BOARDMAN — Boardman senior Micah Beckwith once again has qualified for the state track and field tournament in all four seated events.
This time, he'll be competing in a custom-built chair that was purchased with funds raised in 2019 by the community.
This is the third time in Beckwith's varsity career that he qualified in all four events at the OHSAA State Track and Field Championship Meet.
Last year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the OHSAA canceled spring sports. As a result, Beckwith was only to able to practice a few times with his new chair in spring 2020, said his coach John Phillips.
Beckwith is a five-time All-Ohioan and has the opportunity to become a nine-time All-Ohio Athlete. To do so, Phillips says he must finish in the top eight in each event.
The state tournament will be staged Friday and Saturday at Hilliard Darby High School.
Beckwith earned his third trip to Columbus by posting the following marks:
21.56 in the 100 from the Austintown Optimist Meet, which puts him sixth in Ohio.
1:27.4 in the 400 earned at the Optimist Meet, which has Beckwith ninth in Ohio.
2:40.53 in the 800 earned at the All-American Conference Championship, which puts Beckwith seventh in Ohio.
A shot put throw of 11'9.75" in the shot at the Austintown Early Bird Invitational, which puts him fifth in the state.
Denise Gorski, Boardman's athletic director who retired in 2019, was the catalyst for Beckwith getting a custom-built chair.
At the 2019 state track meet, Gorski noticed that Boardman’s first seated athlete was a little disappointed even though he added to his career all-Ohio honors.
Chair issues are why. Makeshift strings were needed to keep his feet on the footplate of his rental chair. Beckwith told Gorksi he felt he did his best, but not as well as he had in 2018.
That prompted Gorski to create a fund-raiser to help Beckwith get a chair engineered to his frame.
That summer, the Boardman community responded generously to a fund-raiser that generated more than enough funds to purchase a custom-fit chair.
Gorski and her husband, Dan, spearheaded the fund-raiser, getting plenty of assistance from the Ahlswede family that operates one of their favorite restaurants, Carmella’s Café.
The goal was to raise $5,000. The benefit raised twice as much.
“It was a great day for Micah and his family, but it also was a very good representation of Boardman and the Youngstown area — everybody represented, everybody pitching in, everybody coming together,” Phillips told OHSAA Magazine.
Micah has been in a wheelchair since he was 11 when a medical procedure to remove a tumor on his spine did not go well.
Micah’s family moved to Boardman before his freshman year. At that time, he had no experience competing as a seated athlete. Boardman rented a chair from Adapted Sports Ohio Program.
At his first home track meet in 2018, Beckwith knew he had found a special home.
“Everyone from the school was yelling my name, it was crazy,” he told OHSAA Magazine. “It was the first time I had been in that big of a crowd and everyone was focused on me.”