Prep Sports

Kewanee’s Makenna Peed doesn’t let wheelchair slow her down

There were hundreds of athletes competing in last week’s Three Rivers Conference East girls track and field championships at Kewanee.

All gave their bests, but one stood out from the rest.

Kewanee sophomore Makenna Peed competed in both shot and discus in the field and the 100-meter in track.

It’s an unusual combination for most athletes. Peed does it all in a wheelchair, inflicted by spina bifida, and doesn’t let it slow her down.

She has been competing in track and field since the eighth grade and is back in action after missing her freshmen season due to the pandemic.

It’s where she finds peace.

“I love to race. This year’s my first year racing, but I also enjoy discus. Shot is a little rough, but I like it,” she said.

What motivates her to go out there and compete with the able-body athletes?

“People tell me that I can’t. That makes me do it even more,” she said.

That’s what Kewanee coach Chad Palm loves most about Peed.

“She doesn’t let anybody say no. She goes about it with right attitude and spirit,” Palm said.

“I’ve had her since she was in kindergarten in school and she’s always had that, ‘You can’t tell me I can’t do something attitude’ in a most positive way. Doesn’t get worked up and angry about it, she just goes out and does it. It motivates her. She doesn’t let people deter her.”

And she’s a hard worker, Palm said.

“She’s very impressive. Been working hard all year,” Palm said. “She’s a fantastic young lady. Comes out and performs and competes and works against all odds. Just been tremendous to have her join our team.”

Peed is an inspiration to all the other competitors and appreciates the well wishes and congratulations she hears along the way.

“I love it. It makes it even better,” she said. “They always tell me I do a good job. ‘Keep going.’”

She gained a couple new fans Thursday in Bureau Valley senior Brooke York and Princeton weights coach Dan Foes.

“I think it’s great. From what I’ve seen, she’s super motivated and excited to be out and throwing,” York said.

Foes said she’s a source of an inspiration for all athletes.

“It’s just fun she can do those things. it’s fantastic. It gives her a chance to compete and live her life. It’s just awesome to see,” he said.

Peed will have the opportunity to compete at state in the wheelchair state finals in Charleston on Friday, June 11.

“Knowing there’s an opportunity for her to compete against other wheelchair athletes is a fantastic thing,” Palm said. “Last year with COVID, she didn’t get a chance. She was kind of bummed out about that.

“Having three years to have an opportunity to do it, she’s been excited. She’s been working hard every week. Has been talking about what she can do to improve.”

Peed said she plans to keep competing through her senior year. Nothing is going to ground her, not even a wheelchair.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com