By Gary Lloyd
A Clay-Chalkville High School junior is a Paralympics All-American.
Rashad Bennett is one of 55 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans, named earlier this month by the United States Olympic Committee.
The list of All-Americans honors the top high school track and field athletes who have a physical disability or visual impairment, based on their performances in the 2013 season. Clay-Chalkville High School Principal Michael Lee said Bennett is paralyzed from the waist down.
“The faculty and staff at Clay-Chalkville High School is very proud of Rashad,” Lee said. “He is an outstanding young man with unlimited potential. To be selected as an All-American at any level of competition is an amazing accomplishment and we celebrate this award along with him and his family.”
According to a United States Olympic Committee news release, Bennett was seventh among the All-Americans in the discus category, throwing it 21.59 meters. Bennett finished eighth among the All-Americans in the javelin, throwing it 14.36 meters.
To be selected, criteria included looking at multiple performances by each athlete compared against the “A” standard for the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field National Team. 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 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans are visual impairment (11-13), cerebral palsy (33-38), dwarfism (40), amputation/limb loss (41-46), intellectual disability (20) and spinal cord injury (51-58).
“Each year, we are seeing more and more talent rising out of the high school ranks,” said Cathy Sellers, USOC high performance director for Paralympic track and field. “Our 2013 U.S. Paralympics Track and Field High School All-Americans are an exceptional group of athletes. They are showing the growth and development of Paralympic track and field in the United States. The progression of these athletes to the elite ranks is encouraging.”
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