Friday, 31 May 2019 15:18

Richmond County Special Olympics convoy on the way to Raleigh

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Richmond County Special Olympics Coordinator Theressa Smith organizes her athletes Friday before they load up to compete at the state games in Raleigh. Richmond County Special Olympics Coordinator Theressa Smith organizes her athletes Friday before they load up to compete at the state games in Raleigh. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — “They’re all in a car!” Special Olympics Coordinator Theressa Smith said Friday afternoon just before she, a group of athletes and coaches pulled out of the Richmond County Department of Social Services parking lot to head to Raleigh for the state games.

Smith said that 11 of them will be competing in bowling and 10 competing in athletics, the latter of which includes running, jumping and the softball toss.

The group met at 1 p.m. to load up their luggage and the athletes seemed excited to compete at the next level.

The athletes range in age, with Malik Covington being the youngest and Dawn Grooms being the oldest. 

Grooms and Daniel Skipper are no strangers to the state games. Both said this will be about their fifth time competing.

Skipper won fifth place in bowling last year.

“That’s my favorite, ultimate favorite,” he said. “I’m looking to doing good, getting first place.”

But, he added, it’s all about having fun and making new friends.

Grooms won two gold medals for bocce ball, singles and doubles, at last year’s national games.

Kevan Farris, on the other hand, is going for his first time.

“We have a good number new ones who have not had the opportunity to go before,” Smith said.

Other athletes competing are: Nick Glaze, Caleb Moore, Caleb Blake, Keith Wall, Kevin Wall, Justyce Stevenson, Thomas Berry, Thomas Carlisle, Shawn Richardson, Dallas Jeter, Jon Frye, Tim Corcoran, Josh Dazey, D'Nautica Everett, Ronae Durham, Gabriel Streeter and Elizabeth Horner.

They are accompanied by coaches Barbara Heaton, Stephanie Upton, Ryan Upton, Judy Roscoe, Lori Richardson and Christena Powell.

Smith said they were able to find sponsors for all but two of the athletes to help finance the trip.

One vehicle left earlier in the day and another was set to follow later.

After checking into their dorms, the athletes will attend opening ceremonies and begin competing on Saturday, with the games continuing to Sunday.

Smith is optimistic about the outcome of the state games.

“They’re going to do their very best, that’s the important thing,” she said. “They’re going to have a great time. We’ll bring medals back, whatever they are. They’re going to do a great job.”