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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Romanchuk, McFadden win Bloomsday wheelchair races

Wheelchair racer Cristian Torres speeds along Riverside Avenue during Bloomsday 2018, May 6, in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Daniel Romanchuk had some tense moments on the hill Sunday morning.

No, not that hill.

Seconds into the Elite Open Men’s Wheelchair race, the 19-year-old from Maryland found himself flying down Riverside Avenue.

“I got going a little too fast,” Romanchuk said. “I had to watch my speed, and all the big guys were passing me.”

But not for long. Romanchuk quickly found his stride, churned up Doomsday Hill and cruised to 2-minute win over runner-up Aaron Pike.

“Growing up in Maryland, I’m used to hills,” Romanchuk said, referring to the uphill kind.

Romanchuk’s time was 26 minutes, 4 seconds, with only Pike offering a challenge from the 12-man field.

“I’m very happy with my time,” Romanchuk said after his third Bloomsday.

Romanchuk, of Urbana, Illinois, has a lot to be happy about this year. He recently replaced his old aluminum chair with a carbon-fiber model.

“It’s a little bit stiffer and responds faster,” Romanchuk said. “It’s worked wonderfully this year.”

At almost every distance, Romanchuk has made the most of the new equipment. He’s ranked second in the world at 800 meters, fifth in the 5K and, last month, finished third in the Boston Marathon.

Next up is a track meet in Illinois, then next month another event in Switzerland.

“I still have a few more goals this year,” Romanchuk said.

Tatyana McFadden won the Open Women’s race in 32:51, beating runner-up Chelsea McClammer by 4:23.