U.S. Athletes Ready To Turn Up The Heat At Desert Challenge Games

By Brianna Tammaro | June 14, 2018, 4:49 p.m. (ET)

Jeremy Campbell competing at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London, England.

TEMPE, Ariz.– The biggest event of the season for Team USA begins Friday as U.S. athletes take to the track at the 2018 Desert Challenge Games in Tempe, Arizona. The meet, which is the only World Para Athletics Grand Prix taking place in the United States, will feature over 424 athletes and guides from 16 countries, including 46 national team members competing for Team USA.

In a year with no major championships until the 2019 Parapan Am Games, Team USA will turn its focus to honing technique and cultivating the youngest generation of athletes, including rising talents Jaleen Roberts (Spokane, Washington), Beatriz Hatz (Denver, Colorado) and Alexa Halko (Williamsburg, Virginia). Nineteen-year-old Roberts and 17-year-old Halko both won three medals at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London. At the junior championships, Hatz, 17, also impressed in her Team USA international debut where she won four medals, including three gold.

Headlining the U.S. team less than a year after winning world titles in London are Jarryd Wallace (Athens, Georgia), Isaac Jean-Paul (Grayslake, Illinois), Deja Young (Mesquite, Texas), David Brown (St. Louis, Missouri) and guide Jerome Avery (Lemoore, California), Sam Grewe (Middlebury, Indiana) and Lex Gillette (Raleigh, North Carolina) and guide Wesley Williams (Visalia, California).

One of the most anticipated events on the track will be the men’s 100 43/44/62/64 which will see the return of London 2012 silver medalist Richard Browne (Jackson, Mississippi) against world championship bronze medalist Wallace, and Paralympians AJ Digby (Bowling Green, Ohio) and Trenten Merrill (San Juan Capistrano, California). In the field events, all eyes will be on defending world champion Jeremy Campbell (Perryton, Texas) who is in top form after opening the season with a world record throw in the F64 discus at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational. He’ll face off against his U.S. teammate and reigning Paralympic champion David Blair (Eagle Mountain, Utah) in what will be sure to be one of the most talked about matchups of the weekend.

Follow all the action and behind-the-scenes content with U.S. Paralympics Track and Field on Facebook and Instagram. For more information and results from the 2018 Desert Challenge Games, visit the event website and live timing website.