Winthrop’s Kady Hammer is back from her first venture into the universe of Para-Sport competition beyond the Pacific Northwest and, after winning three gold medals, is excited to take the next step.
Her national championship performances in the 100 meters, 200 meters and long jump at the Hartford National Para-Sport games in Birmingham, Alabama, July 8-14, impressed her new coaches at Spokane Para-Sport, and raised some eyebrows in the competitive community.
Hammer, now 16 and about to become a junior at Liberty Bell High School, has a vision impairment that qualifies her to run in events that celebrate athletes with special challenges and excel as athletes. She had caught the attention of Spokane Par-Sport Executive Director Teresa Skinner with her 100-meter dash at the state 2B track and field championships.
Hammer’s 14.56 personal record at state gave Skinner cause to contact Liberty Bell Coach Erik Brooks almost immediately, which led to Hammer running at the Pine Cone Classic in June at Spokane’s Whitworth University.
Hammer ran the 100 meters and was competitive with a pair of athletes that were of a different classification of disability. But she also tried, and won, the long jump at that Spokane meet, which opened up a new opportunity — an invitation to the national competition in Birmingham.
At the Hartford Nationals, Hammer ran the 100 meters, 200 meters and tried the long jump, and again, the results were noteworthy. She won her classification in all three events, setting personal records in both the 200 meters (30.6 seconds) and long jump (12.17 feet). Her time of 14.6 in the 100 meters was just shy of her personal best, but was good enough for the gold medal.
According to Spokane ParaSport Track and Field Coach David Greig, Hammer’s marks were all national records for her age and classification, and she is the 2023 national champion in those events within her competition class (Identified as T-13). According to Greig, “She performed quite well in her events given the 85-95 degree heat, and humidity that got over 85% at times.”
Greig continued, “Kady has a bright future ahead of her in Para Track and Field. She’s extremely athletic and has a great work ethic and personality to support her goals. All of our athletes and staff absolutely loved having her travel with us and compete with our team. We’re excited to see what she’ll get up to in the future.”
Hammer said the trip was well worth it. She said she was able to make some new friends and looks forward to practicing occasionally with the Spokane contingent.
“There were about 20 of us that went to Alabama,” she said. “We had to get up at about 4:30 a.m. every day and we were in bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.”
Hammer will continue to work out through the summer months, some of those workouts here in the community, some in Spokane with other members of the team. She has been invited to travel to Thailand for the World Ability Games in December.