ORR student gets ready to compete in Ireland

Feb 9, 2018

When she was a freshman at Old Rocheser Regional High School, track and field was never on Mikayla Chandler’s radar.

“I played field hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring,” Chandler said. “I wasn’t even planning on doing anything in the winter.”

However, senior track and field star Josh Winsper approached Chandler and suggested giving the sport a shot.

Now, as a junior, Chandler was chosen to represent the United States at the 2018 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Youth World Games in Ireland this summer.

Chandler and Winsper both have a bone-growth disorder called achondroplasia, which causes disproportionate short stature as children. Winsper will also be competing in the games.

After receiving an email from Adaptive Sports USA that stated athletes under 23 were being sought to represent the U.S. at the games, Chandler filled out an application that included her personal records.

“I wasn’t expecting to get it,” she said. “I was really surprised.”

In the winter track and field season Chandler competes in the 55-meter dash, shot put and discus. In the spring, she competes in the 100-meter race, shot put and discus. Fittingly, she’ll be representing the United States in shot put and discus in Ireland.

Though relatively new to track and field, Chandler said she fell in love right away – deciding not to play lacrosse in the spring so she could focus on track.

“I like that you’re on a team but you’re competing against yourself,” she said. “In track you’re making sure at every meet you’re performing the best you can be. I really like that aspect of it.”

Chandler heads to Ireland, the games are being held in the Midlands region in Athlone, on June 30.

“I’m really excited,” she said. “My family has never been to Ireland before.”

She hopes this competition will lead the way to competing in the Paralympics in 2020.

“Only 29 people were chosen from the United States,” she said. “So I think I’ll have some pretty good competition when I’m there.”