On March 4-8, eight Tuscarawas County bowlers traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete in the Special Olympics National Unified Bowling Tournament. Each bowler participated in team and doubles competition. Athletes from all over the United States, including Michigan, Texas, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, and many other states participated in the event.
For their efforts, the Rockets received many medals and ribbons. Individual performances include:
• Alex Adkins - 2 silver medals (Team and Doubles Competition)
• Michael Johnson - 2 bronze medals (Team and Doubles Competition)
• Angelica Mendoza - 2 silver medals (Team and Doubles Competition)
• Russ Shiar - 1 bronze medal (Team Competition) and 1-6th place ribbon (Doubles Competition)
• Nathanial Wells - 1 bronze medal (Team Competition) and 1-6th place ribbon (Doubles Competition)
• Jon Wheeler - 2 bronze medals (Team and Doubles Competition)
• Kershel Zehnder - 1 silver medal (Team Competition) and 1-4th place ribbon (Doubles Competition)
• Kory Zehnder - 1 silver medal (Team Competition) and 1-4th place ribbon (Doubles Competition)
While in Las Vegas, the bowlers were also able to participate in a clinic hosted by USBC (United States Bowling Congress). They were also able to visit various landmarks and sites.
For Wheeler, it was his first time on an airplane. When asked about his trip, Adkins shared, "It was unreal. It was the time of my life." Kelly Wells, who attended in support of her son Nathanial and the other Rockets, shared, "The bonding that took place was just incredible."
Wabash Lanes served as the practice site for the bowlers throughout the year and for the national tournament. Sponsors for the trip included The Rainbow Connection, The Ruth Carlson - Starlight Foundation, Signs and Graphics by Coney, The Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Tuscarawas County Special Olympics, and The VFW Post 1445.
Heather Menefee serves as head coach for the Rockets Bowlers and said she was very proud of their efforts in Las Vegas.
The Rockets will begin another spring bowling season on April 7. For more information about Special Olympics or bowling with the Rockets, contact the local coordinator, Richelle Lefler, by calling 330-308-7173 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.