Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Summer is a great time for high school athletes to take their minds off the books for awhile and focus on their sport. Lakeside's Cole Wooten has done that and more this summer, and he hasn't taken the easy way to get there.
"The doctors said I wouldn't be able to make it through life and everything," Wooten said. "I was like, I'm going to prove these people wrong and do what I want to do, and now here I am."
Wooten wasn't born with the easiest road. He has a rare skin disorder, and his feet had to be amputated when he was 11. For some, it'd be a fast route to self pity. For Cole, it's just a different path to success.
"That drove me the past couple years, throughout middle school," he said. "That's when I started breaking records, and that's when I started doing more events and winning more medals."
Earlier this month, Cole used his motivation in a big way, going to the National Junior Disability Championships in Minnesota. He was the star of the show, winning five gold medals and setting a national record in the discus.
"I really want to make it to the 2016 Paralympics. I'm trying to drive myself into doing events like this. I want to get noticed."
Getting noticed shouldn't be a concern. As a track, basketball and tennis player, plenty of people know Cole, and he's getting used to the extra attention.
"People look up to me. Being at the age I am and being able to compete with people older than me, I think it's a type of if I can do it, why can't you?"
The point is valid, and knowing Wooten, we'll have plenty of reasons to ask that same question in the coming years.
Cole's racing strictly in his chair right now, but he's been working with running prosthetics since February, and he hopes to be competing in them by sometime next year.