This summer has been a busy time of the year for the Tuscarawas County Rockets.
Thirty athletes and 16 coaches or volunteers took part June 22-24 in Ohio’s Special Olympics Summer Games at The Ohio State University in Columbus. They competed in the sports of bocce (traditional and unified), bowling and athletics (track and field).
Shane York will travel to Seattle, Wash., on June 28 through July 6 to represent the Rockets and Team Ohio at the Special Olympics USA Games. He will compete in the sport of bocce.
Sue Kloc of New Philadelphia will serve as assistant coach for Shane’s bocce team.
Athletes have been preparing for the higher level competition since March. They have been practicing one or two times per week in preparation.
Practice sites have included Kelly Field (Indian Valley Schools), Starlight School, Wabash Lanes and Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium (New Philadelphia City Schools).
Coaches Heather Menefee (bowling), Ashley Metzcar (athletics) and Shar Miller (bocce) all agree that these practice sites and the owners/athletic directors are vital to the success of the Rockets.
Shane is the sole athlete participating in USA Games from Area 9 — Ohio is divided into 16 geographical areas with Area 9 covering nine counties.). He is the first local athlete since 2000 to be selected for USA or World Games.
Shane shares that he is excited and plans on winning gold at the prestigious event. Traveling to support him will be Metzcar, Miller, Chelsea Lefler and Richelle Lefler.
"Shane is one of the best bocce players we have," said Miller. "I know he’s going to go to USA Games and represent the Rockets and Ohio with all of his heart. We are so proud of him."
Rockets qualifying for the Ohio Summer Games include:
• Bocce — Easton Dillon, Patrick Dillon, Chelsea Lefler, Eric Lingo, Angelica Mendoza, Rusty Parsons, Ginger Stalcup and Sammy Thornton.
• Bowling — Alex Adkins, Abby Cool, Diana DeMonte, Wendy Garver, Miranda Milburn, Karin Miller, Lonnie Thornton and Nathanial Wells.
• Athletics — Kaylee Arthurs, Jehred Bennett, Conner DiGenova, Kristina Chambers, Craig Gordon, Steve Hazelip, Shane Johnson, Samantha Mastroine, Matthew Medley, Keilan Patterson, Rachel Russell, Dalton Sprowl, Logan Wise and Kershel Zehnder.
"I’m ready," said Easton Dillon. "I am glad I get to do this with my dad."
Alex Adkins, who led all Area 9 bowlers at the qualifying tournament in April shared, "I’m excited. I love bowling. I can’t wait to be with my Rockets family at state."
Craig Gordon added, "I am going to work hard. Don’t quit. Focus."
An athlete and leaders led rally for the Rockets took place on June 20 at Memorial Hall in Dover. The New Philadelphia Police Department escorted the buses out of town on June 22 after leaving Starlight School at 8 a.m.