Round Rock High School student Riley Blatz has been named Special Olympics Texas Male Athlete of the Year.
Blatz was recognized for the honor during the 2015 SOTX Fall Classic competition in College Station last month. Special Olympics Texas announced its statewide Athletes and Coach of the Year for 2015 and Blatz was among the five recipients for these awards, earning Male Athlete of the Year for the 15-21 age range.
“Riley is one of our outstanding athletes who represent our program with such class,” said Jan Sartain, head of delegation for the Round Rock ISD Roadrunners. “He always demonstrates the enthusiasm, desire and excitement to be a better athlete through his work ethic and determination. He loves sports, loves competing and is a great team leader.”
Blatz first joined SOTX in 2009 while he was in middle school. He has since trained and competed every year in three sports since joining the Round Rock ISD Roadrunners. Blatz has been a multi-sport athlete, competing in aquatics, basketball and track since 2009. He has competed at the area and chapter level competitions in aquatics and athletics for four years.
A year after earning his Round Rock High School letterman’s jacket, Blatz represented Team Texas in Track & Field at the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey. Later that summer, he trained to become a Global Messenger, and he has since presented several times on behalf of Special Olympics Texas and Round Rock ISD.
Blatz excels most prominently in swimming, which has enabled him to be a part of the Lone Star Aquatics team and the Round Rock swim team. His competitive drive has enabled him to excel in track and field, Sartain said.
“He enjoys running longer distances — 800 meters and 1500 meters— in part because of the personal challenge that comes with running those distances,” Sartain said. “Many athletes are averse to the physical challenges of races such as these; Riley thrives on the challenge.”