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Beatriz Hatz. Photo by Chayce Lanphear.

One of the Best Young Para-Athletes in the World Is from Colorado

Watch Beatriz Hatz vie for a spot on the U.S. Paralympics Track and Field team at the Desert Challenge Games in Arizona this month.

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Beatriz Hatz’s track career began with an imprudent challenge. The then D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School freshman—who was born without a fibula bone in her right leg, requiring a below-the-knee amputation when she was about six months old—had beaten her friend at nearly every other sport. Still, the girl doubted Hatz’s prosthetic leg would fare well during a race. She was wrong. After Hatz easily won that dash, she was inspired to join the school’s track and field team. Four years later, the 18-year-old D’Evelyn senior is one of the best young para-athletes in the world. “When I’m running, I can forget about everything,” Hatz says. “My mind goes blank, and I’m not stressed about homework or school or what people think.” Those who matter think highly of Hatz: She was named 2018 U.S. Paralympics Track & Field High School Female Athlete of the Year after winning gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter and silver in the long jump (her favorite event) at the 2017 World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Switzerland. This month, she’ll attempt to qualify for the U.S. National Paralympics Team at the Desert Challenge Games in Arizona (May 22 to 26). To earn a spot on the squad, she’ll need to beat prescribed qualifying marks in her three events. Considering the teenager’s history—not to mention her previous stats—it’d be foolish to doubt her.

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