Paralympic medalist among Arkansas' track signees

By: Matt Jones
Published: Friday, May 19, 2017
Johannes Floores (R) of Germany and Hunter Woodhall (L) of USA react after the Final Men's 4x100m Relay during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Jens Büttner/AP Images)
Johannes Floores (R) of Germany and Hunter Woodhall (L) of USA react after the Final Men's 4x100m Relay during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday, Sept. 12, 2016. (Jens Büttner/AP Images)

— A double-amputee has signed to run track at Arkansas next year.

Hunter Woodhall of Syracuse, Utah, competes with a pair of carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.

A rule interpretation in 2015 allows runners with prosthetic legs to compete in NCAA events. Prosthetics are a controversial topic in international track & field, but the NCAA cited research that amputees are at a disadvantage to non-amputees in running events because amputees cannot generate as much force off the ground.

According to USA Track, Woodhall was born with fibular hemimelia, a birth defect that caused neither of his fibulas to form. According to Shriners Hospital, Woodhall was born without a calf bone in his left leg and with a fused right ankle.

Both legs were amputated when Woodhall was 11 months old. He received prosthetics at 15 months, according to Shriners Hospital.

Woodhall won a silver medal in the 200 meters and a bronze in the 400 meters at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. He also is a five-time state champion in Utah and the state's record holder with a 46.56-second time in the 400.

“We are very excited that Hunter has chosen to join us as a Razorback,” Arkansas coach Chris Bucknam said. “In watching him compete we can see that his passion and enthusiasm will be contagious. He’s a very talented and highly motivated young man, that gravitates toward excellence in everything he does."

Woodhall chose Arkansas over Oregon.

“From the moment I arrived at the University of Arkansas I felt that I was a part of something bigger then myself," Woodhall said. "Everyone is fighting for the same goal: becoming a better student, citizen, athlete and definitely winning championships. I could see that this program had built a team that wanted to see you succeed, and had the tools and skills to get you there."

Arkansas' other signees include jumper Laquan Nairn of South Plains Community College, who ranks No. 1 in the long jump and No. 2 in the triple jump outdoors in junior college, and won national championships in both events indoors.

Sprinter Keitavious Walter of Hinds Community College has also signed with the Razorbacks. Walter leads the JUCO ranks in the 100 and 200 meters outdoors, and won national championships in the 60 and 200 indoors.

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