MONAHANS, TX (KWES) - Earlier this month, a Monahans athlete competed in the Texas Regional Paralympic games and qualified for junior nationals. Her name is Hope Santiago and she's becoming a name that people around Paralympic athletics are paying attention too.
She's the only female athlete to participate in wheelchair racing between Dallas and El Paso. She's fourteen and she's fast, so fast that if she was old enough to be eligible for UIL competition she would've been seeded first or second in the hundred at state. For now, she's racing at Texas Paralympic competitions because she's only in the eighth grade. Her most recent competition was at regionals in San Antonio.
"It was really great this time because I broke all my times in all my races and I got first in all my races," said Hope when describing her performance at regionals. She brought back a bunch of gold medals and will hope to grab a few more at junior nationals this summer. Her secret weapon might just be her smile always on her face even during a race. "I can't help it I'm just so excited about racing that I want to smile," said Santiago.
While she had to compete in different meets than her Monahans peers she's been able to train alongside other middle school athletes. "Yeah, I practice with the other girls. They come out here. I have my lanes they have theirs and then I run with them and stretch with them," explained Hope.
She also said that being able to be apart of the team has made all the difference. "Yeah it made me a lot more confident because it made me feel cooler to say I'm a Monahans Lobo athlete, Lady Lobo too," said Santiago.