Elena Fellman lets nothing hold her back.
Not swimming. Not soccer.
Not horseback riding.
And especially not her disability.
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The 12-year-old Durham School of the Arts rising seventh-grader had her left foot amputated at 6 months of age. She’s been nonstop ever since.
“She’s never looked back (after amputation),” her mother, Kate Fellman, said. “She views her amputation as simply a physical difference, not a limitation. It’s a fact that becomes clear when she unleashes the competitor insider her.”
Elena won first place in the butterfly against able-bodied swimmers in the Durham Swim League this season. Last year, she placed in the majority of her events and was ranked in the top 20 for her age group heading into the city championships.
And if two sports (swimming and soccer) weren’t enough, Elena decided to try horseback riding while on a summer trip to her grandmother’s house in Minnesota. After just two weeks of practice, she competed in a riding competition and placed in nearly every event.
“I feel there’s nothing I can’t do,” said Elena who also plays violin in the school orchestra.
On Friday, Elena is off to Clarksville, Ohio, for a six-day camp for amputees. She won an all-expenses-paid scholarship to the prestigious Amputee Coalition Paddy Rossback Young Camp with 142 other disabled students between the ages of 10-17.
Elena will be making her second trip.
“I’m really excited because I was there last year, and I really liked it,” she said. “I like making other friends that are amputees, too. We all understand what it’s like to have a physical difference and the things that could go wrong.”
Now that she’s eligible to try out for school sports, Elena plans to join DSA’s cross-country and track and field teams with her new running blade “leg,” provided by a Challenged Athletes Foundation grant.
“Given how fast she is with her standard prosthesis, we’re certain she will outrun many of her competitors,” Kate Fellman said.
For more information about the camp, visit amputee-coalition.org.
Durham teams will play in tip-off tournament
Another high school basketball tournament has been born.
The inaugural Triangle Tip-Off Tournament presented by HighSchoolOT.com will showcase 16 teams (eight boys, eight girls) at Millbrook High School. The teams will be divided into four-team tournaments beginning Nov. 14, with the championships on Nov. 19.
Southern and Riverside boys and girls will represent the Bull City.
Hillside High rising senior forward Elisia “Lele” Grissett has committed to play women's basketball at SEC champion South Carolina, according to The State newspaper in Columbia.
Ranked fourth at her position and 31st overall in the country, Grissett was named MVP at the Super 60 Girls Showdown after playing all five positions at different times during the tournament last May.
The 6-foot-1 star averaged 22.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 3.2 steals and 3 blocks last season. The Hornets finished 28-2 and a second straight berth in the state semifinals.
South Carolina finished last season 33-2 and ranked No. 3 in the AP poll after winning both the SEC regular season and tournament championship. With possibly the nation’s best frontcourt returning for 2016-17, the Gamecocks have no returning starters at any guard position.
A world championship
Wendy McColskey, 64, of Durham was on the U.S. team that won the Alice Marble Cup at the ITF Senior World Team Championships in Helsinki, Finland. The American women beat France, 2-0, in the final matchup to retain the cup they won last year.
The ITF Seniors World Team Championships is considered the senior equivalent of tennis’ Davis Cup or Fed Cup competitions.