In just two years the UT-Arlington Lady Movin` Mavs Women`s Wheelchair Basketball team have established themselves as one of best, and fastest-growing Intercollegiate Adaptive sports programs in the country. The team`s roster is rich with a talent with both current, and future Paralympians. This past spring the Movin` Mavs program added Emilee Hilbish from River Road High School in Amarillo, an athlete with no limits to what she can achieve.
A New Beginning
When asked about why she chose UTA Hilbish said “I chose UTA because they have given me the opportunity to follow my dreams of playing basketball – something no other college I was interested in could do.” Hilbish`s goal is to one day join The USA Paralympic team. Born with Spina Bifida, Hilbish says that she has always been active since she was a child. “The first time I was able to see that I have the ability to play sports was awesome. I had always been active, but it never occurred to me that sports would be something I would be able to do throughout my life.” Hilbish`s first experience with Wheelchair Basketball was at a clinic put on by the Southwest Junior Rolling Lobos of New Mexico. With the help of the organization Wheel Time, which donates sports wheelchairs for children and adults with mobility impairments, she was able to join the team. And so began a new dream for Hilbish.
The dream continues
Another chapter to Hilbish`s journey came in May of 2015 shorty after signing her letter of intent with UTA. During her Senior year at Amarillo River Road Hilbish participated in the 2nd edition of the Wheelchair Track & Field at the UIL Texas State Track Meet. She headed into the event as the top qualifier in the 100m, and 400m. She recalls that she became involved in Track when the UIL made the announcement back in October of 2013. With the help of another organization in Amarillo called One Chair at a Time she was able to get a track chair donated to her so she could participate in 2014. She placed 3rd in the 100m, and 2nd in the 400m that year. This year she won both races at rain-soaked at Mike A. Myers Stadium at University of Texas at Austin.
A Desire to Achieve
Hilbish says that above all the though of competing at a high level is what inspires her the most. “It pushes me to work harder when I know I’m up against someone with a lot of skill. Also, when I see people with disabilities going to do awesome things like the Paralympics or simply having a successful career, it makes me want to do those things as well. It shows me that I am capable.” The opportunity that Emilee Hilbish has been given to come to UTA is just the first of many achievements for this young athlete.