February 03, 2017 | Updated: January 29, 2019

Houston's Hillary Kern is one of more than 2,400 athletes who have made their way to Austin for Winter Games. Like most who will be competing this weekend, she is looking forward to seeing her friends and socializing with others. Not only will Hillary be aiming for a gold medal on the volleyball court with her teammates, she'll also be officiating other matches! 

Considering how involved she is in the sport, it's not her favorite. Hillary is passionate about Tennis. She practices once a week and she recognizes that her mom, who is a certified SOTX Tennis coach has helped her quite a bit. Pro tennis player Maria Sharapova has also inspired Hillary.

"She goes out of her way to show other women that it's cool to play tennis if you like to do it," Hillary said. 

USA Games are coming up in 2018 and Hillary is hoping to that she will get an opportunity to go to Seattle to compete on a national level.

Through her 14-year involvement with SOTX, the 26-year old has won a lot of medals. Not only has she captured hardware at Area and Chapter-level competitions, but at National Games and World Games in bocce and tennis.

Outside of participating with SOTX, Hillary sponsors her local police department. Her and four of her friends, all with special needs, wrote a children's book about "Smash", who is a deaf Houston patrol horse.

Hillary sees the horse two-three times a month. She last saw him earlier this week in downtown Houston, where Smash is patrolling during Super Bowl festivities happening between now and Sunday. 

Hilary also enjoys doing arts and crafts, making jewelry and working at the Brookwood Community, where she paints and works in the cafe.

As she takes to the volleyball court this weekend, she wanted to give her fellow athletes some advice: 

"Try hard. Try your best. If you have trouble, go ask for help."