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Emotional last day for flag football

July 23, 2010

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Indiana Kats player Des Scott looks on as Tennessee Thunder’s Kevin Evans runs down the field during the first game of the evening for Division 1 of the traditional flag football teams. Division 1 consisted of the Indiana Kats, Tennessee and Missouri, with each team playing each other once.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tennessee Thunder’s Kevin Evans and Indiana Kats’ Bradley Smith embrace after the Kats’ 9-8 victory in overtime.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Nebraska Red’s Kendrick Leubert (left) and Zach Taylor (right) try to tackle New Jersey’s Steven Rodenbeck during the second game of Division 2 play among the traditional teams. Nebraska Red won 22-14.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tennessee Thunder assistant coach Miles Duncan of Columbia, Tenn., scratches his head as the Thunder try to come back against Missouri in the second game of traditional Division 1 play. The Thunder lost 16-12.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Arizona’s Andrew Wiemers tries to avoid a tackle from Texas Rattlers’ James Hawkins (left) and John Malone (middle) during the first game of play for Division 1 of the unified teams. Arizona won 14-0.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Arkansas Hogs’ Tyrone Humphrey runs past Nebraska White’s Angelo McIntosh during the Hogs’ 12-6 victory in overtime. This was the first game of play for Division 2 of the traditional teams.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

TyAre Ross of the Nebraska White team tries to catch a ball against Arkansas.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Missouri’s Bernard Hill runs for a touchdown against the Indiana Kats in the Division 1 of traditional teams championship game. Missouri won 26-20, completing a 9-0 undefeated run at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

New Jersey and Nebraska Red players huddle between plays.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, Unversity of Nebraska-Lincoln

New Jersey and Nebraska Red players leap for the ball.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Indiana Bulletz and Texas Rattlers players chase after a ball in the second game of unified Division 1 play. Texas won 32-28.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Arizona tries to defend the Indiana Bulletz during the championship game of the unified Division 1. Arizona won 32-19.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Arkansas and Nebraska Red battle it out in the championship game of Division 2 of the traditional teams. Nebraska Red won 29-14.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

All 10 flag football teams pose after the medal ceremony. For traditional teams in Division 1, Missouri won gold, Indiant Kats silver and Tennessee bronze. For traditional teams in Division 2, Nebraska Red took home gold, Arkansas silver, New Jersey bronze and Nebraska White fourth-place ribbons. For unified teams in Division 1, Arizona won gold, Indiana Bulletz silver and Texas bronze.

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Photo by Emily Walkenhorst, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The Moody family poses for a picture following the medal ceremony. Brendon Moody, from the Nebraska Football Academy, volunteered all week and brought his sons along with him. They were often seen playing catch between games.



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Focus on the ball

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Jeffrey Regan of Team Virginia hits a ball back to Michael O’Connell of Texas at a match on July 22.
Photo: Sierra Frauen, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Friendships outweigh medals for Texas athletes

 

 

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Video: Caroline Kilday, Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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It’s not always about winning or losing

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Unified teams create strong bonds

July 22, 2010

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Members of the Texas Unified Volleyball Team are ready to hit the court on Thursday, July 22.

Story and Photo: Amanda Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Terri Eck is one of the biggest volleyball fan in the stands at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

Her husband, Bo, is the assistant coach. Her son, Adam, is the newest addition to the Texas Unified Volleyball Team. They’ve traveled from Allen, Texas to compete in the National Games.

To trace the many connections within the team is next to impossible.

Three of the partners are special education teachers.

There’s a father-son duo on the court.

Head coach, Sandra Boggs, is a former special education teacher.

Partner Tom Jaconet works with an athlete’s parent.

Not only is partner Lisa Grantham a special education teacher, she has taught all of the athletes in the classroom. She is also the head of delegation for Allen Special Olympics. Her son, Brantley, is also a partner.

The Unified Texas team is extraordinary. It is not just a group of athletes playing with a group of partners. These teammates mesh. They connect in a way on a court that makes you think they had been playing together since they were young.

This Unified team practices together every Wednesday throughout the year. And leading up to the national tournament, they practiced even more. They compete against other local teams in their hometown recreational league.

Adam Eck, the newest member of the team, is autistic.

In 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games, held in Ames, Iowa, Adam competed in the swimming competition. But volleyball is Adam’s latest adventure; he joined the team six months ago.

According to Terri Eck, unified play allows athletes to excel in many different levels in their lives. The experience strengthens their volleyball skills, confidence levels and personalities.

Terri was an X-ray technician, but she became inspired to become a special education teacher. She has also taught general education and now teaches English as a second language.

According to Eck the members of the Texas Unified Team have become like a family. They grow together. They change. To watch the athletes be successful on and off the court is nothing less than amazing.

Terri Eck says, “It’s not a disability. It’s a different ability.”

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Athlete Jared Williamson, #9, extends a high five to teammate Paul Landry, #10.

Photo: Amanda Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Brantley Grantham, #1, goes up for the hit while teammate Ryan Landry, #5, helps out.

Photo: Amanda Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Fans show support on their wheels

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Photo by: Micah Rhodes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

(Above) This decked-out van from Indiana leaves no room for doubt for its support of the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

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Photo by: Micah Rhodes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

A Texas vehicle reads: “Nebraska Bound!! Go Team Texas, SO Nationals”



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Volleyball match brings tough competition

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Team Maryland and Team Texas compete in the unified volleyball competition at the 2010 Special Olympics USA National Games.

Photo: Amanda Schutz, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Rhythmic gymnasts receive awards

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Officials awarded these medallions to the athletes after three days of hard work.

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Members of Team Alabama show off their new Ameritas gear and winning medals at the end of the awards ceremony. From left are Abby Long,Veronica Harwell, Erica Watts, Debbie Sullivan (coach) and Cheryl Hively

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Lincoln’s Cheer Express teams with athletes to display some winning spirit.

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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DeAsia Manley flashes a smile to the crowd after taking top honors in her Level 2 subdivision.

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Katie Shepherd and Jessica Clopp pose with their coach, Tracey Crouch, in the closing moments of the awards ceremony.

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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After two long days of competition, gymnasts Kelli Davis (Kentucky), Jessica Clopp and Sienna Cassien Blackwell (South Carolina) display their medals.

Photo: Marlenia Thornton, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Faces of flag football, Day 3

July 21, 2010

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Andrew Kline, 27, from Omaha, Neb., watches his team compete. Kline is a member of the Nebraska White team.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Kline cheers for his team from the sidelines.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Brennan Mickens, 20, from Kansas City, Mo., attends a Missouri flag football game. Mickens is a member of the Missouri bowling team who came to support another Missouri team.

Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Missouri fan Lina Hill cheers for the Missouri team. Hill is from Blue Springs, Mo., and is supporting her son, Bernard Hill.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Power lifter Nick Watterson (26) of Springfield, Mo., proudly displays his three gold medals. Watterson won his medals on Monday and is now finished with his events and plans to spend the rest of the week supporting other Missouri teams.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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David Svitak is a 27-year-old basketball player from Downers Grove, Ill. Svitak and some of his basketball teammates visited the flag football venue to see one of the other sports at the Special Olympics.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Brandi Vanvleke cheers for the Missouri flag football team. Vanvleke is from Kansas City, Mo., and has a sister participating in the bocce ball competition. But she wanted to watch her home state’s team play flag football on Wednesday.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Morgan Plant cheers for the Texas flag football team in between her scheduled soccer games. Plant is a 17-year-old soccer player from Houston, Texas.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Tori Jones (17) sits on the bench and watches her Tennessee flag football team. Jones is one of two girls participating in the sport of flag football at this year’s games.

Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Isla Brassil sits on the sidelines at the flag football games with her parents and two brothers. The family is not immediately linked to Special Olympics but wanted to be watch some of the competitions in their hometown of Lincoln, Neb.

Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Texas flag football player Mike Earnst watches his team from the bench. Earnst is 21 and is from Baytown, Texas.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Joe Volpert watches the Nebraska Red flag football team. Volpert, like many of the Nebraska Red players, is from Papillion-LaVista and commented on the opportunity he has had to watch many of the players grow up and now compete at the Special Olympics.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Michael Tom smiles big on the bench of his Arizona flag football team. Tom, 27, is from Chandler, Ariz.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Rhonda Stadter, from Blue Springs, Mo., shouts encouragement to the Missouri flag football team.
Photo by Asha Anchan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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Tennis tournament going strong at Abbott

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Justin McDowell, 35, of Wethersfield, Conn., gets help taping his racket from Don Richards, 51, of Houston Texas.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Haley Waggoner, 20, of Lincoln, Neb., gets ready to receive a serve during her match against Iowa.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Dale Armstrong of Sod, W.Va., prepares to ride off on his Harley after supporting his team.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Mark Mayse, 25, of Ottawa W.Va.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Nebraska player, Tina Maxwell, gets aide after overheating on the court.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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Tracy Long, 39, of Iowa City smiles after being splashed with water in an attempt to keep cool.
Photo: Chelsea Coli University of Nebraska-Lincoln



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