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Area holds annual Special Olympics Bowling tournament

Posted: January 17, 2018 - 1:19am
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Athlete Zion Suber gets help from teacher Vera Lytch during the Special Olympics bowling tournament in Augusta.
Athlete Zion Suber gets help from teacher Vera Lytch during the Special Olympics bowling tournament in Augusta.

Dozens of area high school special needs students tested their skills last week with some students advancing to compete at the state Special Olympics bowling tournament in Cobb County.

Students from Columbia, Burke, Washington and Richmond counties participated in the competition hosted by Special Olympics Georgia.

Columbia County Special Olympics coordinator Mimi Tom said the event assists students in bowling skills that are transferable to fun-filled family outings.

"We are not going to be here to always set it up for them," Tom said. "We are trying to get them to learn when they come with their family to bowling what they need to do. We want them to know how to get their shoes, how to type your name in, how to get the ball and how to step, bend and roll. We are teaching a variety of skills so that they know what to do when we are not there."

Eleventh-grade Lakeside High School student Julian Parker, won his second independent Area Nine Special Needs Olympics ribbon Thursday, and said he felt ecstatic after coming up huge in the tournament once more.

Twelfth-grade student of Evans High School Antonio Rodriguez won first place in the independent category.

"I feel great about winning this competition," Rodriguez said.

CeCe Clary, a Greenbrier High School twelfth-grader, also placed first in the independent category.

"I feel good about winning first place," Clary said. "I feel excited, like I want more first-place ribbons."

Clary, Rodriguez and Parker - among several other bowlers - advanced to compete in the State Indoor Special Olympics Winter Games in Cobb County over the weekend.

Lakeside High School moderate-care teacher Melissa Kean said the main purpose of the event is to get special needs students from around the local area in an effort to compete amongst each other.

"I like it because they are not just competing with kids in their class, but they are competing with kids from other schools," Kean said. "They do it based on their abilities, and it makes it really fun. The parents love to see their kids competing with other people that they don't know."

Kean said students are organized into groups in each lane-four students per lane. Students bowl two games and the total score of each group is recorded.

The different categories of competitors include independent, bumper, and ramp bowlers. In other words, bowlers are grouped based on how independent they are, allowing the most independent bowlers to compete in a traditional bowling lane, while those who are not as independent compete in lanes with bumpers or ramps.

The hundred or so competitors each receive a ribbon for competitiveness and resiliency in the more than two-decade-old annual competition.

Competitors of each county are hand selected from their respective physical education classes. Tom said bowlers are selected for the area bowling competition based on their desire to bowl, attitude and independence levels.

 

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