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York’s Special Olympics Basketball team finishes their best season yet.

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The team ends the game linking arm and arm in a supportive group huddle.

The team ends the game linking arm and arm in a supportive group huddle.

Photo Courtesy of SR Photo

Photo Courtesy of SR Photo

The team ends the game linking arm and arm in a supportive group huddle.

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A team is a group of individuals who bind their talents together in order to achieve success. The York Special Olympics Basketball team has a nine to two record, and have proven that success has no limits.

 

On Sunday, Jan. 21 the team went to the regional tournament. After competing in two games, York’s Special Olympics Basketball placed third, ending the season on a strong note. The support of student coaches as well as head coaches Timothy Wealton and Steven Westendorf guided these athletes to regionals. The players’ talents shined through at games against other Illinois high schools.

 

“The coaching staff has been impressed with the daily improvement of individuals and the team as a whole,” coach Timothy Wealton said. “We’ve had a deeper bench this year with some new players and received key contributions from that increased depth. It’s very exciting to see the growing enthusiasm around the team.”

Photo Courtesy of SR Photo
Junior Reed Brunson smiles from cheek to cheek as he makes his first shot for the night.

 

With the chance to compete in an organized sport, the special education students at York devoted after school hours to practice their skills. Practicing not only offensive and defensive plays, the athletes also learn how to work together towards a shared goal. Whether they are cheering for their teammates, on the bench, or running up and down the court, these players understand what it means to be united.

 

“Everybody on the team has a blast especially since we’re doing great, but what I think was the most special about this season was the unbelievable teamwork the players show,”  student coach and junior Kellan Gilmartin said. “Every game I see players passing on wide open layups just to give their teammate a chance of scoring. It’s just remarkable how selfless the athletes on the team are.”

Photo Courtesy of SR Photo
Senior Michelle Zillinger celebrates with a big smile after an amazing play.

 

Not only are they developing social skills, these players have also been busy making basketball their second language. In any type of competition, you deal with the possibility of being out skilled–however, as long as you understand the game and let your determination for success guide you, nothing can get in your way. These students have embodied just that.

 

“In the games when they were down or up by however many points they always kept playing their game and trying their best to score more,” student coach and senior Jane Moran said.

Photo Courtesy of SR Photos
As the starting line up is read out loud teammates encourage each other to play their hearts out

 

The team took their hidden talents and devoted them to a sport they love this past season. Their passion shined through no matter if they won or lost, nott only becoming leaders, but a force to be reckoned with all throughout the Elmhurst community.

 

“They had great leadership on the court and even on the bench the energy was great. Everyone was clapping and cheering to support their teammates,” Moran said.

Photo Courtesy of SR Photo
Teammates and junior front man Paul Rosland wave hello to the fans.

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York’s Special Olympics Basketball team finishes their best season yet.