MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sauk Rapids-Rice High School named senior Adam Marshall its male student athlete of the year. It’s a well-deserved honor for the three-sport athlete who boasts a 3.4 GPA and five state championships.

“I’ve realized there’s no backing down,” he said. “It’s been a great journey.”

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Adam’s journey began once he learned of his Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis, and chose to play St. Cloud Area adapted sports.

“I’ve never been a fan of the scoreboard, of the buzzer,” he said. “In my first game, I asked my coach, ‘Is there going to be a scoreboard? Is there going to be a buzzer that’s going to be really loud?’ He said he didn’t know.”

He was determined to acclimate, to adjust, and to become the best student athlete he could be.

“It doesn’t bother me anymore,” he said.

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As a soccer player, he’s amassed more than 30 career goals, holds a .750 batting average in softball, and has more than 125 goals in floor hockey.

“Just to watch him grow has been great,” his mother Kim said. “So much confidence.”

Adam acknowledges the challenges that will lie ahead of him as he graduates high school and continues with his life, but he wants his story to be a motivator for other kids to try adapted athletics.

“It’s scary,” he said. “It’s very hard for kids with any type of disability to try new things, but once you take that first step, it gets a lot easier.”

All it takes is a single step.

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“Once I took that first step, and after a whole entire year, I became committed. I love it. I’ve gained a lot, I’ve learned a lot. It’s going to be hard to leave, but I’ll have the story I can look back on and I’ll always remember.”

Norman Seawright III