Special needs teen competes in power lifting competition

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FORT STOCKTON -- An Alpine High School student is setting the bar for hard work and success, but he’s had struggles of his own to become a part of a team that he loves.

17-year-old Sawyer Jackson is your typical teen. He loves his sport, his teammates, and socializing.

And although he has Down Syndrome, he doesn’t let that stop him from reaching his goals.

“Today I did a bench, and dead lift, and squats,” Sawyer said.

It took him years to settle on power lifting.

“He does a great job,” said Alpine High School’s Boys Power Lifting head coach Dustin Glidewell.

And Sawyer’s passion came to fruition today at his fourth meet of the season in Fort Stockton High School’s gymnasium.

But behind the scenes – “He comes out and we lift in the morning and we start about 6 a.m.,” Glidewell said.

Dedication is what gets Sawyer where he wants to be.

For two years now, Sawyer has been a part of Alpine High’s Boys Power lifting team.

“In Alpine ISD, the kids in small towns seem to help each other out no matter who you are or what you do,” Glidewell said.

Today Sawyer competed against kids who don’t have disabilities.

“To any parent out there with a child with special needs, I’d say, let them try whatever they want to do,” said Sawyer’s mother, Kim Jackson.

Her son’s ambition and beaming light still surprising her every day.

“You never know, these kids will totally amaze you,” Jackson added.

Sawyer’s parents, teammates, and coach—all holding him to the very same standards.

“He had a great season and did a really good job and I expect bigger and better things from him in the future,” Glidewell said.

Glidewell added that in all his years of working with athletes—some, special needs—Sawyer shows more dedication than most.

In fact, in Sawyer’s second year on the team, coaches say he’s improving every year.

Last year, he competed locally and now he has gone to competing regionally.