For Flower Mound sophomore Abigail Counts, winning is all in the attitude!“The biggest thing in sports is to never give up… don’t give up on yourself!” she said. Counts, 15, recently made headlines by becoming the 400-meter wheelchair state champion with a record-breaking time of 1:07.80 at the UIL Class 5A state track meet in Austin. She won two gold medals and a silver medal while also setting a new state record.
Counts’ first event was wheelchair shot put, where she secured first-place. She placed second in a 100-meter wheelchair race. Her last event was the 400-meter wheelchair race, where she also took gold.
“I was not even thinking about the race, and I was just doing what I was supposed to do. When I realized that I touched the finish line and looked at the board… it was WOW… I was blown away!” Abigail said. “It feels great to win. I am proud of myself. When the result was announced, I thanked my God and remembered my coach and my family.”
Counts started playing sports at the age of 5. Basketball is the first sport she played, and she wants to continue with it when she’s in college.
“I am a little more hopeful in basketball,” she said.
Counts has been doing track since middle school, and it was last year when she got into competitions.
“There’s no comparison; I love both sports equally,” she said. “Basketball is all about teamwork. I enjoy being with a team and performing for the team, but the track has always been a chance to prove myself.”
Abigail, who had a natural inclination towards sports since childhood, finds herself ready to go the extra mile to practice and perform. Every day, she’s working out, taking care of her diets, and motivating herself to achieve more.
“I am hoping to make it to The Paralympic Games,” she shared.
This ambitious athlete feels grateful to have an amazing coach who supports and helps her in every possible way.
“I am very impressed by how I am coached,” Abigail commented. “I am very thankful to my coach.” Also, achieving this milestone at such a young age was not possible without the support of family. Everyone has encouraged Abigail throughout her sports journey.
“My family is great. They are very supportive. They take me to practice, and they encourage me,” she said.
As she shared, the last year was not at all easy for Abigail. With COVID-19, everything was affected. On top of that, she had multiple surgeries, and it took some time for her to get back to a healthy state. Does being physically challenged affect her sometimes?
“There are moments like that, and it’s sometimes discouraging… especially in sports when I feel I can’t be a part of something,” she said. “That’s when I have to remind myself that it’s not something that makes me not as good as anyone else, I am unique, and I am proud of myself.”
For those who are physically challenged in some way or the other and looking for a purpose, Abigail thinks sports can be
“I had no idea that there are a lot of disabled athletes. It’s amazing to see them all. It’s a whole different world, and I am so happy that I am a part of it,” she shared.
She has a special message to the parents of physically challenged kids, which is: “Disability should never be a weakness… There’s a huge community of people who are disabled and are going to sports and making it big. Parents, help your child achieve what they deserve.”
photos courtesy of Abigail’s family