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Andale’s Kasey Nickel qualifies for US Paralympic Team Trials

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Kasey Nickel, a sophomore at the University of Texas at Arlington where she competes in adaptive track, is now just one step away from qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Paralympic games, defying the odds and inspiring others with her message along the way.

Her journey started on the track in Andale. A small town, but one with big tradition and a long history of champions, especially on the track.

“I definitely didn’t feel confident when I first got started,” Nickel said. “I wasn’t confident in track, and I wasn’t confident in myself whatsoever.”

Despite lacking confidence, Nickel always had the courage to compete in high school track despite her physical disability. She was born with a stroke that caused cerebral palsy, making it difficult to use the right side of her body.

When others doubted her ability, she used it as motivation.

“Someone coming up to me and telling me ‘hey, I don’t think you should be doing this with your arm,’ I would always be like ‘ok sure’ and then just give it my best shot,” she smiled.

Giving it her best shot is exactly what she did, working her way up the Paralympic ranks and graduating as a US Paralympic High School All American. After several international competitions and a year at the collegiate level, she qualified for the US Paralympic Team Trials with top ten marks in the world in shot put and discus in her age group.

“It’s insane to think I literally am packing my bags and I am going to Minneapolis and will be competing amongst other Paralympians or future Paralympians that want to be in the same direction I am headed in.”

Nickel will leave for the trials next week, with the goal of qualifying for the 2021 Paralympic games in Tokyo, a milestone she never thought she’d reach when she started. > > “Even if it doesn’t feel like you can, it’s always that little self-doubt, it’s just a little voice in your head that’s all it is,” Nickel said. “If there’s a voice in the back of your head saying you can do it, that is where your motivation should be coming from. Not the big voice, not the people around you saying you can’t or shouldn’t, it’s the little voice that says you can and it’s going to get bigger.”

The US Paralympic trials start June 17 in Minneapolis.

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