Anderson High School junior Hayden Sipple had never suited up for Trojans athletics.
But when AHS track and field coach Daniel Hunter spied Sipple's incredible strength several months ago, the coach said he knew that had to change.
"I watched Hayden get out of his wheelchair and incline bench press 185 pounds just like our football players," Hunter said. "I immediately knew there was untapped athletic potential there."
Just a few months later, Sipple, who lost the use of his legs in a car accident as a child, has blazed onto the track and field scene. He recently broke 20 seconds in the 100 meters, and said he knows he can go faster.
"If you want to see results, you have to work for them," Sipple said. "I enjoy the pressure of improving for each meet and seeing the results in practice."
Hunter said Sipple, who is likely to qualify for state in both the 100 meters and the shot put (having thrown more than 16 feet), has the potential to be elite, so he and his fellow coaches don't let up.
"Hayden wants to be coached hard, so we get after him," Hunter said. "He reminds all of us that sometimes life doesn't work out as we planned or wanted it to, but that life can be even more beautiful if we persist through our struggles and tough times."
Sipple and the rest of AISD's best track and field athletes will compete at the district meet at Burger Stadium on April 11–12.