At the end of March, the Rockets captured the hearts of their fans by winning their second consecutive state basketball championship. One would think accomplishing such a feat would afford the team at least a little bit of time off. However, starting the very next week, almost all of the players sprung into action in a variety of spring sports.
Tuscarawas County Special Olympics currently offers four spring sports - bocce (unified and traditional), athletics (track & field), bowling (individual), and volleyball (unified). In addition to these four sports, the Rockets are looking to take a competitive cheerleading squad to Summer Games which is held at The Ohio State University on June 28-30. All seasons, aside from competitive cheerleading, have begun.
Twenty-eight of the Rockets competed at the Area 9 Bowling Tournament at Wabash Lanes in New Philadelphia on April 13. Alex Adkins led all bowlers with a scratch score of 329. Jon Wheeler was a close second with a scratch score of 320. They won gold and silver respectively for their efforts. Matthew Medley, who captured gold in his division recorded a scratch score of 311. The overall results for the Rockets from the tournament include:
Gold - Adkins, Medley, Kaylee Arthurs, Jehred Bennett, Karin Miller, and Lonnie Thornton
Silver - Seth Oberholzer, Allison Roth, Ginger Stalcup, Nathanial Wells, and Wheeler
Bronze - Diana DeMonte, Stacey Shroyer, Scott Steitz, and Robbie Stillwell
Fourth - Conner DiGenova, Miranda Milburn, Robert Miller, and Kylie Randulic
Fifth - Alec Bassett, Chuck Heavilin, Shane Johnson, Chelsea Lefler, Larry Smitley, and Sammy Thornton
Sixth - Jacob Amore, Jennifer McMasters, and Rebekah Rothel
Fast forward to April 20th, and the Rockets volleyball team travelled to Mahoning County (near Youngstown) to compete in their first game in recent years. The Rockets won in three with scores of 25-15, 10-25, and 27-25 (both teams agreed to play to 25 for the third match to provide additional playing opportunity). The Rockets began to offer volleyball in 2017, but up until this year had offered it only as a recreational sport. Athlete-leader, Rachael Russell, served as team captain and said that she was proud of the amount of effort and teamwork she saw on the court. The Rockets volleyball team will be back in action this Saturday, April 27, as they compete in the Special Olympics Ohio Northeast Regional Qualified to be held at Oberlin College. Team members include Alex Adkins, Jacob Amore, Conner DiGenova, Dana DiGenova, Brittany Dillon, Rylee Dillon, Craig Gordon, Allison Halsey, Steve Hazelip, Deric Johnson, Chelsea Lefler, Angelica Mendoza, Miranda Milburn, Robert Miller, Scott Minor, Rachel Paden, Russell, Janel Travis, and Logan Wise. They have been practicing at Memorial Hall in Dover, Ohio, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The bocce and athletic teams will once again be competing in the Area 9 Track and Bocce Meet. The event will be held on May 4 at Harding Stadium in Steubenville. There are currently 24 athletes competing in bocce and 16 competing in athletics. Many are looking to defend Area 9 and state titles they earned in 2018.
Local Coordinator, Richelle Lefler, shares, "We are so excited to add volleyball to our slate of competitive sports this year. The athletes have been preparing for this opportunity for over 2 years. Our first game on April 20 just affirmed that our coaches and athletes have been making progress and growing. Of course, we continue to be proud of the efforts of all of our athletes in all sports. It’s an exciting time to involved in Special Olympics and to be a Rocket."
Any questions can be directed to Lefler at (330)308-7173 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.