Sample is playing the waiting game now

OBSERVER File Photo Cassadaga Valley graduate Rayven Sample.

After finishing first in his class in the 400 meters at the U.S. Paralympic Team Trials in Minneapolis on Saturday, Rayven Sample is very, very close to realizing his Olympic dream.

But he hasn’t quite crossed the figurative finish line yet.

“It’s not official,” said Nick Spry, Falconer/Cassadaga Valley’s assistant outdoor coach Monday night. “In a normal year, they have an official party where they announce the team, but because of COVID, they’re doing it virtually on Thursday.”

So the Cassadaga Valley Central School graduate, who just completed his freshman year at Bucknell University, will have to wait a couple more days for the announcement.

“It’s almost like a ‘Selection Sunday’ process,” Spry said.

Running in the T45/46/47 classification — Sample was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis, which causes joint contracture that limits his range of motion — he placed first with a time of 50.34, which was just shy of his personal best of 50.27.

“We set our expectations high,” Spry said. “I was definitely pleased and Rayven the same thing. It’s also tough because you know he’s probably going to be on the team, but you don’t celebrate too much, because he’s not on the team yet.”

If Sample is selected, he’ll be headed to the Tokyo Summer Paralympics, which run from Aug. 24 through Sept. 5.

“There’s a very good chance he’s on there,” Spry said, “but it’s not official until it’s official.”


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