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Panhandle Athletes Make History

Emilee Hilbish is making a mark on the record books this weekend.

Emilee Hilbish is making a mark on the record books this weekend.

"I think it's pretty cool to be able to have my name on all, like the records, officially.  And just that this program has been started," Hilbish said.

Hilbish is a wheelchair athelte from River Road.

For the first time in the state of Texas, she and other wheelchair athletes from around the state will compete in the UIL state track meet.

"Personally what's been said to me is like, is that hard," Hilbish said of questions on her race, "Well yeah, I mean it's hard. I'm running with my arms." 

Track and Field is the first UIL sport to open up to wheelchair athletes.

The pilot program started this spring, and locally, Joe Chris Rodriguez has helped raise funds for sports chairs and mentored the four area athletes headed to the State Track Meet.

"I feel great. I think's it's awesome. To see  to where they've gone from putting them in their chair for the first time, to see them now. Being, thinking they'd never be able to play sports or compete. And now they're on the biggest stage in Texas," Rodriguez said.

The biggest stage in Texas, and Emilee Hilbish is ready to race.

But the jounrey doesn't end when she crosses the finish line.

"I think even in track the UIL could open up more events. And other sports. Just keep pushing, keep going," Hilbish said.

Keep pushing on the track and off, as it's ready, set, go for wheelchair sports in Texas.

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