Peyton Howard, a 7th grader at College View Middle School, is the newest member of the Vikings track team – and the newest member of Team Karlie.
Team Karlie was designed to allow students with physical disabilities to experience the excitement of athletic competition by providing special racing wheelchairs that are pushed by other racers. The project was named after Karlie Hempel, whose first run was a 5K in which she and Miller “teamed up” with a special running stroller that was purchased with donations from students and staff. from BMS. Team Karlie was featured on the Katie Couric Show in 2014.
Team Karlie was started in 2009 by Jeff Miller, who was then a health room technician at Burns Middle School, with Amanda Owen, who was a special services teacher at BMS and is now the executive director of Puzzle Pieces.
Howard will race three events in his first race on April 28 at the CVMS track. Competition begins at 4:30 p.m. and he will compete in the 100 meters, 400 meters and 4 × 800 meters relay. Additionally, Howard has accepted an invitation to compete with the CVMS cross country team this fall.
“We are blessed to have Peyton as a member of our team,” CVMS track coach Geoff Snyder said. “Peyton is such a warm person who lights up a room when he walks in.”
Peyton’s racing stroller will be pushed by Grade 6 student Brayden Duke, who competes in the shot put and discus events. In explaining why Duke was chosen for the honor, Snyder said, “Braden exemplifies the highest ideals of a Viking and sets a positive example for everyone around him.”
Acting CVMS Principal Jeff Wethington said sports and being part of a team are valuable experiences for any middle school student.
“Many members of the Viking family are eager to see Peyton on the CVMS track team,” Wethington said. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Jeff Miller for reaching out to Coach Snyder and being an advocate for the students. Coach Snyder responded exactly as I thought he would – with open arms, welcoming insisted Peyton on the team.I am proud of the long-term example that Peyton will set for current and future students at College View Middle School.