COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, has announced the 2014 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans, including a student from Hillside High School.
Now in its fifth year, the list honors the top high school track and field athletes who have a Paralympic-eligible impairment, based on their performances in the 2014 season.
Desmond Jackson of Hillside earned the designation in four different events, including the 100, 200, the long jump and the discus.
Jackson won three gold medals last month during the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation World Games in Stoke Mandeville, United Kingdom, near London. Jackson is an above-the-knee amputee.
"The class of 2014 is one of the best ever," said Cathy Sellers, High Performance Director for Paralympic track and field. "It is a solid class from top to bottom. These athletes are performing at a high level and I expect quite a few to be able to bridge the gap of age and experience and make Team USA for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."
Sellers attributes much of the growth seen from the high school students to the efforts of state high school associations promoting Paralympic opportunities within the high school sports programs.
“We’ve already seen some of the athletes come straight out of their high school championships and go on to win national events,” Sellers said. “Watching A.J. Digby, Grace Norman and Megan Absten win national titles before they have graduated high school proves that our future is looking very bright.”
To be selected, criteria included looking at multiple performances by each athlete against the third best performance on the current world list, regardless of age. The ranking list is not a conventional list as the results are factored according to the level and type of disability. The general disability categories of athletes named to the All-American list are visual impairment, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, amputation/limb loss and spinal cord injury.