SPORTS

Upon further review, Jessica Heims is a Team USA Paralympian

Track and field: Prairie senior will compete in Rio in the discus and 400

Cedar Rapids Prairie's Jessica Heims runs during practice in April 2015. Heims will represent Team USA at the Paralympic Games next month in Rio de Janeiro. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie's Jessica Heims runs during practice in April 2015. Heims will represent Team USA at the Paralympic Games next month in Rio de Janeiro. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Olympics are over, but the activity in Rio de Janeiro is not.

Jessica Heims, a senior at Cedar Rapids Prairie, has learned that she has earned a slot at the 2016 Paralympics next month.

“My mom got the call Wednesday, and she and my dad came to school and told me,” said the 17-year-old Heims. “I just started crying in the hallway.”

She will compete in the women’s discus and the 400-meter dash.

Bill Calloway, the girls’ track and field coach at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, has been training Heims this summer. He said Heims earned her bid after several Russian qualifiers were banned for performance-enhancing drugs, as was the case before the Olympics.

Heims placed second at the U.S. Paralympic Trials earlier this summer at Charlotte, N.C., in the discus at 84 feet, 9 1/2 inches. She was third in the 400 in 1:11.17. Both were career-bests.

“I took a break after Trials, because it didn’t look like I was going to make it,” said Heims, who plans to walk onto and train with the UNI women’s track and field team next year. “I got back into it about two weeks ago to start getting ready for winter season. But now, it’s crunch time.”

Heims will leave for Houston on Sept. 4 for team processing. She is scheduled to arrive in Rio on Sept. 6, then compete in the discus on the morning of Sept. 11, then run the 400-meter prelims that night.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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