ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Marcus Kadinger turns disability into motivation

Every Wednesday for the past two years we have brought you stories of western Wisconsin athletes breaking records, winning championships, or overcoming adversity. This fall while on the sideline of a Glenwood City football game I noticed a player on the Hilltoppers secondary who had only one hand. As I covered the Hilltoppers on their journey to a second straight state title game, I watched in awe of Marcus Kadinger's effort and ability on the grid iron. Turns out Marcus isn't just a starter on the football team, meet one of the top scorers on Glenwood City's basketball team and our Gordy's Athlete of the Week, Marcus Kadinger.

"God blessed me with the physical tools, you know the height, the speed, I just had to come up with the work ethic and desire," says Kadinger.

When you watch Marcus Kadinger play, you get caught up in his intensity, his love of the game, his movement around the court but you can't help but notice he is playing at a disadvantage. Born with only one hand, Marcus has learned to play just like everybody else.

"It is something I kind of adapted to. Some days I don't even notice that I'm missing an arm or a limb, or anything. I've just been very blessed to have this athletic ability and this chance to play here at Glenwood," says Kadinger.

In Glenwood City, population 1200, everyone knows everyone. Marcus's teammates have been with him since pre-school and their admiration of this humble, young man is even more apparent when they talk about their sport.

"Marcus brings an incredible amount of hustle and heart to our team. He's the vocal leader on our team. He's always the guy to put his body on the line and play great defense at the end of the game or put his body out on the line to get a loose ball," says teammate Jake Hierlmeier

It shows a lot about his character and how hard he works at it. He does just as well as any kid with two hands does and he actually excels at basketball," adds teammate Todd Petersen.

Don't tell Marcus something is out of reach, he'll go get it. Marcus is already looking to play college basketball.

"I tend to look at my disability not as a disability but rather as a motivation, it makes me want to be better than all the other kids out there. I love working hard and I want to be the best," says Kadinger.

"He's a terrific athlete, he's an even better kid. Great in the classroom, but he's awesome. He's an unbelievable talent and he's just one of the guys as well," says coach Tristan Kittilson.

"It's really no different than any of my other players, it's really not and again, I just think that's just a testament to Marcus. You know he doesn't ask for any special treatment. And he never looks at it like a limitation, just it is what it is and has to work harder," Kittilson adds.

While Marcus says he is just doing what he loves, he is also setting an example.

"I hope I do inspire people because as cliche as it may sound, you really can do anything when you set your mind to it," says Kadinger.

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