Six athletes on Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay finished second in the country in its division during last week’s National Junior Disability Championships. Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay is a signature program of the Hillsborough County Parks & Recreation Department, and offers year-round sports and recreation programs to promote healthy lifestyles, independence and personal growth for people with physical disabilities.
The athletes competed in the Medium Team Division in swimming and track and field. The national championships were held July 22-27 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and featured 235 competitors from 31 states. Danielle Kanas, Logan Krepop, Zach Woodke, Liz Tidey, Jeremy Gerstner, and Momo Sutton brought home an astounding 52 individual medals, setting 27 national records in the process. In addition to the individual medals, team members also won several medals in relay events.
The athletes were led by head coach Andy Chasanoff, Sports Coordinator for the Paralympic Sport Tampa Bay program. “I am very excited for their accomplishments,” said Chasanoff. “They have put in a lot of hard work and effort, and their training and their performance reflected that. It was a great validation of their athletic abilities, to let that shine through as they continue to grow and develop athletically and personally.”
Chasanoff said that they will soon start their six-week fall training season in track and field. All six athletes are expected to compete again, as well as several new members. They want to build off of their success and work on techniques to be better prepared for spring meets that go from March through June. They also want to make it to Nationals again next July in Minneapolis.
“As a program, we are very excited,” said Chasanoff. “It’s not only the six kids that go but it’s a total program effort. The kids have all pushed each other to go. We are one family that works hard for this, so when one group succeeds, we all succeed.”
The Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals is for athletes ages 6 to 22 with physical disabilities, and is the oldest and largest continuously held competitive sports event in the country.