SPOKANE, Wash. - Twelve gold medals and nine national records. That's what four Eastern Washington athletes brought home from the National Junior Disability Championships.
Athletes from the Spokane area haven't been to the competition in several years but this year was a triumphant return to the podium for them.
It's had been about four years since the Inland Northwest sent an athlete to the National Junior Disability Championships.
"We took some four pretty awesome amazing boys this year," said Teresa Skinner, Executive Director of ParaSport Spokane.
Phillip Croft, Zane Magin, Chance Wells and Michael Hoyt, combined to bring back 12 gold medals and 9 national records.
"Some of those records had been on there for 10 years," said Skinner.
185 athletes competed in Ames, Iowa, in everything from the 100 meter dash to the long jump.
Magin, who has cerebral palsy took home 4 gold medals.
When asked if he expected to do well Magin replied, "Um no."
The athletes even surprised themselves by racking up 16 personal records but sweeping up medals wasn't the only fun to be had.
"Probably just hanging out with my friends, you know, roommates and stuff and just having a good time with them," said Hoyt.
That's obvious with the smiles on these athletes faces.
"So basically I use my arms to hold myself up," said Croft.
Croft earned 5 gold medals. But his attitude is probably his winningest attribute.
"Try to fix that but every time it hurts when you fall over," said Croft.
The success of the Spokane ParaSport team brings several things to light; The drive and commitment of these local athletes and the national need for more disabled athletes to compete.
"We need more, we definitely need more. They are out there, they're hiding they don't think they can do this and they can," said Skinner.
For these athletes there are lessons to be learned on and off the track.
"To have an opportunity to develop that competitive drive is what makes us all competitive toward life, towards school, toward getting a job, towards competing for a girl, I mean whatever it is," said Skinner.
"You know, whatever the competition throws at me, I'm ready for it," said Hoyt.
Good advice from the gold medalists.
"I would say just be yourself," said Croft.
ParaSport Spokane will host a team car wash fundraiser this Saturday at the intersection of E Mission Ave. and Greene St. from noon to 4 p.m.
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