The 2015 State Summer Games were on June 26-28 at The Ohio State University, Columbus. Licking County Special Olympics (LCSO) was one of the 88 counties represented there with close to 3000 athletes participating. LCSO had 48 athletes registered to compete, with 45 that attended. Friday, June 26th was the Opening Ceremonies, and thanks to donors, the athletes were able to ride in style on the FUN BUS over to the Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to participate in the Opening Ceremonies parade. The pouring rain did not dampen the spirit of the event, enthusiasm was high!
Throughout the weekend, the LCSO athletes led by Coordinator Carrie Wysocki, competed in various events of track and field, powerlifting and bowling.
Individual bowling practices began in February at Valley Lanes in Newark, Ohio but had to move to Park Lanes after the Valley Lanes closing. Coach Darby Riley worked with the athletes two Sundays per month, and 55 bowlers were registered with LCSO. The state games provided a quota to LCSO of 25 bowlers that could attend the summer event. 44 bowlers qualified at tournaments in March and April, so the coaches were left to draw names of the 25 that could attend. 23 bowlers made it to state, sadly one of our bowlers, Jeremy Spangler, could not compete due to the sudden loss of his brother. Bowler Tonya Dillon, friend to Jeremy, earned a Gold medal, and planned to give her medal to Jeremy in honor of his loss. Our other bowlers brought home six golds, eight silvers, five bronze medals and four 4th place ribbons. Team bowling will begin in September.
The LCSO track team did an outstanding job setting and reaching their goals! Coach Josh Crabtree began each practice with a lot of squats and those paid off for the runners. The track team meets at Evans Athletic Complex on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting in March through June. 15 athletes competed in the State Summer Games and they can compete in two events. We had athletes registered in 100m dash, 50m dash, 50m assisted walk, 50m wheelchair slalom, softball throw, and mini javelin throw. Kenny Fry Jr. for a second year in row took GOLD in the Pentathlon, a 5 event competition. Donald Boyd set a goal of running a 50m dash in under 13 seconds, and he ran it in 11.8 and took the gold! Overall medals earned by our state competitors were 8 golds, 8 silver, 3 bronze, five 4th place ribbons and one 5th place ribbon.
Our seven member powerlifting team led by head coaches John Wysocki and Chris Campbell took home 16 medals in the summer games and set one state record for female lifters. That record was a 285lb deadlift by Ms. Ali Riddick. We also had a 17 year old competitor, Garrett Ford who took the overall Gold in his weight class with a 285lb deadlift, which is also pending verification of a state record for his age. This was our first year training these athletes in powerlifting so the number of lifters and their dominance in their respective weight classes at the event was surprising to even the organizers and moderators. We began to train these athletes 9 months ago on Saturdays at CrossFit Newark and have met and trained most every Saturday to prepare them for the regional event at Denison University in May and the recent state competition. Coaches Tom Pellett, Sara Marrero, Mat Dunham and Krysta Campbell were all present at the state events to support our athletes.
One of our athletes, Nick Bartoe, primarily has the use of only one hand yet still was able to qualify and medal at the state games in both events. We are very proud of all of the heart and determination displayed by our powerlifters and are hoping to grow the team in this off season and be able to have a team of 10 to compete in next years Special Olympics.
The training program will restart on September 12th at 11am at CrossFit Newark 600-B Industrial Parkway in Heath. Those interested athletes age 16 and over who qualify for services with the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities should contact Head Coach Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Article Submitted by Licking County Special Olympics