It’s race day but until Kevin Messner toes the starting block his personality doesn’t change. Inside Sun Angel Stadium, just a short walk from his
ASU dorm, Messner’s outgoing personality is on full display in front of staffers and fellow athletes participating in the Desert Challenge Games. To understand Messner’s life is to understand his perseverance throughout his journey to America.
“My story starts back in China,” Messner carefully explained to Sports360AZ.com. “I was left in a orphange when I was just an infant. I grew up there and when I was four years old I got adopted and moved to Arizona. I was born with a congenital birth defect which means some of the bones and muscles came out funky looking so we decided to cut right above the knee [on his right leg].”
Messner moved to the US having to adapt to a new family, culture and language here in Arizona. When he was seven he became involved with AZDS (Arizona Disabled Sports)-which offers adaptive opportunities for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. He started competing competitively when he was nine.
After graduating from
Pinnacle High School in 2018, Messner continues to grow both on and away from the track.
He also recently picked up a hobby to go along with his “mean grilled cheese sandwiches” as he calls them.
“I can juggle,” Messner said. “I was just hanging out at the house…and I had three balls lying around so I said, ‘why not?’ One week later I got the hang of it and now I’m trying to go after four [balls].”
He’s both self-aware and thoughtful when asked if he feels he’s a role model to others in similar positions.
“I don’t want to call myself an inspiration,” he said. “I’m just trying to be some source of outlet and a person to help inform people that you can still keep doing what you do and you can do anything you put your mind to.”
This past weekend at The Desert Challenge Games in Tempe he posted personal bests in both the 100 and 200-meter.
The next step on the track is his ultimate goal.
“I have dreams to hopefully get to The [Summer] Parolympics for Tokyo 2020,” Messner said.
Dream big, Kevin.
You’ve already proven dreams can come true.