Gracee Dwyer has a large support system.
Her family is a staple at University softball games. Her mother, Tami-Su Dwyer, does the official scorebook for U-Hi, while her father, Dan Dwyer, and her grandparents, Don and Becki O’Neal, also come to support Gracee at U-Hi games.
But of all her fans, the biggest may be her older brother, Trayton Dwyer, who has cerebral palsy. For Gracee, seeing Trayton at her games pushes her to a new level.
“We’re really close. We’ve always been really close,” Dwyer said. “He has goals for me that I want to achieve for him … he’s always here supporting me, and that’s always another boost.”
Trayton, a senior at U-Hi, is one of three triplets, including Cameron and Maxwell. Gracee is close with all three of her siblings, but her relationship with Trayton is special.
In addition to cerebral palsy, Trayton was born with a third-degree heart block and had a pacemaker installed at a young age. Due to his health concerns, doctors were unsure if he would be able to live past high school.
But Trayton has progressed rapidly and has succeeded in athletics, shattering the doctor’s expectations set for him. After two successful years playing wheelchair basketball with ParaSport Spokane, Trayton is moving onto Southwest Minnesota State – one of seven colleges that offer wheelchair basketball as a varsity sport – to continue his playing career.
Gracee’s support has been instrumental in Trayton’s success and physical development. Whether it was a routine doctor’s appointment or a critical surgery, Gracee was always there with him.
“She was with him every step of the way,” Tami-Su Dwyer said. “Those two are very close and their relationship is very special because of that.”
Gracee and the Titans are set to compete at the State 4A tournament this weekend after clinching a berth at the regional tournament at U-Hi on Saturday. In the regular season, she led the Greater Spokane League in home runs with nine, and belted three more in the Titans’ two regional games.
But she isn’t the only Dwyer sibling to compete at the state level this weekend. Trayton won’t be watching Gracee at Dwight Merkel Field for the state tourney … he will be competing at the State 4A track and field meet in Mt. Tahoma over the weekend. He will compete in three ambulatory events: the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and javelin.
While Gracee and the Titans are competing for a state title, knowing Trayton is doing the same is extra motivation for her.
“He always pushed me even farther,” Gracee said. “To see him succeed has given me more confidence in myself.”