/ Modified jun 5, 2024 4:40 p.m.

UA wheelchair racers to compete in 1st NCAA Track and Field Championships for all athletes

Audiences will see all athletes on the same track, just in different competition blocks.

Wheelchair Racing - KJZZ University of Arizona's Wheelchair Track/Road Racing team competed at the Desert Challenge Games at ASU.
Jill Ryan, KJZZ

This week, members of the University of Arizona's wheelchair racing team will be competing at the NCAA Track and Field Championships in Oregon.

Last year was the first time the NCAA hosted 100-meter wheelchair races. But it was done separately from the rest of the annual Track and Field championships. This year is different.

Now, audiences will see all athletes on the same track, just in different competition blocks.

Aidan Gravelle won third place in the 100 meters at last year’s NCAA championships when the events were separated.

“Most of the time we’re kind of separated in terms of audience and where we’re going for events. So I think it will be really interesting for a wider audience to see what we’re capable of because everyone going there, we’re all capable athletes," Gravelle said.

Hey also says the team trains almost every day, with some members doing 50 to 120 miles of road work a week.

Another racer on the team, Myranda Mishler, says the inclusion reminds her of her high school days.

“It was only me doing adaptive [sports] and so I was racing with runners. Of course, we would qualify different but it was cool motivation to get to run against runners and just feel incorporated and a part of the team," Mishler said.

For now, the NCAA offers just one event for wheelchair users: the 100 meters.

This story was produced by KJZZ, the public radio station in Phoenix, Arizona.
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