Beatriz Hatz was sitting in a car with her mother a year ago, feeling anxious as she waited for a phone call from the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field team. Hatz was going on a rant, telling her …
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Beatriz Hatz was sitting in a car with her mother a year ago, feeling anxious as she waited for a phone call from the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field team.
Hatz was going on a rant, telling her mother that she didn’t know if she made the team. In the middle of her rant, her mother told her to be quiet. She was finally getting the phone call that she was waiting for.
“It was perfect timing. I was so happy, and all I had wanted to do was just jump around,” Hatz said about receiving the phone call that she made the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field team.
Hatz, an 18-year-old senior at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School in Jefferson County, was born with fibular hemimelia — a birth defect where part, or all of the fibula leg bone is missing. As a result, she had her right foot and much of her lower leg amputated when she was 10 months old.
Despite that, Hatz has put together an impressive resume, including winning three gold medals at the 2017 World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Switzerland and medaling in three events at the 2018 Desert Challenge Games.
Last month, the U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, released its 2018 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field High School All-Americans. Not only did she make the list, but she was also named female track athlete of the year.
“The talent I’ve seen from our high school athletes since I’ve joined the program is very promising,” Cathrine Erickson said in a statement. Erickson is the high performance director for U.S. Paralympics Track & Field. “It’s encouraging to see the range of performances achieved at the high school, club and national levels.”
Hatz has been an athlete her whole life. She’s done softball, basketball and skiing, but her track & field career didn’t begin until her freshman year. Her friend told her that she always beats her at everything and challenged her to try out for track.
“It started off as a joke, and then I made varsity toward the end of the year, and I was like, `oh I’m actually decent at this,’” Hatz said.
Nowadays, Hatz travels all the way down to Colorado Springs a couple times a week for 5:30 a.m. training sessions with paralympic coaches.
D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School track coach Lisa Porter, said she has a blast coaching Hatz, partially because of her sense of humor.
“She works really hard, and she has a lot of potential. She’s out there well after the other athletes are gone just trying to get better,” Porter said.
Hatz, who competes in the 200-meter, 800 sprint medley and long jump events, has her eyes set on the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, but in the meantime, she recently received an acceptance letter from the NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego.
“A lot of the time people will pity me,” said Hatz, who uses a running blade on her leg when she is competing in track & field. “I want to make a point that it’s not something to feel bad about. It’s a gift from God, and it took a lot of time for me to see it that way.”
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