Twenty U.S. Athletes To Compete In Inaugural Junior Track & Field World Championships

By Brianna Tammaro | June 09, 2017, 11:12 a.m. (ET)
Jessica Heims competes in the women's discus throw for the 2016 U.S. Paralympics Team Trials - Track & Field at Irwin Belk Complex at Johnson C. Smith University on July 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Team USA’s newest generation of talent will compete in the inaugural 2017 World Para Athletics Junior Championships taking place August 3-6 in Nottwil, Switzerland. The U.S. will bring 20 athletes between the ages of 15 and 19, including one Paralympian, to the Sport Arena Nottwil.


“This is an exceptional opportunity for our younger athletes to get international experience in a competitive environment that also encourages development,” Cathy Sellers, U.S. Paralympics Track & Field High Performance Director said. “With one athlete having already competed in the Rio Games, we’d love to see more take advantage of this event and use what they learn to propel themselves onto future senior teams.”


Jessica Heims (Swisher, Iowa) leads the way for Team USA as the sole U.S. Paralympian. Heims, 19, traveled to Rio de Janeiro where she made finals in both of her events, placing seventh in the women’s T44 400-meter and eighth in the discus. Several other U.S. athletes have international experience, including Spencer Kimbro (Moses Lake, Washington), Isaiah Rigo (Cheney, Washington) and Tim Tanner (Nashville, Tennessee) who competed at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar.


Washington boasts the most athletes with five on the U.S. team, followed closely by Colorado with four. Washington, California and Louisiana are states that have Paralympic programs embedded into their high school systems, which is evident in the athlete representation on Team USA’s roster.


The announcement follows yesterday’s naming of the senior U.S. world championship team competing in London from July 14-23.


The new event was designed by World Para Athletics to provide the first step in the development of top young international athletes towards regional and world championships, as well as the Paralympic Games. The championships will cater to two age groups – youth athletes aged between 14 and 17 years and junior athletes aged between 18 and 19 years.


2017 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field Junior World Championship Team

*Denotes U.S. Paralympian

Name Hometown Classification
Phillip Croft Spokane Valley, Wash. T53
Michelle Cross Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. T37
Hannah Dederick Spokane Valley, Wash. T54
Abby Farrell Colorado Springs, Colo. T54
Elizabeth Floch Spokane Valley, Wash. T54
Norris Foster Cranford, N.J. T34
Beatriz Hatz Lakewood, Colo. T44
Garrison Hayes Aurora, Colo. T42
*Jessica Heims Swisher, Iowa F44
Miguel Jimenez-Vergara  Ewing, N.J. T54
Spencer Kimbro Moses Lake, Wash. T53
Alex Klein Metairie, La. T44
Derek Mondt Briggsdale, Colo. T38
Sophie Munter Spokane Valley, Wash. T34
Isaiah Rigo Cheney, Wash. T52
Nelya Schasfoort Avon Lake, Ohio T45
Noah Scherf Michigan City, Ind. T13
Erica Silvey Tallahassee, Fla. T44
Timothy Tanner Nashville, Tenn. T13
Branden Walton Windsor, Calif. T13