Consol’s Maria Ireland set to represent Lady Tigers at State Track Meet

Consol’s Maria Ireland set to represent Lady Tigers at State Track Meet
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 5:32 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - A&M Consolidated senior Maria Ireland will compete at the UIL State Track & Field Meet this Friday in Austin in both the 100m and 400m wheelchair races.

It hasn’t been an easy road for Maria, but she’s shown incredible determination to get to this point.

”She’s got a spirit that never quits,” exclaimed Consol girls’ head track & field coach Sonny Soltis. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her have an off day or be upset. She’s just a lot of fun to be around,” Soltis added.

“Being in a wheelchair I didn’t really have many friends that were like me,” Maria Ireland explained. “Just having that community to get to know and to grow with people has helped me become confident and not really care what people think of me,” Ireland added.

Maria will compete at the UIL State Track & Field Championships for the third time in her high school career.

“I get to compete against myself the whole season. But then at State, I get to see how I’m doing against other girls and that pushes me more,” Ireland said.

Last year, Maria finished 5th and 6th in the 400m and 100m wheelchair races plus a 2nd place finish in the shot put. She’s got her eyes on a bigger prize this year.

“It’d be great (to medal),” Ireland exclaimed. “I feel like I haven’t always been the greatest at the 100 and 400. I feel like medaling in those things at state would really tell me that I’ve improved over the past six years.”

“She has high expectations for herself,” Soltis said. “She works hard every day. There’s never a day that she slacks off. She encourages the others whenever they start getting down and feeling sorry for themselves, she’s always an encouragement to them. That’s a big help for this team. I expect her to PR again,” Soltis added.

Maria first fell in love with paralympic sports playing basketball with a team in Houston. Whatever sports she’s playing, she loves to compete.

“Showing people that we can do it,” Ireland explained why she enjoys competing. “We can make it as far as state. We can also place. We’re not just disabled people that sit around and do nothing. When I was younger I was like, I’m not going to make it this far, but now I’m like, yeah I can. I can make it this far and further if I wanted to,” Ireland added.

After the state meet, Maria hopes to continue her athletic endeavors at the collegiate level.