Local Special Olympics groups compete in State event

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Recently several local groups took part in the Washington State Special Olympics, held in Wenatchee, March 3-4.
The Marysville Cowboys basketball team competed and finished third in their division. Players include Mike Fletcher, Mark Hall, Roland Kirby, Don Grube, John Hendrickson, Kathy Whitaker, Ronn Mann and Jerry Vanney.
The team is coached by Don Vanney. Don has been involved with Special Olympics since the age of sixteen. His resume includes participation at the State level in each of the last 10 years.
Over 50 athletes turned out for the Marysville team this year, each is divided into a group according to age and ability.
Vanney felt good about the teams result from this years state olympiad.
A lot of my players turn out for the competition, but the key is to have fun and enjoy the event. Were always trying to qualify for nationals, but I want them to have a good time.
Over 1,500 athletes from around the State competed this year.
Lake Stevens also brought a team to the event. Coach Alan Schultz has been working with the Lake Stevens Thuderbolts for 13 years. He credits Lake Stevens Special Olympics coordinator Patty Studdard with making all the events possible.
Patty has been working with the disabled and special needs athletes for a long time. Shes the driving force behind many of the activities.
The event focused on much more than just athletics. During the games, a dance and banquet was held for the athletes. The Wenatchee Convention Center opened its doors for a feast, complete with television coverage from Fox Sports Northwest.
Schultz Lake Stevens team placed third in their skill level category this year. Team members include Lance Kleisath, Nathaniel Jefforson, Willie Marshall , Jessy Hoerath Kyla Anderson, Josie Griffis, and Shanell Head.

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