A Maine high school athlete in a wheelchair is fighting back against a decision by the Maine Principals Association (MPA) that would keep him from competing in the state’s championship race.
As reported by Maine ABC affiliate WMTW, among other outlets, Leavitt High School (Turner, Maine) sophomore Jonathan Schomaker is a full members of the Leavitt cross country team. He trains with his teammates after school every day and reportedly has covered a mile in seven minutes, not far off the better times from his able-bodied teammates.
Yet when Schomaker inquired about competing at the state championship meet, the MPA denied his appeal, citing safety concerns for Schomaker because of the difficulty of the course and for other runners for fear that Schomaker could accidentally make contact with them.
That decision isn’t necessarily final, with the last word coming at some point before the end of the month, Still, for now Schomaker will be relegated to the sidelines. He would rather be in the race than cheering on the sidelines, but the sophomore said he’ll be excited to be at the event either way.
“No matter how scared, or if you are in a wheelchair or if you have autism, or no matter what you are, follow your dreams,” Schomaker told WMTW. “Don’t let other people pull you down.”