Athletes gain new skills and confidence at the Pacific Regional Trials thanks to coaches who care
By Whitney Delbridge Nichels, Warrior Care and Transition

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI. - Not every athlete is cut out to be a coach, and not every coach can cut it as an athlete.

But for Pacific Regional Trials Field and Powerlifting coach Adriane Wilson, they both come as naturally as launching a discus into the air.

"It's been a nice transition for me," Wilson said. "I'm taking what I've learned as an athlete, and I'm able to teach it and pass it on and hopefully they'll discover their passion for it as well."

After working as a professional shot putter for more than a decade, competing in three Olympic Trials and traveling to world with the Scottish Highland Games, Wilson says she was introduced to the Army's adaptive sports program by another throwing coach. The rest is history.

"From then on I wanted to do every single camp, every Games, every opportunity to work with these athletes," Wilson said.

She's done just that, coaching at three Warrior Games and two Invictus Games, including the event that recently wrapped up in Sydney, Australia.

"I felt so fortunate to have that experience to work with those athletes. It was incredible to see how far across the world our Soldiers are having an impact and their needs are being met," Wilson said.

For her, teaching wounded warrior athletes the right form is key.

"A lot of the athletes I meet are brand new to throwing. So I try to strip it down to the fundamentals because it's a way different sport than anything they've ever done before."

Such was the case for two Regional Trials standouts, Spc. Taylor Ingle and Spc. Nakita Bowen.

"I was not an athlete before this," said Ingle, who represents the Schofield Barracks Warrior Transition Battalion. "I'd been lifting a bit on my own just to stay in shape and be ready for the PT test."

But Ingle's lack of prior experience would be a shock to those who saw her medal in multiple sports, including powerlifting, swimming and rowing.

"This has humbled me and I feel like I'm part of something so much bigger," Ingle said. "I don't feel broken. I feel strong and capable and this has given me a lot more confidence."

Those are the same sentiments echoed by Bowen, who says her time working with Adriane and the other coaches helped her step up her game, ultimately leading to a number of medals in a variety of sports including powerlifting and track and field.

"I was more than happy to shed the knowledge I thought I had and adapt to what they brought to the game. Because they definitely know what they are talking about and I saw a huge improvement in my skills," said Bowen, who represents the Fort Drum WTB.

For many of the more than 100 athletes that came from all over the country to participate in the 2018 Pacific Regional Trials, there's a great sense of pride that comes from exceling in adaptive sports while overcoming injury and illness.

"I want to be a Soldier athlete as long as I can. I have my sights on Warrior Games and Invictus [Games]. From now on, it's all about training, eating right, sleeping right. There's always opportunity to become better, so that's my focus," Bowen said.

That kind of spirit is what keeps Coach Adriane Wilson coming back.

"It's all about getting them to a better level of recovery and helping them find something else that they're good at. I'm fueled by that passion for competition every single day," Wilson said.