Joy and disbelief washed over the players and parents of the Overland High School Special Olympics Basketball team, when they learned the team has been selected to play in the 2014 National Special Olympics Games in Princeton, NJ.
“I’m excited!” said sophomore Irvin Sanchez.
“I’m glad we’re going to nationals!” said junior Christon Watkins, who was named 2013 MVP of the Overland Unified Basketball team, which is where the journey to the national games began.
The OHS Unified Basketball team, which is made up of students with special needs and mainstream students, took first place in its state championships division. All state championship teams could then submit an application for a lottery to select a team, made up of Special Education students only, to represent Colorado at the 2014 National Special Olympics Games. Overland won the lottery and will join a volleyball team, a flag football team and a softball team from Colorado at the national games in June 2014.
“I’m very proud of the team and very excited to represent Colorado,” said volunteer coach Brandon Salisbury. He and fellow volunteer coach Mark Houston are both 2006 graduates of Overland and now work for Cherry Creek Schools.
The members of the OHS team who will be competing in the 2014 National Special Olympics Games are Elijah Hall, Dawet Kassa, Justin Lang, Elijah Lewis, Christian Ordenez, Irvin Sanchez and Christon Watkins.
The OHS team will participate in fundraising and Special Olympics Colorado will contribute to their trip.
“You’ll meet and be playing against teams from other states. It’s a lot of fun,” said Jenny Chase, with Special Olympics Colorado.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for these kids,” said Heather Forth, an ILC teacher and the Unified Sports coordinator at Overland.
Posted May 1, 2013.