DeafDigest Sports – May 12, 2018

barry@deafdigest.com; barry.strassler@gmail.com
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Hot DeafSports News at:

— Gallaudet April athletes of the month

— 2-time Deaflympics trackster to go for third Deaflympics

— collegiate men’s volleyball player

— deaf martial arts fighter

Deaf Sports Collections update
— deaf players in Canadian Football League (as revised; increased by one more player)

(latest addition is at bottom of the list – he was a league-leading rusher as running back)

DeafSports picture of the day


Gallaudet athletes

Neild and Hahn chosen as April Bison of the Month

WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University Athletics Department has announced
the April Bison of the Month recipients –  Freshman Hannah Neild
(Litchfield, N.H.) of the softball team and junior sprinter Gunner Hahn
(Stevens Point, Wis.) of the men’s track and field team were selected
for their exceptional performances for the month of April.

Neild led the Gallaudet softball team during the month of April with a
.492 batting average as she went 30-for-61 at the plate. She was named the
NEAC Player of the Week two times in April. She had seven doubles, three
triples and two home runs. She drove in 17 runs and scored 20 times in 20
games. She tallied a .803 slugging percentage and .544 on base percentage.
Neild also stole five bases and was walked seven times. She helped GU to
win seven times in the month of April.

“I am really proud of Hannah and the season she had. Hannah winning this
award is an accomplishment for everyone on our team,” said Gallaudet
softball coach Justen Burns.”We have a lot of pride and a great work ethic
[as a team]. I’m just so proud of Hannah embracing her role head on and
working really hard this season.”

Hahn dominated the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles throughout April,
winning every 110-meter hurdle event in all four meets. His best record
for the 110-meter hurdles occured the weekend of April 6 and 7 in the
Battleground Relays with a time of 15.47 seconds. He ran a new season best
in the 400-meter hurdles on April 21 in Gallaudet University’s
Invitational with a time of 57.76 seconds.

“All year Gunner has shown extraordinary commitment and dedication towards
perfecting his technique in the hurdles. Gunner has had a very good
outdoor season, and I am happy to see him gain recognition for his
accomplishments,” said Gallaudet men’s and women’s track and field coach
Byron Moore.

2017-18 Gallaudet Bison of the Month
April: Hannah Neild (SB) and Gunner Hahn (MTRACK)
March: Jacklyn Zacarias (SB) and Kyle Gumm (BB)
February: Hannah Neild (WB) and Benjamin Sealts (MSWIM)
January: Emelia Beldon (WB) and Jonathan Tikhonoff (MSWIM)
December: Hannah Neild (WB) and Andy Cruz (MB)
November: Hannah Neild (WB) and Benjamin Sealts (MSWIM)
October: Brittany Mallach (WSOC) and Joell Dixon (FB)
September: Danielle Wheeler (WSOC) and Sean Huber (MSOC)



Meet Janna Vander Meulen.

She later attended Rogers High School where she lettered in soccer,
basketball and track and field. After graduating, she moved down to
Monmouth to attend Western Oregon University and continue her track
career. During her time their, she set some astonishing records including
the women’s indoor collegiate record for the 60-meter hurdles: a time of
9.06 at the GNAC Indoor Championships,  held at Nampa, Idaho, in February

Yet, Janna’s most recognized success came after college.

She believed her track career was done after graduating, but destiny had
different plans for her: In 2012 she became a member of the United States
of America Deaf Track and Field team (USADTF).

Janna participated in the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she
earned two silver medals: one in the 100-meter hurdles and the other in
the 4×100-meter relay. She also earned a bronze in the 400-meter hurdles.
And yet, her second-place finish in the 100m hurdles was one she doesn’t
forget, being only .006 seconds away from the leader.

“It was a race I knew I could have won,” she says now.

Coming to Mt. Hood

After experiencing success at the world stage, Janna was hungry for more.
She was determined to be at the 2017 Deaflympics to win the 100m hurdles.

Janna admits to being a bit nervous meeting coach Fantroy, as she knew nothing
of him, and had no idea her first practice with him was more of a tryout
than anything else. That said, she passed the test and began training with
him in August 2015.

Fantroy has coached for over 35 years, in both high school and college, in
a variety of events. From mentoring state champions to state record
holders, he is no stranger to the sport. But this was a new challenge for
him, he said.

“My first thought was, I don’t know no sign language,” he said,
laughing over what his first thought of coaching Janna. “It was a
challenge, but I always tell my athletes, ‘Hey, let’s go ahead and
challenge ourselves, always challenge yourself,’ so it was a new
challenge for me and I said, hey, let’s see what she’s bringing to the

Switching coaches was new for Janna. She noticed that her old coach and
Fantroy had very different coaching styles. The former stressed experiment
and feedback; the latter, laser-sharp focus on hurdling technique.

“Their ways are completely different. He’s (Fantroy) more like
‘trail, trail, trail, tactical, tactical, tactical,’ while my old
coach was more like ‘run through, give me feedback, and then run though,
run through,’ ” she explained.

“Fernando helps me work one part at a time, so he basically broke me
down and built me back up. So, I really enjoy working with him and I learn
a lot.”

Fantroy discussed how he felt coaching Janna with her strong ambition of
going to the 2017 Deaflympics and winning gold.

“But it was no different because I know how to get an athlete hurdler or
any athlete to that next level. My goal was to get her that gold medal. I
teamed up with her strength coach where she totaled 20 hours (per week) in
between me and her strength coach, which I recommended to her, besides her
40-hour weeks she works at Nike.”

All that hard work and countless hours of training with Fantroy paid off.

In 2017, Janna headed to Samsun, Turkey, for the 2017 Deaflympics and
finally won that gold medal in the 100-meter hurdlers that she so much
dreamed of. She also earned a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles. She
currently holds the deaf American women’s records for the 100m hurdle,
400m hurdle, and 4x100m relay.

The results made her so happy and proud, she said. That feeling of finally
winning a gold medal after all the hard work she put in and beating that
girl who won the 2013 100m hurdle race was awesome, though she was
slightly unsatisfied with her time.

But Janna isn’t done yet. Her eyes are now on the 2021 Deaflympics,
where she is determined to break the Deaf world record for the 100m
hurdles of 14.21 seconds, and rightfully make history at the world stage.
Her current time is 14.29, just .08 seconds away from that time. Her dream
now is to crush that and get under 14;  even a 13.99 would be enough for

Her next international meet will be in Japan, a friendly meet for Deaf
athletes this Memorial Day weekend where she plans to make a statement for
2021 goal.

Meantime, Janna will continue training with Coach Fantroy here at Mt.
Hood’s track, twice a week, which is  how she’s been doing it since
2015. She noted that she loves the environment at Mt. Hood and finds the
track and field athletes here very supportive.


collegiate men’s volleyball player

Hunter Taylor


men’s volleyall

Eastern Mennonite University (Virginia)

his profile is:

Kills: 7 (2x)
Attempts: 17 vs. Coker (1/16/2016)
Service Aces: 4 vs. Lancaster Bible (1/20/2016)
Assists: 1 vs. Lancaster Bible (1/20/2016)
Digs: 5 vs. Lancaster Bible (1/20/2016)
Block Solos: n/a
Block Assists: 2 vs. Lancaster Bible (1/20/2016)
Total Blocks: 2 vs. Lancaster Bible (1/20/2016)

2016: Hunter played in 9 matches averaging 1.50 kill per set. He
accumulated 24 kills, 10 digs, and 4 total blocks.

2014: Hunter played in 11 matches as a middle, averaging 1.08 kills per
set with a .304 attack percentage.  He also averaged .058 blocks.

this 2018 spring season:

team played 34 matches, but Hunter only played two matches

only played 3 sets

his stats is minimal

either he was injured all season or the coach chose not to use him at all?

he was with USA men’s volleyball team at the past Deaflympics


deaf martial arts fighter

Tracy Willis

mixed martial arts fighter


per web site, his overall record is 11 wins, 21 losses

his last posted fight was a loss in April 2017

is he still active or has he retired?

Do not know