Going Full Throttle
Rachel Kroener works to make Paralympic team
Rachel Kroener understands what it takes to dominate. The natural athlete simply goes full throttle and doesn’t allow anything to hold her back.
The UTA Society of Kinesiology Scholars volunteered at the Oakwood Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in December, playing Bingo and other games with patients.
“I’ve always been very determined,” she says. “I’ve never let my disability stop me from doing anything.”
Kroener, a freshman exercise science major, was born with cerebral palsy but got into sports at a young age. She didn’t hit her competitive stride until she found wheelchair basketball and Paralympic track and field. She recently represented the United States in the shot put and javelin at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships, held in Doha, Qatar.
According to the 2015 rankings, Kroener is 14th in the world for women’s javelin F34, the only United States representative in the top 20. Thanks to her stellar showing, she’s got a chance at landing a spot on the USA track and field team for the Paralympics.
“I just have to keep working hard and hit my standards,” she says. “It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling of pride to represent my country this way.”
At UTA, Kroener is an active member of the wheelchair basketball team. After graduation, she plans to work in orthotics/prosthetics or athletic training and continue competing in her athletic areas of interest. In the interim, she’s glad she chose UTA to support her dreams.
“I got really lucky with UTA because they offer competitive wheelchair basketball, support me as a track and field athlete, and have great academics,” Kroener says. “UTA was the best choice for me. I wouldn’t want to be at any other university.
“My professors have been so understanding and supportive,” she continues. “That support helped me maintain a good balance so that I could still compete and continue to do well in my classes.”