A tradition of excellence
The Madison Press - 6/29/2018
COLUMBUS — Tradition.
As Tevye and his family taught us in the classic theatrical production “Fiddler on the Roof,” tradition is very important as an identifying characteristic.
When representatives from Madison County ascended upon the annual Ohio Special Olympics State Games held his past weekend on the campus of The Ohio State University, many traditions were upheld.
First of all, the group as an entirety did quite well — as they came home with a collective earning of 57 medals and 10 ribbons. Madison County Tigers Special Olympics is affiliated with Madison CountyBoard of Developmental Disabilities.
Secondly, the Tigers’ Traditional Volleyball Team — comprised solely of Special Olympics athletes — captured the gold medal. Members of the first-place squad included Mike Elfrink, Mike Ellis, Nick Kidd, Mike Long, Courtney Salters, Bryan Thompson and John Zeeck. They were coached by Lincoln Comer and Danielle Salters.
The Unified Volleyball Team — comprised of athletes and partners — earned a silver medal. Those members included Nick Brown, Cora Burks, Jayda Cunningham, Jacey Hamilton, Waymond Harris, John Horace, Samahra Horace, Marley Long, Chelsey Williams and Chris Zeeck.
Additionally, Madison County’s Elfrink, Comer, Chris Zeeck and John Zeeck were selected to be a part of the Team Ohio Unified Volleyball Team that will compete in the coming days in Seattle, Wash. as part of the National Special Olympics Games.
The only double-gold winner for the weekend was powerlifter Bobby Higgins who placed first in both the deadlift and combination.
In total, the Tigers athletes earned 67 awards — 18 of which were gold medals.
Also gathering gold medals in individual events were Hayden Thomas (softball throw), Conner Warnock (running long jump), Titus Smith (50-meter run), Marlyn Zeeck (100m walk), Shawn Engle (100m walk), Logan Green (softball throw), Keith Farris (softball throw), Virginia Smalley (bowling) and Shaundra Sayre (combination powerlifting). The majority of the track and field events took place in OSU’s Jesse Owens Stadium, while other campus venues were used as well.
Earning silver medals were Thomas (50m run), John Knapp (100m run, 1,500m run), Warnock (1,500m run), Smith (running long jump), Marlyn Zeeck (softball throw), Nick Dummitt (shot put), Laura Cotton (100m walk), Rebecca Bell (25m walk), Chad Burks (running long jump), Sayre (deadlift) and Higgins (bench press). Also finishing second was the bocce duo of Jeff Horn and Mike Williams.
A bocce team also headlined the bronze medal winners as the duet of Debbilyn Ewald and Brian Goff placed third. Other third-place finishers included Dominique Gonzalez (softball throw, 100m walk), Cotton (softball throw), Engle (shot put), Chad Burks (100m run), Green (100m run), Brian Farris (softball throw), Keith Farris (100m walk), and Sayre (bench press). Also grabbing bronze were a trio of bowlers — Charlie Gildow, Jeff McCarty and Kelly Kirts.
The Tigers earned a number of fourth through sixth-place ribbons as well. Earning the ribbons were Dummitt (100m run), Bell (softball throw), Brian Farris (100m walk), Sam Elliott (100m walk, softball throw), and powerlifter Jacob Kuhn (bench press, deadlift, and combination) as did the bocce duo of Lupita Arriaga and Isaiah Mullet.
In addition to Comer and Salters, the coaches and volunteers for Madison County were Caternia Pierce, Wesley Pierce, Stan Oliver, Butch Scott, Cathy Goff, Angela Thomas, Judy Coy, Jason Shingler, Bobbi McCarty, Harold Stockman, Roberta Kirts and Linda Gildow.
The Tigers were just part of close to 2,700 athletes from Ohio who participated in the Special Olympics State Games.
If you are interested in learning more about Special Olympics or volunteering, contact MCBDD Director of Special Olympics and Community Recreation Lincoln Comer at 740-852-7052, ext. 1917.