It was a banner day with some smashing success for some area tennis players at the recent state event at the Delaware Special Olympics, held at the University of Delaware.
The Sussex Riptide team, featuring athletes from all across the county, took home medals in all of the sports that they participated in, including track-and-field, bocce, tennis, swimming, powerlifting and softball.
“All our athletes all medaled,” said Marie McIntosh, who serves as the Riptide’s tennis coach. “The match between Katya Bauers and R.J. Franco was phenomenal. It was truly the highlight of the whole weekend. They both won all their matches, to meet in the finals. They went to three sets, where R.J. won 10-8. It was great to see.”
The tennis team practices and trains locally throughout the year, at both Sea Colony and Bayside Tennis Club. All those hours certainly appeared to have paid dividends last week.
“We have so much help and support,” McIntosh continued. “With Sea Colony and Bayside, and all the volunteers — many of whom are tennis players helping to coach — are there just for us. Our focus now is to learn how to ‘play the game’ and not just to learn the skills of the game.”
In the skills competition, the Riptide saw some additional success.
Josh Timmons finished second in Division 1, while Timothy Magee and Jillian Calanna came in first and second, respectively, in Division 2. Donald Jefferson took second in Division 3, and Andres Koehler was third in the same division. Mariah Hartzell rounded out the medalists in the skills competition with a gold medal performance in Division 4.
In the Unified Doubles competition, Franco and his partner, Max Merwitz, were gold medalists in UD4-Division 1. Bauers and her partner, Marianne Owens, also were victorious gold-medal winners in the UD5-Division 2 bracket.
Powerlifting saw five Riptide entrants taking part in the three different competitions, of benchpress, deadlift and combination (bench/power). Collin Mullen swept three first places in his division, while Mark Kelly won first in the deadlift to go with second places in the other two. Jeremy Eglit, Jonathan Knauf and Robert Smith Jr. all took second places in their respective divisions.
Over at track-and-field, the Riptide had 20 athletes showcasing their talents across several different events.
William Michael Bowe (6), Shawn Beggs (5), and Deshawn Scye (5) were the highest gold-medal winners for the Riptide. Others winning first-place medals included Reed Bellinger (1), Dominic Beverley (2), Antonio Bowe (4), Allen Burke (2), Matthew Carroll (2), Stephen Douglass (1), Michael Hartzell (1), Sasha Hudson (2), Sally Lugasi (1), Hannah McNIece (3), Matthew Moti (3), Brendon Waller (2), Christopher Waller (1), and Connor Watson (1).
Those also participating and winning medals include Holli Wood, Cullen Oliver and Abigail Motti.
James Hall and Emanuel Hill were gold medalists in the 30’ Bocce Division 2 competition for the Riptide. They were joined by Kyle Morris and Simon Valenzuela (Division 7), and Terry Downing and Reggie Miller (Division 8) as the other gold medal-winning performers.
The Riptide also turned in a silver-winning effort in the Coach-Pitch Softball in Division 2. Players on the team include Tyler Tyndall, Colby Simpson, Andrea Hastings, Brian Arendall, Kim “K.C.” Carmine, Cailee Layton, Wayne Coffin, Austin Jewell and Jerome Watson. The team was coached by Andrew Peach, Taylor Swain, Tiffany Snyder and Bruce Arendall.
By Jason Feather