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Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 9:55am
El Paso — A talented young El Pasoan has the chance to prove the nation what Sun City wrestlers can bring into the the mat. He has an opportunity to compete at the national level and he has gotten to this point by overcoming a huge medical challenge.
But now, there's another obstacle in his way. EPISD will not fund his travel expenses to compete and he is faced with raising the funds on his own.
A wrestler like Juan Sillas is faced with many challenges on the wrestling mat and what happened to him in the ring made him face a whole new obstacle. "My sophomore year in high school tested me in a way that, at the time, I believe was the end of my world," Juan Sillas said.
He says he broke his back during a wrestling tournament. Prompting doctors to wonder if he'd ever compete again. "The last question became my drive to overcome my obstacles that many thought would end my wrestling career," Juan explained.
He proved everyone wrong. Not only coming back stronger, but coming back on top.
"I returned to El Paso as the state champion for district 4a," he said.
But now, Juan faces another obstacle. The El Paso Independent School District does not fund travel expenses for athletes who qualify for national competitions.
"I worked really hard to get where I am now but I feel like I was being told, 'This is it for you,'" he explained.
He says it's really expensive to compete on the national level because he has to pay for his own flight and hotel expenses. But he remains a determined young man, so he can show his peers what he's made of.
In the end, he would also like to do much more, like change the district's policy for athletes competing on a national level.
"Helps numerous families as well as setting an excellent example of EPISD and the city of El Paso," he said.