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WHS sophomore first wheelchair athlete to compete

Lindsey Good, at left, a Weddington High School sophomore, and her best friend, Jill Moore, 17, a junior at Northwest Cabarrus High School, competed recently in the first ever race between two wheelchair athletes in North Carolina High School Track and Field history. (Photo courtesy of Rick Crider of the Enquirer Journal)

Lindsey Good, 16, a sophomore at Weddington High School made history recently, not only in Union County, but also in the state of North Carolina when she competed in a track meet with a Cabarrus County high school wheelchair athlete.

Lindsey, one of 25 girls on the Weddington Warriors Track and Field team, competed in the 1,600 event against Jill Moore, 17, a junior at Northwest Cabarrus High School. Ironically, Jill and Lindsey are best friends.

“It was a little hard because everyone was telling me not to talk to her,” Lindsey said. “They said, ‘Don’t fraternize with the enemy.’ But I was like, ‘She’s my best friend.’ I was cheering her on in the 3,200 event.”

As Lindsey sat at the starting line of the race with Jill, she said she was very excited about the race, but also nervous about the pouring rain. “You don’t get good traction and your wheels slip when you push and are trying to gain momentum. So it wasn’t a good racing night.”

The pouring ran did hamper Lindsey’s time, and ultimately the race went to Jill, but that didn’t diminish the fun. “I knew I wouldn’t do well in the rain, but that’s okay,” Lindsey said. “Nobody did as well as they expected in the rain.”

Lindsey also raced in other events that night with her fellow Weddington teammates. “My team is so supportive. I come off the track and get high fives and they’ll say, ‘You’re awesome.’ They push my racing chair from the school to the track and then back from the track to the school every day when I practice.”

The wheelchair Lindsey races in is different from her normal chair. It has three wheels and a longer body that has a more aerodynamic shape. “You’re in a kneeling position. There’s a kneepad and your feet are like in a little sack thing. You have racing gloves and you’re leaning down as you push on the wheels.”

Born with spina bifida, Lindsey is paralyzed from the knees down. She had been involved in adaptive sports since she was 7-years old. But when she saw Jill, also a wheelchair athlete, compete with her fellow able-bodied students in Cabarrus County, she realized the possibilities to grow her own competitive spirit.

“I thought, ‘how is that possible? How can she race with able-bodied people?’ So I went to one of her meets and I thought it was really cool and a very interesting idea,” Lindsey said.

So Lindsey approached the Weddington High School head girl’s track coach, Rick Spencer, and asked if she could run track with her fellow Weddington High School students. “He was my World History teacher,” she said. “When I asked him if I could run with the team, he said, ‘Sure.’ So I came out and started running and I enjoy it. The team is very supportive.”

Spencer said although he was uncertain what the rules were surrounding her competing with the team, he thought the idea was a good one. “I knew that in other states it had been done, but I didn’t know what the rules were in North Carolina, but I welcomed her to do it,” Spencer said.

Lindsey did so well “running” with the other track students, Spencer decided to take it step further and arrange for Lindsey to compete with Cabarrus County athlete Jill Moore.

“I’ve known Jill since I was really young,” Lindsey said. “We thought it was cool. We actually get to compete against each other for once.” The girls will now compete against each other on a state level.

Lindsey, the daughter of Mary and Tim Good of Waxhaw, will also compete in the summer months in other 1600 and 3200 events.

Lindsey said she really enjoys competing with her fellow classmates at Weddington. “You get your team’s support,” she said. “Everybody is very excited to see you out there with everybody else. It’s a crazy rush of adrenaline when you’re out there and you’re competing with other people and showing them what you’re made of. It’s a lot of fun.”

“Even though Lindsey is doing something different from everybody else, she’s part of the team,” Spencer said.

Lindsey encourages other students with disabilities to keep trying and never give up. “Don’t let other people’s judgments get you down because it doesn’t matter what other people think. It’s what you know you can do. You know that you can prove yourself.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Mar 17, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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