On Friday, April 29th, 7 high school adaptive track and field participants competed in the prestigious Drake Relays! This group of the fastest wheelchair racers in the state completed a 400m wheelchair race and then got to stay and watch the college and Paralympic division immediately following their race. Here’s what a few of them have to say about the experience:
Aly Darter; Sophomore, Dubuque-Hempstead: Aly has been involved in track and field since 5th grade, and this is her second year at Drake Relays. Her favorite part of the event is racing against other adaptive athletes. She is also involved in basketball and swimming and says, “[Track and field] keeps me in shape in my off-seasons and get faster in my other sports.” Aly competes in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m races and has a goal of being the girls’ state champion later in May.
Eli Horstman; Junior, Unity Christian: This was Eli’s first year at Drake Relays! His favorite part of Drake Relays was the atmosphere and how fast he felt he could go on the track. He has been involved in track and field for 2 years. Last year, he competed in the 100m, 200m, and 400m, and this year, he added on the 800m. When asked what motivates him to compete in track and field, Eli says, “I’ve always liked sports, so just doing sports in general and the team around me.” He has goals to continuously improve his times as he keeps competing this year and the next.
Xander Rentschler; Sophomore, West Lyon: Xander has been involved in track and field for 3 years, and this is his second year at Drake Relays. His favorite part of this special event is the crowd and the atmosphere that makes it different than any other track meet he’s been to. Xander competes in the 100m, 200m, 400m, and 800m races. His motivation to compete in track and field is “just the fact that I can be a part of a team with normal, able-bodied athletes.” Xander hopes to keep getting better and have the chance to come back to Drake Relays next year.
Titus Steng; Freshman, Shenandoah: This is Titus’s first season competing in track and field and his first year at Drake Relays! Much like the other wheelchair racers, he hasn’t had much competition at his school meets, so he says Drake Relays “feels pretty much like the big leagues!” Titus was also pretty excited after the race because “today, thanks to that new chair, I got a 2 second PR!” He is already planning on making it back to the Drake Relays next year and will be working hard to keep improving on his technique, setting the compensator, and beating his own times.
Special thank you to our Track and Field Supporting Sponsors, Chevron Renewable Energy Group and United Healthcare, for helping make this program possible!