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by Brandon Leonard Correspondent · February 16th, 2017


Alex Gillaspie has been a familiar face around the Marion Independent School District for quite some time. In his high school career with the Indians, he's wrestled numerous varsity matches and has been a varsity starter for much of the duration of it. Recently, Gillaspie also competed at the 2017 North Central Association of Schools for the Blind regional wrestling tournament with the Iowa Rams, a team of blind/visually impaired student-athletes from across the state of Iowa.

Gillaspie may have lost to long-distance rival, Indiana native Chris Avila, in the finals of the 126-pound weight class in the finals this year but he has made his family, friends and teammates proud over the course of his career. Alex has been wrestling since he was a kindergartener and he also competes as a swimmer, a sport where he has two big meets coming up in the upcoming meets. Those two sports are traditional sports and can be found in schools all across the nation, but there's another sport that Gillaspie takes part in that a lot of people may not know much about: Goalball.

Goalball is a game for blind and visually impaired athletes that features three-versus-three action between two teams. To score, a player must roll or bounce the ball down the length of the court, past the opposing defenders, and into the opponent's goal. The game resembles soccer in a way but without the raucous crowds. The ball that is used is almost like a medicine ball with a bell inside of it for the athletes to hear where it is traveling. The audience in attendance must remain quiet for the athletes, who are blind-folded, to get the best competition and level playing field possible.

While Gillaspie's wrestling season is winding down, his swimming season is about to start gaining some steam with a meet that will take place on Thursday, March 16, in Jacksonville, Illinois. According to Alex's father, Chuck, Alex will also be swimming in a meet on April 29, in Columbus, Ohio before his graduation from Marion.

Upon graduation from Marion, Alex's plans are to move to Des Moines and take classes at the Department of the Blind. Once he completes his courses there, he plans to enroll at the University of Iowa and major in education.
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