Olympians participate in state tourney

WELLSBURG – Brooke County Special Olympics athletes competed in the West Virginia Special Olympics 2014 Basketball and Cheering Tournament held March 14-16 at West Virginia University.

It proved to be a challenging day for the athletes, with a team comprised of Mike Staats, Ronnie Miller, A.J. Smith and Danny Adams winning one in the three-game tourney and losing one by only one point in overtime.

Brooke’s second basketball team, comprised of Heather Ambrose, B.J. Griffin, Mark Pollock, Matthew Elcesser, Jimmy Hunter and Marie Kosut, lost their three games despite their best efforts.

Brooke County wasn’t able to enter a team in the cheering competition because a squad of five is required. But cheerleaders Kay Ferrari and Lesly Schwertfeger were able to offer moral support, cheering for the teams from the sidelines.

There were some bright moments during the individual skills competitions, with Andrew Rager earning a gold medal, Priscilla Dugan garnering a bronze medal and Edward Kosut receiving a fourth place ribbon.

The athletes received the support of the Brooke High School Special Olympics Support Club, which packed snack bags for them. Brianna Vanderpool, a member of the club, accompanied the athletes and helped whenever needed, said Special Olympics leaders.

Brooke County Special Olympics coaches are Sara and Cathy Furioli, Jenna and Abigail Sperringer and Judy Ambrose.