Eau Claire (WQOW) -- Despite Monday's gloomy weather, there were a lot of smiles among the members of the Eau Claire North track and field team today, because Huskies freshman Brock Holman will have an opportunity to compete with the team this season.
Holman has spina bifida. In his daily life, he needs to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around. Monday afternoon, in front of friends, family, and fellow spring sports athletes, Holman is presented with a special custom-made racing wheelchair.
Racing wheelchairs can cost $3,000-$4,000, but that cost was covered by Variety-The Children's Charity of Wisconsin.
Now, Brock Holman can compete in wheelchair sprints as well as the shot put.
"I saw my brothers compete and I really thought it was a cool thing," Holman says, "and I didn't think I would ever get the opportunity to compete as a varsity athlete, so it's a very cool thing and I'm very lucky."
Jessica Bauer-Phipps of Variety-The Children's Charity of Wisconsin is an Eau Claire native.
"It's really exciting to be working for this organization that's based out of Milwaukee," says Bauer-Phipps, "but now being able to bring the funding and the programs back to my hometown, and to be able to help the community that I grew up in, it's very cool."
Holman's had a few opportunities to try out his new racing wheelchair, so going forward, it'll be a learning experience for both him and Huskies head coach, Adam Sturgis.
"There are some great resources online for figuring it out," Sturgis says, "because it is not just pushing the wheels on a wheelchair, there's a lot of technique involved, and a lot of it is strength and Brock has committed a ton to the weight room."
Sturgis says he hopes Holman will have a chance to compete Friday at the Rice Lake Invitational.
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