Gunn grad Amy Watt, who competed at the Rio Paralympics, was named Female Field Athlete of the Year by USA Paralympics track and field on Wednesday. She was also recognized for the same honor last year.
Watt is one of 71 athletes selected as U.S. Paralympics Track & Field High School All-Americans by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, marking the largest class to be recognized since the award’s creation in 2010.
A freshman at Pamona College, she was one of the inaugural Paralympic athletes to run in the CIF State Track & Field Championships.
This is the seventh year U.S. Paralympics has honored the top high school track & field athletes with Paralympic-eligible impairments based off performances during the 2016 season that included the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Rio showcased the talents of 11 high school honorees, the largest representation of All-Americans to compete at the Games.
“This is a great legacy for the 2016 All-American class, not only to have 11 of our high school athletes attend the Paralympic Games, but to bring home seven medals and make an impact for Team USA,” Cathy Sellers, high performance director of U.S. Paralympics Track & Field, said. “I’m so proud of this group and it shows how bright the future is for the program and our young athletes.”
Washington topped the list for the first time with eight athletes represented on the All-American list. California came in second with six athletes. A total of 26 states making up the roster.
The selection criteria looked at multiple performances by each athlete compared against the “A” standard for the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Team.
The ranking list is not a conventional list as the results are weighted according to the level and type of disability. The general disability categories of athletes named to the All-American list are visual impairment (11-13), intellectual disability (20), cerebral palsy (33-38), dwarfism (40), amputation/limb loss (41-46) and spinal cord injury (51-57).
Female Track Athlete of the Year Alexa Halko, at just 16 years old, was the youngest member of the U.S. Paralympic Track & Field Team and raced well beyond her years, medaling in every event she entered at her first Paralympic Games.
Halko competed against competitors more than twice her age, winning two silver medals in the women’s 400 T33/34 and 800 T34 and bronze in the 100 T33/34. With her time of 1:00.79 in the 400, her medal-winning performance also earned her an American record. This is Halko’s second straight nomination to the All-American list.
Male Track Athlete of the Year Hunter Woodhall
emerged as one of the standout young stars of Team USA after his two-medal performance at the Rio Games.
Setting two American records in the process, the Syracuse High School senior took silver and bronze in the 400 T43/44 and 200 T43/44, respectively, in his Paralympic Games debut at the age of 17. Earlier this year, he won the boys 5A title in the 400 at the 2016 Utah UHSAA State Track & Field Championships against able-bodied runners.
Male Field Athlete of the Year Sam Grewe, 18, soared to new heights at his first Paralympic Games in Rio, securing a silver medal in the men’s high jump F42 with an American record and personal-best clearance of 1.86.
The senior at Northridge High School represented on the All-American list for the third time in his career.