Stockdale earning accolades, opportunities

Aug. 26—Former Apollo High School track and field standout Kaidhyn Stockdale overcame a multitude challenges throughout his life to emerge as a three-time KHSAA state champion — and the 18-year-old is just getting started.

Stockdale, who won the Class 3-A adapted shot put state title in 2021, 2022 and 2023, along with a record-setting 3-A adaptive discus state championship in 2023, has been selected to represent the United States in the shot put, discus and javelin throws at the World Abilitysport Games in Thailand in December. His selection came in the midst of a non-stop summer schedule that also included record-breaking performances at the Peachtree Paragames in Atlanta and a U20 gold medal at Junior Nationals in Alabama.

Even through all of his accomplishments, it still takes Stockdale a moment to find the words when he reflects on what he's been able to do.

"Oh, gosh," said the Midway freshman, who had a stroke shortly after birth and suffers from right-side weakness, epilepsy and cerebral palsy. "Most of the opportunities I've gotten through my life, I've been grateful for, especially this one because my end goal is making the U.S. National Team for the Paralympics, and this is one step closer to that.

"This is probably one of the greatest opportunities I've received so far, because this is the first time I'm going on the world stage to compete and show everyone what I've got."

The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder admitted that his start in track and field wasn't out of love for the sport — "To be completely honest, I started doing it in middle school to get out of football conditioning," he said, with a laugh — but once he got to high school, it blossomed into a true passion.

Stockdale credited Apollo's coaching staff, Charlie Shoulta, Paul Bates and his father, Chris Stockdale, for helping lay the groundwork early on. Since then, it's been a whirlwind of workouts, training and competing in meets — and Kaidhyn Stockdale wouldn't want it any other way.

"It first started out as something where I didn't want to upset my parents, and I wanted them to be proud of me," he said. "Then, as I started to see improvement, I really enjoyed it. Now, my main drive is seeing how far I can go. I want to push it to the limit, but I don't want to find my limit.

"My goal is the Paralympics, it's breaking world records, and representing for my country is probably the biggest accomplishment I'm looking forward to the most."

Beyond being a track and field champion, Stockdale also wants to be a champion for people like him.

"I was not dealt very good cards, growing up with cerebral palsy and having a stroke and even epilepsy," he said. "I wasn't dealt the best hand, as some people would say, but I want people to look up to me. I want little kids in the same position I was in, to tell them, 'Hey, it's not your only option to sit on the sideline and watch other people be great.' I want to show them they have the power to do great things, as well."

Stockdale also knows how easy it would've been for the coaches at Apollo or his current coaches at Midway to treat him differently than other student-athletes, but that's never been the case.

"If you find the right coach, they will help you and would love to support you in any way possible," he added, mentioning Midway coach Duane Morris. "It is limited because, with my ability, chances are I couldn't do other things like normal people would, but he's very helpful in finding ways to adapt.

"The best part is if your coach believes in you, he knows you'll do big things. He can see it, and it's amazing to have because I don't think I've ever had a coach that puts me down or treats me any differently. They've always been the same, just trying to get me to do my best."

Now, as Stockdale prepares for the World Abilitysport Games in December and sits on the shortlist for the Parapan American Games in Chile in November, his message for others is simple: Work hard, and you never know what you might accomplish.

"When I discovered shot put and discus, it was hard at first," he admitted. "It's always going to be hard at first, and then you get into the groove of things, but you've really got to work and dedicate yourself to the sport.

"It's crazy to think about because I'm sitting here as a freshman in college, 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and I never realized when I started this sport how good I could get at it. I surprised myself, and I'm sure I've surprised a lot of other people too."

For more information or to help Stockdale offset the costs of his upcoming trips, a fund has been set up at