Representing the United States in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Paralympics would not only be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but a dream come true for Rochelle Township High School graduate and U.S. Paralympic athlete Aubrey Headon. The former Lady Hub track and field standout will have an opportunity to achieve that dream later this month, when she travels to Minneapolis, Minnesota to compete in the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials from June 17-20.
A T35 and F35 classified athlete with cerebral palsy, Headon recently certified her classification during the 2021 Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona, where she competed in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the shot put. Headon currently holds qualifying times of 17.99 seconds in the 100, 39.78 seconds in the 200 and a mark of 5.68 meters in the shot put.
“I had mixed feelings when I found out I made the trials,” Headon said. “I was excited that I qualified but I was bummed that no spectators will be allowed. I didn’t feel I performed my best due to my lapse in training and the heat, but I was able to repeat my qualifying times.”
With less than three weeks to prepare for the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials, Headon has resumed training with RTHS assistant track and field coach Vic Worthington. For Headon to earn her spot on the U.S. team, she must meet about 90 percent of a standard established by U.S. Paralympics. Headon will attempt to qualify for the U.S. team in all three events.
Headon recently completed her second year with the Carroll University women’s track and field program. While she lost most of her freshman season due to COVID-19 cancellations, she competed in three outdoor meets this year, finishing with season-best times of 18.72 in the 100-meter dash and 41.03 in the 200-meter dash. As Headon prepares for the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in Minneapolis, she said she will train with Worthington every day to be ready.
“My college experience has been interesting,” Headon said. “I started doing indoor track and field during my freshman year, but then COVID-19 happened and my season was canceled. I had three outdoor meets this year, but my main focus was on the 100.”