Jenna Fesemyer is in Lima, Peru, ready for her first race as a part of the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field team competing at the 2019 Parapan American Games.
The Southeast High graduate is one of 60 Paralympians who will line up at the Athletica Stadium in the Villa Deportiva Nacional Videna cluster in Lima.
Her first race, the 400 meters, is Wednesday.
Team USA includes 257 athletes competing in 16 sports who will compete over 11 days.
“This is my first time competing for Team USA and I will be running the 100, 400, 800, 5000 and the relay,” said Fesemyer, who began wheelchair racing in 2013 for Southeast as a part of the first seated final events at the OHSAA’s state championships.
That year, Fesemyer won all four seated events for girls — the 100, 400, 800 and shot put. Six years later, Fesemyer still owns the records for the 100 and shot put.
Fesemyer took her athletic and academic talents to the University of Illinois, where she will graduate with a double major in kinesiology and communications in December.
Fesemyer was born without a left leg and hip socket. She had a rare congenital disease called proximal femoral focal deficiency.
Having her leg amputated above the knee did not stop her from competing in high school sports, including golf, track and field, basketball and others with a prosthetic.
Her life changed when the OHSAA agreed to include seated athletes in the state track championships.
She competed for the Pirates with her mom, Cindy Fesemyer, as the coach.
Cindy has been her biggest cheerleader as well as the coach that made the original impact on the sport in Ohio as well as on her daughter.
Jenna’s support does not only come from her mom but her family, including father Dave and triplet siblings, Jonathan and Jessica.