On Monday, March 12th, 24 members of our Bellcate community took the day off from their normal school day to participate in the 2018 Special Olympic Unified Bowling Championship Tournament hosted by Twin City lanes in Barre, Vermont. 16 student-athletes participated, 16 student- athletes walked out with some gold or silver bling bling dangling from their necks.
The team of Daniel, Keith, Marissa and Vic took to lane 22 in their division 4 match. With everyone bowling higher scores than their average, this Bulldog crew took home the silver medal. “Everyone on our team bowled above their averages,” noted Keith. “Daniel, Marissa and Vic were awesome.” He added.
Next in line was the team of Harrison, Isaiah, Callie and Kayla. Lead by strong first game finishes by Callie and Isaiah, and leadership by Kayla and Harrison, this Bulldog squad compiled enough pins to earn another silver medal for the maroon and gold. “The best part of the tourney was definitely the social aspect and seeing the kids support people they didn’t know. That was pretty special to see,” says Harrison.
Moving down to the left end of the bowling alley, we have the “best friends” squad of Shawn, Kade, Raven and Ashel. Kade, a seasoned veteran Special Olympic athlete (Aquatics and track standout) took the leadership role and showed his best buddy Shawn how competitions are handled. Shawn, having it be his first Special Olympic competition, had some pre-game jitters before the games had started. Shortly after it was his turn to go, Shawn grabbed his ball, took a deep breath, took his address, found his mark, took his steps and released the ball down the lane to the pins. Shawn, as he does after every shot turned right around, not even looking where his ball went. After he took a few steps, he heard the crowd roar in front of him. He turned around to look at the pins…. Not one of them was standing… STRIKE!!! Shawn bowled a career high of 94! Only needing 6 pins to enter triple digit scoring, Shawn fired two great shots, and ended with a score of 103! “I have been in the business of coaching and working with student-athletes for a lot of years, and I can honestly say that this was a coaching highlight moment for me.” says Bellcate Athletic Director, Jamie Moore. “Shawn’s performance was one for the ages, something I, personally, will never forget, and I hope he doesn’t either.” After two games of bowling, and strong finishes by Kade, Raven and Ashel, this Bulldog squad fended off a talented Rutland team to claim Gold for the Bulldogs!
Now for a last and final Bulldog team. This team was competing at the highest level in the state, Division 1. Lead down to the lane by their team coach, Deng, this team made it clear right from the get go what they had on their minds; State championship. “I had the guys doing some light calisthenics before we entered our lane, and I could see it in their eyes that they were ready.” commented Deng. “Kolbi, Matt and Marcus were super locked in. At one point, the only word Kolbi could say was “STRIKE. STRIKE STRIKE.” The one wild card I had on this team was the Springer kid, but winning and competitiveness runs in his family, just look at his dad, Jeff.” says Deng. After executing some tremendous shots, the Division 1 boys waited to find out their destiny while Joann of the Special O announced the winners. When it was all said and done, the smoke had settled, the team coached by Deng to include Matt, Marcus, Kolbi and Josh won the Bulldogs of Bellcate another Gold. They were crowned state champions! “I felt very proud of myself and my teammates that we were able to stick together through thick and thin to bring this state championship back to Bellcate” says Kolbi.
“I could not be happier with the performance of our student-athletes today. They blew my mind, as well as our coaches. They spent a lot of time on Friday’s at the bowling alley this winter, and I can’t thank our coaching staff enough for getting them to this point. Many thanks go out to the coaches Jac, Shane, Jess, Vincent, Bev, Chelsea, and Jeff.” reflects Moore.