Fired up

Mountain Pointe special needs student Joshua Bowden, right, reacts after getting a practice run in during Mountain Pointe's practice.

By Jason P. Skoda, AFN

Joshua Bowden has taken his talents to Mountain Pointe.

Bowden, a special needs student, has been working out with the Pride track and field program and if all goes well he will compete in Wednesday's meet at home against Basha.

Bowden, 16, has Down syndrome and started participating as an athlete on the Centennial Middle School track and field team for the first time last year.

The AFN did an extensive story on Bowden last year that can be read here.

The interaction, socialization and exercise helped him so much that his parents and special education teacher Linda Dobbs, who works with him after school, thought it would be great to continue it this year.

"It helps motivate him and socially it can't be duplicated," she said. "The kids on the team have been terrific. They have him running. They've brought him in and been great."

State sprinter champion Paul Lucas and Zhante Shumate are two athletes who have taken an interest in helping Bowden stay focused.

"Josh is cool," Lucas said. "I don't look at it like a challenge. It's a fun learning experience working with him. God blessed with all of these abilities and not everyone has them. I definitely know not to take them for granted."

Having Bowden around just proves sports is so much more than just winning and losing.

"It's another element that shows sports is more than just the game," Pride assistant coach Larry Todd said. "You learn a lot of life lessons with sports and this just another. We are bringing on a kid who is different than others, but we are all different.

"It's another way for us to work on the social aspect of life."

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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