Blind cross country runner competing with help of coach
12-year old Quincy Sierra decided he wanted to compete in athletics this year, his first in junior high. But, like everything in life, Quincy has to work even harder than most kids his age.
“When he sees he has no central vision,” explained Whitney Teeter, Quincy’s mom. “It’s like he’s looking through Swiss cheese, because there is so much scarring. The vision he does have is very limited.”
Quincy is blind, caused by scarring to his retinas at birth. Despite that, he wanted to run.
“My blindness does not matter,” Quincy said with a smile. “I am confident. Even though I have vision problems, I am still confident with that.”
Confidence is not enough though. State requirements dictate Quincy must be tethered to adult in order to compete in sanctioned events.
“I didn’t know how it was going to go down,” Teeter admitted. “I thought I better start training because I am out of shape.”
But Teeter didn’t have to worry about that. Quincy’s coach, Cory Bixler, stepped up to make sure Quincy got his chance.
“If I don’t do this, he doesn’t get the chance to compete, and that’s not going to happen,” Bixler said. “That’s kind of the why you know? If I don’t do this, he doesn’t get to run. There’s no chance, he doesn’t get to run. I mean, somebody else would have done it, but I am going to be there anyway.”
Bixler will be there, because he coaches both the Junior High and High School Cross Country teams in Ulysses. But instead of his normal coaching duties, Bixler will run too. Tethered to Quincy, every step of the way.
“That’s the point of it,” Bixler, a coach for more than two decades, said.
“This is about helping kids, and that’s what it is all about.”
Bixler will tell you that anyone would have done what he’s doing to help Quincy, and that may be the case as Quincy is pretty popular around campus. But for Quincy, it means something that his coach is the one who stepped up.
“I’m glad he said you know what it’s time to help. And it’s a good thing he did, because we have become a great team,” Quincy beamed.
A social media post from Quincy’s first meet went viral. And the attention has made a difference Quincy’s life.
“He just has so much more… he believes in himself,” Teeter admitted. “There were a lot of times where he was shy about trying new things and nervous. He called me the other day and said ‘mom I tried out for jazz band.’ He was like ‘I just think I did awesome.’ I’ve seen that in him. More self-confidence.”
And while his mom and coach admit they are scared he might stumble, he has, Quincy isn’t worried about it. He gets up, and just gets up and keeps running.
“He doesn’t limit himself. I see that it is inspirational, but I guess for us we’ve been around it and to us we are like… that’s just Quincy.”
We asked Quincy if he wanted all of this attention to inspire others. He quickly said yes, and added…
“If you ever have limitations you want to pass the limit. Oh wait, you don’t want to pass the limit, you want to beat the limitation you set. Oh wait, you don’t set one. The only limits that are there are the ones you set for yourself.”