2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials - Track & Field Preview

By Brianna Tammaro | June 27, 2016, 11:30 p.m. (ET)
Tatyana McFadden competes in the women's 1500-meter T53/54 at the 2015 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Championships. McFadden will compete in the 100, 400, 800, 1500 and 5000 at the 2016 U.S. Paralympics Team Trials - Track & Field from June 30-July 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Four years of training and preparation will culminate at this week’s 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Trials –Track & Field for 201 athletes who will vie to wear the red, white and blue this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Charlotte will host one of the largest fields in U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Trials history as Paralympians, world champions and newcomers line up next to each other from June 30-July 2 at Johnson C. Smith University.

With an action-packed three days of events, here are a few of the key competitions to look forward to in Charlotte:


   
  Trials Fast Facts
 
201 athletes registered
36 2012 U.S. Paralympians
23 military members (active duty or veteran)
19 2008 U.S. Paralympians
19 world record holders
11 2015 world champions
   

Thursday

Women’s Club Throw F32/51

Opening the evening session on the first day of competition, Rachael Morrison (Farmington Hills, Michigan) and Cassie Mitchell (Atlanta, Georgia) will go head-to-head as the two front runners in the women’s club throw. Morrison is the world silver medalist and world record holder in the event. Paralympian Mitchell took third at August’s Parapan American Games behind Morrison. Mitchell’s 2012 Paralympic teammate Zena Cole (Toledo, Ohio) will also make her return to competition after May’s Desert Challenge Games to contest for gold.

Men’s 200m T43/44
A combined T43/44 event will bring out a stacked group of Rio hopefuls, including defending world champion Richard Browne (Jackson, Mississippi) and silver medalist Hunter Woodhall (Syracuse, Utah). Several Paralympians also highlight the group, including David Prince (Venice, Florida), Jerome Singleton (Irmo, South Carolina) and Blake Leeper (Churchill, Tennessee). Don’t discount up-and-comers A.J. Digby (Bowling Green, Ohio) and Nick Rogers (Lisbon, Maine) from making a run at the crown.

Women’s 200m T45/46/47
Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas) had a breakthrough performance, winning gold and silver at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, her first international competition as part of Team USA. Now she’ll seek to repeat her success against a young but with Megan Absten (Burlington, Washington), Jasmine Rowe (Douglassville, Tennessee) and Amy Watt (Palo Alto, California).

Friday


Men’s High Jump 42/44/45/46/47
Roderick Townsend (Stockton, California), the T46 world champion, will save the best of his events for last as he’ll face a deep pool in the men’s high jump event. Other competitors include Townsend’s three-time Paralympian mentor Jeff Skiba (San Diego, California), T42 world champion Sam Grewe (Middlebury, Indiana), Paralympian Tobi Fawehinmi (Arlington, Texas), 2015 U.S. Paralympics High School Field Athlete of the Year Garrison Hayes (Aurora, Colorado) and Ming Davis (New Rochelle, New York).

Women’s Discus F38/40/41/43/44
A talented women’s group will look to make a name for themselves in the discus as F44 world champion Natalie Bieule (Pembroke Pines, Florida) highlights the event with emerging athletes Emily Frederick (Birmingham, Alabama), Lauren Gates (Foxfield, Colorado), Jessica Heims (Swisher, Iowa), Kamee Mayfield (Mesa, Arizona) and Fawn Washington (Charleston, West Virginia).

Men’s 100m T11
As the world record holder for the visually impaired class, David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) is the top contender to break the tape first, though not without competition from fellow world champion in the long jump Lex Gillette (Raleigh, North Carolina), Tanner Gers (Phoenix, Arizona) and Gianni Toce (Mandeville, Louisiana).

Saturday

Men’s 100m T44
One of the most highly-anticipated events of the competition, world champion Browne will face off against Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia) for the first final on the track at Saturday’s evening session. Browne and Wallace traded world records in 2015 before Browne posted a 10.61 mark to take the world title at the 2015 world championships in October with Wallace missing in the field. The two aren’t the only standouts. Singleton, Prince and Trenten Merrill (San Juan Capistrano, California) will also look to contend for the top spot.

Women’s 1500 T53/54
Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland), who is aiming to race a record seven events in Rio, leads an all-star lineup of women’s wheelchair racers in the 1500m before the 4x400m relay later that evening. University of Illinois teammates Chelsea McClammer (Benton City, Washington), Amanda McGrory (Kennett Square, Pennsylvania), Susannah Scaroni (Tekoa, Washington) and three-time Paralympian Shirley Reilly (Los Gatos, California).

Men’s Discus F11/37/43/44
Trials will mark another great chapter in the Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas) and David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) rivalrous saga. For eight years, Campbell has dominated the men’s F44 class, winning discus gold at the last two Paralympic Games and world championships. Paralympic newcomer Blair burst onto the scene in 2015, taking silver at the world championships before smashing Campbell’s world record throw by 15 centimeters in May to set a new mark of 63.61.

Find the full schedule for the 2016 U.S. Paralympics Team Trials – Track & Field at USParalympics.org/2016TeamTrials.
 

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.