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Academy) 02:35.80
8. Elizabeth Becker (54) Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage) 02:47.61
1500
1. Grace Norman (44) Jamestown, Ohio (Xenia Christian) 04:58.68
2. Jessica Monali (46) Missouri City, Texas (Ft. Bend Elkins) 05:07.13
3. Katrina Gerhard (54) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 04:09.90
4. Yen Hoang (54) Vancouver, Wash. (Evergreen) 04:10.47
5. Elizabeth Becker (54) Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage) 05:19.26
6. Rachel Doud (53) Homewood, Ala. (Homewood) 05:19.59
7. Elisabeth Ruis-Torres (54) Hackettstown, N.J. (Hackettstown) 05:40.90
8. Stephanie Marquez (54) New Britain, Conn. (RK Kinsella Magnet) 05:45.82
Discus
1. Jessica Heims (44) Swisher, Iowa (Prairie) 25.05m
2. Jenna Fesemeyer (54) Ravenna, Ohio (Southeast) 20.72m
3. Christina Lang (44) Dunedin, Fla. (Dunedin) 19.33m
4. Lauren Gates (44) Foxfield, Colo. (Grandview) 16.42m
5. Emily Frederick (40) Birmingham, Ala. (Hokes Bluff) 11.63m
6. Stephanie Marquez (56) New Britain, Conn. (RK Kinsella Magnet) 13.99m
7. Katrina Keck (56) Tulsa, Okla. (Metro Christian) 13.84m
8. Mary Kate Cooper (44) Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. (Palos Verdes) 12.46m
Javelin
1. Karina Keck (56) Tulsa, Okla. (Metro Christian) 12.43m
2. Stephanie Marquez (56) New Britain, Conn. (RJ Kinsella Magnet) 11.89m
3. Karina Gerhard (56) Acton, Mass. (Acton Boxborough) 11.74m
4. Rachel Kroener (34) Scottsdale, Ariz. (Pinnacle) 12.31m
5. Emily Clarke (40) Tampa, Fla. (Alonso) 11.09m
6. Elizabeth Becker (55) Wake Forest, N.C. (Heritage) 9.51m
7. Kortney St. Clair (56) Cibolo, Texas (Steele) 9.17m
8. Elizabeth Ruiz-Torres (56) Hackettstown, N.J. (Hackettstown) 8.80m
Long Jump
1. Amy Watt (45) Palo Alto, Calif. (Gunn) 5.23m
2. Lauren Gates (44) Foxfield, Colo. (Grandview) 3.55m
3. Jessica Heims (44) Swisher, Iowa (Prairie) 3.43m
4. Madison Castillo (37) Wichita, Kans. (Maize) 2.76m
5. Amanda Malawski (37) Sugar Grove, Ill. (Kaneland) 2.62m
6. Mary Kate Cooper (44) Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. (Palos Verdes) 2.88m
7. Margaret Beaudoin (37) Berkley, Mich. (Berkley) 2.29m
8. Sabrina Bredberg (37) Ashby, Minn. (Ashby) 2.21m
Shotput
1. Emily Frederick (40) Birmingham, Ala. (Hokes Bluff) 4.90m
2. Rachel Kroener (34) Scottsdale, Ariz. (Pinnacle) 5.90m
3. Stephanie Marquez (56) New Britain, Conn. (RJ Kinsella Magnet) 6.15m
4. Sammy Rhodes (56) Wooster, Ohio (Triway) 6.12m
5. Melanie Baliff (35) Bossier City, La. (Airline) 6.02m
6. Sarah Maynard (54) Weatherford, Texas (Peaster) 3.88m
7. Jenna Fesemeyer (57) Ravenna, Ohio (Southeast) 5.87m
8. Sabrina Bredberg (37) Ashby, Minn. (Ashby) 5.72m