Utley makes memories with Paralympics involvement

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Not very many coaches walk around with the pride of saying they have participating athletes in the Paralympics. Yet there’s one coach in specific that just so happens to roam these halls, that has mentored multiple successful athletes in the Paralympics. That prideful coach is Coach Shannon Utley.

“I have been very blessed to work with many amazing high school athletes throughout my career,” Utley said.

Utley has been coaching a wide variety of athletes for 20 years, and is the head cross country coach for both men and women. A young man on the track team who attended Summit and graduated in 2013, Tobi Fawehinimi, earned a very honorable impression of an extremely talented jumper. He also has an arm disability called Brachial Plexus, but does not stop him from having high achieving goals. During his junior year, he was recruited to the US National team. He competed in his very first International competition three months later at the Paralympic Games in 2012 in London.

“Tobi Fawehinmi was my first Paralympic athlete through Summit that I personally have coached,” Utley said. “I have been very blessed with many amazing high school athletes throughout my career. I have had the opportunity to work many of our US Paralympic jumpers and sprinters including Scout Bassett, Sam Grewe, Tanner Wright, and Isaac Jean-Paul.”

Utley has been fortunate to have the opportunity to be selected for many spots in the Track and/or Paralympic community like an Assistant Team Leader. As ATL, som of her responsibilities include training and competition scheduling.

“Being selected has allowed me the opportunity to travel the world and experience International competition at one of the highest levels,” Utley said. “I have met and worked with some truly amazing coaches, many who are former Olympians and college coaches which has broadened my network of contacts for training advice and for recruitment efforts for our own Summit athletes.”

Utley has had run ins with international staff ever since 2015, coaching at several training camps and clinics mostly in Chula Vista.

“I have also spoken at a Track Coaching Clinic at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee in Colorado Springs,” Utley said. “I have also served on the selection committee for two International team, the 2016 Paralympic Games and the 2017 World Championships.”

As someone who has been selected for competitions and other opportunities, she’s happy to say they’ve been memorable experiences.

“Being selected has allowed me the opportunity to travel the world and experience International competition at one of the highest levels,” Utley said. “I have met and worked with some truly amazing coaches, many who are former Olympians and college coaches which has broadened my network of contacts for training advice and for recruitment efforts for our own Summit athletes. Unfortunately, the traveling does mean time away from my family and my athletes here at Summit, but I am fortunate that everyone has been so supportive throughout.”