Kent Island High School played home court for a Special Olympics Basketball Qualifier, hosted by Special Olympics – Upper Shore. Over 400 Special Olympic athletes, coaches and volunteers from Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline, Kent, Cecil, Calvert, Carroll, Anne Arundel, Montgomery and the Lower Shore counties participated in the day-long event. The qualifier is one of two required for participation in the Special Olympics Maryland State Tournament to be held on March 20 and 21 in Capitol Heights, MD.
In the main gym, two games featuring 5 on 5 competitions were underway most of the time, while volunteers from KIHS acted as scorers and timers. The Individual Skills Competition was held in the auxiliary gym, testing the skills of athletes in target passing, speed dribbling, and spot shooting. Athletes are grouped by ability and awards are given for all places in each division.
As the only preliminary qualifier on the Eastern Shore, Area Director Lauren Roane stated, “It was a fantastic opportunity for local families and friends of Special Olympics to get a close-up personal look at what our athletes are capable of.”
Special Olympics extended a special thank you to Major Pete Landon, Maryland State Police, Sheriff Gary Hofmann and Sgt E. Johnston, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Department, who took time out of their busy schedules to present awards to all of the athletes. Thank you also to sponsors Rustico Restaurant in Stevensville and the Safeway in Chester for providing lunches and making sure all delegations were well hydrated. Special Olympics provides year-round sports training for persons 8 years old and older with intellectual disabilities, giving them opportunities to develop physical fitness, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, and skills.