For Boardman’s Beckwith, the more the merrier
By Brian Dzenis
Any competition is more fun when there’s more people in it.
Boardman’s Micah Beckwith got to see what a full complement of seated athletes looks like this weekend and liked what he saw.
“Throughout the season, I’ve race against one or two people, but here there’s eight and they’re all on the track,” Beckwith said. “It’s a real adrenaline rush. You just stay more focused the entire time.”
Beckwith, who uses a wheelchair because of complications from spinal surgery several years ago, was the Spartans’ first seated competitor in the track and field state tournament at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. He reached the podium three times in four events. He took seventh in the 100 and shot put, eighth in the 800 and ninth in the 400.
“There’s a lot of good influences out here. Everyone just tries really hard,” Beckwith said. “It was just a lot of determination from everyone.”
The plan going forward is to get better at his sport over the next three years.
He’s linked up with Jenna Fesemyer, a former four-time state champion from Southeast High School in Palmyra who now competes at the University of Illinois.
Fesemyer, 21, was born with a rare congenital disease known as proximal femoral focal deficiency. She competed in multiple sports in high school with a prosthetic left leg.
“[Fesemyer] reached out to him and they met up on Wednesday in Austintown. She gave Micah some extra motivation and some tips for the state meet,” Boardman coach John Phillips said. “She even fixed up his chair a little bit and that’s great. Jenna and her mom [Cindy] have been fantastic to us.
“He’s going to go to camp in Illinois with Jenna to get some more experience, meet more folks and just continue to get better.”
Beckwith is already looking toward the next trip to Columbus — and a bigger pool of opponents.
“Hopefully, we can get more people out state, Beckwith said. “Instead of 29 in the state, we’ll get into triple digits eventually.”