MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hundreds of elite athletes from around the country are truly feeling the heat in Minnesota this week. For the first time, the state is hosting the Adaptive Sports USA 2019 Junior Nationals.

Two-hundred-fifty young athletes are taking aim at their dreams, and they’re doing it in Eden Prairie.

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“Whatever their disability is, this is a time when they can develop those relationships that are going to last a lifetime, but they are with people who are just like them,” said George Lee, a longtime volunteer and coordinator. “They face the same challenges, they face the same opportunities.”

Dave Ramos, 13, is a track athlete from Maryland, and 9-year-old Liza Robbins is his teammate.

“I like competition,” Robbins said.

But there’s also something she and her teammate don’t like.

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“This weather is being bad, horrible, very hot,” Ramos said.

But these athletes know how to conquer adversity and they are doing just that.

“This is adaptive sports, which means that we have to be adaptable to anything that happens and just make it work,” Lee said.

And they are doing that with water fountains, water bottles, lots of ice and lots of tents. These athletes know how to power through.

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If you are up for braving the heat, the games could use some support. They still need volunteers and fans to fill the stands Thursday and Friday and help cheer on these incredible athletes.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield