Sunday, June 9, 2013

State wheelchair races inspire all

The loudest cheers Saturday at the state high school track and field meet were easy to detect.

For the first time in meet history, wheelchair athletes were given the opportunity to compete in the 100, 400, 800 and shot put.

If you didn't get the opportunity to see it in person, words cannot express properly just how beautiful of a moment it was.

In the morning during Division III competition came the first event, with two heats of the 100 meters. Ravenna Southeast's Jenna Fesemyer earned the warmest ovation as the lone female competitor, getting a chance to race the boys.

Every so often at state track and field, you just know a moment is special. Regardless of the nonsense some national pundits attached to it afterward, the scene of Meghan Vogel helping Arden McMath finish the D-III 3,200 last year had that sense in reserve.

And so did this.

My colleague Tony Lange of the Chagrin Valley Times, as the 800 was being contested in the wheelchair division, turned to me on the infield and said, "I'm going to tell my grandchildren about this."

It was that special for those who witnessed it, and just imagine what it was like for the athletes who deservedly graced the stage.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


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