Deaf athletes compete in state track meet - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Deaf athletes compete in state track meet

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - After a two hour rain delay, the WIAA state track meet eventually got underway without a hitch Friday night. Among those competing at the meet are two athletes who face some additional challenges. They are seniors at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf.

The sights and sounds at the WIAA state track meet can be overwhelming to some, but not for Kori Koss and Gunner Hahn. They have been deaf since they were born.

Both Gunner and Kori said, through an interpreter, that they love running hurdles.  Since Gunner was a freshman it's been his goal to make it to the state meet.

Now that he's here he hopes to show people that being deaf doesn't hold him back.

Last year, Kori, who has run since 7th grade, was the first girl in school history to make it to the state meet.  Kori's mother, Kim Koss, said running hurdles "gives them confidence, it really builds up their confidence and independence to just handle things on their own when they're out competing."

There are more than just physical hurdles when they compete. The biggest challenge is hearing the gun go off at the starting line.

Kori and Gunner rely on their other senses, they look at the hand signals of the referee and look for the smoke that comes out of the gun.

"The challenges that they've had and the accomplishment to be here and competing with hearing individuals is the opportunity for them to shine in their own little world", said Koss.

A time to shine not only in their little world, but on the big stage, and a time to see their deafness as just another hurdle they've conquered.

Kori and Gunner both qualified for the final meet Saturday.  Kori placed 5th overall with a time of 16.41. Gunner placed 7th with a time of 15.83.

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