What To Watch At The 2017 U.S. Paralympic Track & Field National Championships

By Stafford Braxton | June 01, 2017, 4:38 p.m. (ET)


LA native, Breanna Clark, will compete on home soil this weekend at the 2017 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships 

Team USA’s best athletes are gearing up for the first major competition since the Paralympic Games Rio 2016 as they take on the 2017 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships in Los Angeles from June 2-4. The season has taken off to a tremendous start with records already being set at various events around the country. The field is set for tough competition as Rio rematches take place and spots on the 2017 world championships team are on the line. The chosen squad will compete against the world’s best this summer at the World Para Athletics Championships in London, July 14-23.

The event brings together national team and emerging athletes from across 37 states, with California being heavily represented with 30 athletes. Twenty-one of those U.S. athletes won medals at Rio 2016, including Paralympic newcomers Hunter Woodhall (Syracuse, Utah) and Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), four-time Paralympian Lex Gillette (Raleigh, North Carolina), along with Amanda McGrory (Savoy, Illinois) and Chelsea McClammer (Richland, Washington).

With the nation’s best Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls together on one track, here are some of the key events to watch for during the three days of competition:

Locals Compete On Home Turf
Scout Bassett (Harbor Springs, Michigan), Breanna Clark (Los Angeles, California) and Kym Crosby (Yuba City, California) are just a few of the California locals that are set to compete on the familiar Mondo track next week. Bassett, a 2016 Paralympian, calls UCLA her alma mater and is looking forward to making her mark once again on her favorite track. Having finished fifth in the T42 100-meter in Rio, she recently set the American record in Chula Vista and is looking to capitalize off her already successful season in her home state. Clark took the Paralympic crown in the 400m in Rio and recently set the world record in her opening outdoor race this season. Having grown up in the City of Angels, she will have the opportunity to show her hometown what she is made of. Crosby, a native of Yuba City and recent graduate of California State, hopes to capitalize off her bronze-medal success in Rio. At the 2015 world championships, she finished second in the T13 200 and third in the 100 and is taking advantage of this opportunity to potentially change the game in London.

Team USA Wheelchair Racers Ready To Shine
With Tatyana McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) not competing in Los Angeles, that opens the field for Team USA wheelchair racers to grab the spotlight in Los Angeles. No need to worry, Team USA's top wheelchair racers will be in attendance in full force, making for an exciting competition. Tatyana’s sister, training partner and fellow Paralympic teammate Hannah McFadden (Clarksville, Maryland) will be ready to race as she takes on T52 100; a race in which she finished just off the podium in Rio in fourth. McGrory, a three-time Paralympian and two-time Rio silver medalist, continuously sets herself apart from the competition as one of the best. Having finished fourth in Rio, she hopes to redeem herself in the 800 in route to a fourth world championships team. Last, but not least, McClammer has had a remarkable start to her season, having recently set the T53 world record in the 400, 800, and 5000 while also breaking the American record in the 1500. As the T53 400 silver medalist in Rio, she will go for gold once again.  

Campbell and Blair Back At It
Three-time Paralympian and two-time gold medalist in discus, Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas), is ready to redeem himself after a fourth-place finish in Rio. As the current world champion and London 2012 Paralympic champion in the F44 category, he will make strides to defend his world title against the reigning Paralympic champion, David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah). Blair recently became the first Paralympic athlete to throw over 65 and set an American record. Due to the fact that the event was not sanctioned by the IPC, the throw did not qualify for the world record. After throwing an impressive 64 in Rio to secure gold, he hopes to make his second world championship team and challenge Campbell for the crown.

Rio Re-Do
With nationals being the first major competition since Rio 2016, many Paralympians are looking for redemption. Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia) went into Rio on a career high, having blown away the T43/44 100 field at Paralympic Trials a few months prior, but he did not have the performance that he wanted finished fifth in the T44 100 and sixth in the 400. As the 2013 world champion in the 200, he is looking to make a comeback in Los Angeles. Josh George (Herndon, Virginia) is no stranger to tough competition. As a four-time Paralympic veteran and five-time world champion, he will compete to bounce back from a fifth-place finish in the T53 800 in Rio; a race in which he was crowned the 2006 and 2013 world champion. Be on the lookout for other strong Rio comeback races from AJ Digby (Tontogany, Ohio) in the T43 100, Femita Ayanbeku (Boston, Massachusetts) in the T44 100, Johnnie Williams (Tampa, Florida) in the F56 discus throw and Susannah Scaroni (Tekoa, Washington) in the T54 800.

Follow U.S. Paralympics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for updated information during the event. Full results can be found at finishedresults.com.