NOVI, Mich. (WJBK) - He may be small in stature, but 16-year-old Hunter Goodman has always had a mighty spirit. Competing on his high school's varsity ski team is a dream come true for the Novi High School sophomore, who's overcome many challenges.
"He is a fighter, full of energy and he fights," says his mother, Natasha Goodman.
When Hunter was born, doctors weren't sure if he was going to make it through the night.
"He has an undiagnosed genetic disorder," explains his dad, Matt Goodman. "So he has various physical anomalies that limit physical movement in different ways, and cognitively he processes things somewhat differently even though he can have a full conversation with you. And, so, every gain with him in life has been something wonderful."
Which makes this day that much more meaningful.
Hunter, who is a special needs student at Novi High School, is competing in his first varsity downhill race at Alpine Valley in White Lake.
"(I'm) nervous but I just wait and stare at the course and learn," he says. "And then finally go down and through it."
And Hunter won't be alone. It turns out his first high school race day is actually his brother's last.
"I'm very excited," Hunter says.
"He is pretty excited. I mean, his brother is a pretty good racer so he has been telling him, 'I'm going to beat you, I'm going to beat you,'" Matt says. "He has a challenge in front of him, but he's going to give it all he's got."
"I am just grateful to God and our family that he has this moment and he can share it with his brother," says Natasha.
Let the cheering begin. When Hunter pushed off to compete in the giant slalom race, you can see someone skiing by his side -- that's his big brother, Mitch.
"I think it is very impressive and I am really proud of him," Mitch says.
Mom and Dad say Hunter's racing is possible because of the support from the Novi school district. Hunter's coach, teachers and athletic director.
"We're fortunate we have large enough program and the resources so we can do these kinds of things for families," says Novi Athletic Director, Brian Gordon. "As you can see today, this is very exciting. The young man is going to have experience of his life and is something he will never forget."
Hunter is setting an example for other young people who may be facing similar challenges, showing you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
"Practice; work hard; more practice I guess," he says.