Crescent Athlete Sets Record at Adaptive Sports Competition
Darla Clayton and her son Trent began the Strong As Steel adaptive track and field team earlier this year.
A Moon Area School District student set a record in his age group at this year's National Junior Disability Track and Field Championships.
9-year-old Trent Clayton's 2.08-meter long jump marked an all-time record at this year's national competition in his age bracket. The previous record was set more than a decade ago at 1.71 meters.
The national championships were held July 21 to July 28 in Arizona.
Earlier this year, Trent and his mother Darla, both of Crescent, spearheaded a local adaptive sports team for young athletes called Strong As Steel. The group, which aims to encourage athletes with disabilities, practices at Moon Area High School and Robert Morris University.
"The whole experience is very inspiring," said Darla of attending the national championships. "There's a lot of support. Everyone is cheering for everyone else."
Trent, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Von Willebrand's disease and Cerebral Cavernous Malformations, racked up five gold medals and three silver at the competition.
More than 300 athletes ages 7 to 23 from across the country competed in the annual championships. Trent qualified for the games after taking part in an Ohio regional competition earlier this year.
This year's competition marked Trent's second appearance at the national championships—in 2011 he competed for the first time and earned three medals.
Darla said she hopes athletes from the Western Pennsylvania region will take an interest in Strong As Steel—she said team members are welcome to attend competitions even if they are not competing as athletes.
Trent competed alongside another Strong As Steel athlete from Michigan, Darla said. The Clayton family began Strong As Steel after searching the Pittsburgh area for an adaptive track and field team where Trent could train alongside other disabled athletes.
"We haven’t' gotten as much interest as we would like," Darla said. "I would say we're more of a regional team and we would be happy to taken anyone from Western Pennsylvania."
Those interested in participating in Strong As Steel can visit the organization's website.