By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury’s Special Olympics basketball team placed fourth in their division at the USA Games in Seattle July 1-6.
Virginia Davidson, parent of team member Colin Davidson, reflected on the trip.
“Seattle was a great experience,” she said. “They talk about the bad weather in Seattle but the weather gods looked out for us. It was an absolutely glorious week.”
Davidson also said that the opening ceremonies were phenomenal and that it was a great week of competition with a lot of athletes from Team Massachusetts. Events that Massachusetts athletes took part in included flag football, soccer, basketball, track, gymnastics and power lifting.
The team consists of 10 athletes and two coaches who traveled together as a delegation from Team SOMA (Special Olympics Massachusetts). Team members stayed in dorms and ate their meals together as this was a first for some of these athletes who hadn’t been away from their families before.
Davidson said that there weren’t any issues. The team has been together with their coaches for a very long time. There is a high level of familiarity and trust.
“It was a great experience and our team is just amazing. It’s just a whole lot of fun,” said Cheryl Engleheart, another team parent. “Massachusetts Special Olympics is awesome and they treat their athletes great. It’s a wonderful program.”
This was the Shrewsbury Basketball Team’s first time at Nationals although some of the athletes had gone before to participate in other events. Unfortunately, one of the team’s players suffered an injury and concussion in the very first game of the first day. However, the team rallied and persevered.
“We had a lot fun,” said Colin Davidson. “The competition in Seattle was very high-level and we finished fourth. It was a privilege to compete in the National Games.”
His teammate Joe Jamros agreed.
“We tried our best and we had a few injuries, but we didn’t give up until it was over,” he said.
The team is looking forward to the possibility of traveling to the World Games in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in March.
“This team is preparing themselves as athletes to continue on with their basketball skills and showing commitment that they will train hard,” Davidson noted. “And they will work on their health and their wellness through diet and physical training.”
For more information about Special Olympics Massachusetts, visit www.specialolympicsma.org.