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Special Olympians Compete in Local Games at Mesa Community College

May 6, 2009 11:12 PM

35th Annual Special Olympics Arizona
Mesa Community College - Mesa, Ariz.
May 2, 2009

Brenda Vas hits a backhand during the Skills/Drills competition at the Special Olympics Arizona Tennis Event.

Almost 75 Arizona athletes competed recently at a Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games tennis event held at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, May 2. Competitors from across the state, including teams from Casa Grande, Tucson, Yuma, Lake Havasu, Florence, Mesa and Flagstaff all took part in the event, which USTA Southwest helped out with.

Athletes competed in various skills drills in the morning, then moved on to tournament play in singles and unified doubles draws as the day wore on. A competitive
QuickStart Tennis draw was also included in the 2009 Summer Games, a first for the competition.

Local Mesa Community College and Paradise Valley Community College tennis team members, a corps of Special Olympics volunteers, and five USTA Southwest staff members (Jessica Adams, Darlene Demory, Bill Lucero, Michelle Moyer and Jeff Sikes) helped feed and shag balls for participants, which ranged in ages from teenage children to older adults. A terrific time was had by all the competitors and volunteers.

Jose Ramirez of the Flagstaff Hawks team tosses up this serve during the QuickStart Singles event.
"I had a great day, and it was so much fun playing," said competitor Alisha Herbert, of Mesa, who participated in the singles draw. "I played last year and will compete every year."

A $500 USTA Southwest grant was given to Special Olympics Arizona for equipment and to help stage the event, which is Arizona's largest competitive event for adaptive tennis. Tennis is one of 22 sports that Special Olympics Arizona puts on each year.

"This year’s Summer Games Tennis event was spectacular," said Tennis Games Management Director, Stephanie LaCroix. "We were excited to add the Quickstart Tennis program to the schedule, and it proved to be a huge success. There was a real buzz around the courts this year, and the athletes and coaches loved the new venue (in Mesa).”

The first Special Olympics Arizona competition was held in 1975 and consisted of a one-day track and field event with 100 athletes and 20 volunteers. Today, Special Olympics Arizona offers a complete range of sports, 170 programs in 15 regional areas, and five statewide competitions for 9,100 athletes and, 1,300 Class A volunteers and 5,000 day-of-event volunteers on an annual basis. 

For more information on Special Olympics or to volunteer, please visit www.specialolympicsarizona.org or call 1-800-289-I WIN (4946).  

2009 Special Olympics Competitors - TENNIS

Singles Division 1: James Butler, Roger Roe, Ian Anderson, Justin Newman
Singles Division 2 Preston Hite, Ken Kundert, Kevin Shauf, Billy Staples
Singles Division 3: Christie Stern, Christina Whitehead
Singles Division 4: Charles Schwartz,. Garrett Ryzek, William Clark, Ian Barefoot,
Singles Division 5: Edward Knipe, Michael Carton, Tim Prettyman
Singles Division 6: Adam Snodgrass, Roger Rodriguez, Orlando Matias
Singles Divison 7: Kristen Matthews, Michelle Wagner

QuickStart Division 1: Trevor Mounts, Jacob Zink, Jose Ramirez, Carlen Sanchez.
OuickStart Division 2: Laura Sussman, Stephanie Kmiec, Lois Purvance
OuickStart Division 3: Bobbi Jean Schneider, Rudy Pesqueira, Danny Romero
OuickStart Division 4: Karen Laughlin, Joseph Bustamante, David Fitzhugh
QuickStart Divison 5: Lauren Berry, Glen Perry, Vicki Brown, Meg Hudman
QuickStart Division 6: Alisha Herbert, Chad Gonzales, Michelle Hornung

Doubles Divison: Paulette Prettyman, Lisa Kelley
Unified Team Doubles: Rifer Rodriguez (athlete), Ann Sadenwater (unified partner)

Skills/Drills Participants
Division 1: Charles Bellis, Allan Easton, Gary Reubens, Jared Pinegar, Shawn Riess, Matthew Wall
Division 2: Matthew Carlin, Alejandro Garcia, Alfred Rinaldo, David Gill, Jared Mahoff, Matthew Sprunt
Division 3: Chase Clark, Zachary Cook, Christopher Healy
Division 4: Brenda Vas, Janet Billington, Sandra Jerman, Diane Lewis, Janelle Rivers
Division 5: Amanda Dishroon, Joyce Kersten, Brenda Morrow, Cindy Rosell, Cali Watson.
Division 6: Ellen Tanger, Kateresa Chadbourn, Megan Froehling

Mesa Community College and Paradise Valley Community College team members alongside volunteers and a couple of Special Olympics competitors.