WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Grant Pierce is USD 259’s first para-athlete, but until this year, his accomplishments weren’t recognized by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.
“Of course it was frustrating,” said Pierce, a member of Heights’ track team. “I deserve to be out here as much as anybody else. I work just as hard – if not harder – than everybody else out here.”
Pierce was born with a rare vascular birth defect. Through 24 lifetime surgeries, his competitive spirit has never faltered.
“I can compete just as hard as anybody else,” said Pierce. “I am just as much as an athlete as anybody else out here.”
Last year, KSHSAA made the decision to include 100 and 400 meter events for its wheelchair-bound student-athletes in the state track and field meet.
Because 2020 spring sports seasons were canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first year that para-athletes will have the ability to compete for a state championship.
Pierce hopes that he may inspire others teens with disabilities through his advocacy and accomplishments.
“Don’t let a disability change who you are,” said Pierce. “Disability or not, you’re the same as everybody else and you deserve it as much as everybody else.”