SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. – There's a special member of the North Pines Middle School wrestling team, who was never expected to be able to do much physically at all. And now, 15-year-old Trayten Larsen is inspiring his whole team, and proving everyone who doubted him wrong.
Larsen was born with Cerebral Palsy and has limited motion in his limbs; he walks on two legs, and four wheels, with the help of a walker.
The 8th grader has been team manager for other sports before, stuck on the sidelines. But then, he told his parents he wanted to wrestle.
"Of course we were nervous, we weren't sure how it was going to work, what he could do," said his father, Jose Nino.
But working with coach Joe Clark, Trayten made the varsity team, and isn't on the sidelines any more. He fights for every match, never doubting his own physical ability on the mat.
When I asked him, "Does that ever come in to your mind on the mat?"
He responded fervently, "Nope, nope."
Trayten says he wanted to wrestle because his dad was a wrestler in middle and high school.
"He did it, so I wanted to do it," Trayten explained.
"The best part is, to hear him say, ''I can actually do it, I can participate and be a full fledged team member,'" Nino said.
Trayten's finally found a place where none of his physical limitations matter. What the scoreboard says doesn't matter either; the crowd speaks louder than any number ever could.
"I'm just beyond proud of him, and once he gets on the mat, me and mom we'll be holding it back, trying not to let the tears run, but we're very happy for him," Nino added.
Coach Joe Clark told KHQ they're not favored to win, and will probably do horribly this season, but he said, "Look at how beautiful our horrible is."