Updated 2 months ago
Central Kentucky will be represented by eight athletes and three coaches as part of Team Kentucky at the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games, to be held June 14-21, 2014, in New Jersey.
The athletes include six from Lexington, two from Winchester and one from Nicholasville, competing in aquatics (swimming), artistic gymnastics, bowling, and track and field. The coaches come from Lexington, and Berea in aquatics, artistic gymnastics and golf.
Ashley Bias, 23, of Lexington will compete in artistic gymnastics. She has been a Special Olympics athlete for 13 years and has competed in artistic gymnastics for three. She also competes in bowling, cheerleading and rhythmic gymnastics. This is her first trip to a National or World Games competition.
Val Forsythe, 24, of Lexington will compete in aquatics. He has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years and has been in aquatics for all 12. He also has competed in bowling, soccer and softball. This will also be his first competition above the state level.
Fannie Stonestreet, 57, of Winchester has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years and has competed in track for all 12. She also competes in basketball, bowling, cheerleading, flag football, soccer and softball. This will also be her first trip to a Special Olympics competition above the state level.
Forsythe will be joined in the aquatics delegation by Reba McDonald, 42, of Winchester. She has been a Special Olympics athlete for eight years and has also competed in basketball, bocce, bowling and softball. She will be teamed with three other Kentucky swimmers for the relay, including Chris Willis of Owensboro, Vahl Forsythe of Lexington and Kathleen Colliver of Nicholasville. This will be her first time competing at the National or World Games level.
Kathleen Colliver, 26, of Nicholasville is the third Central Kentucky member of the aquatics delegation. She will compete in the 25-meter freestyle, 50-meter freestyle and 4x50-meter freestyle relay at the Games. She has been a Special Olympics athlete for nine years and has also competed in equestrian. While this is the first competition above the state level for Colliver, she swims with the same Jessamine County Sharks Special Olympics program that has sent other swimmers to great success at the National and World Games levels. Katelyn Hale won three medals, including one Gold, at the 2006 National Games and Connor Lutz won a pair of medals at the 2010 Games, including one Gold. Lutz added two Silver Medals at the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
Forsythe, McDonald and Colliver will likely be teamed in a relay event at the Games along with Owensboro swimmer Chris Willis.
Travis Hines, 42, of Lexington will compete in track and field. He has been a special Olympics athlete for 22 years, competing in track and field for 18 of those. He also competes in basketball, bowling and softball. He has also never competed above the state level.
Casie Seifert, 24, also of Lexington will join Hines in the track and field delegation. She has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years competing in track and field for 10. She participated in the first ever Special Olympics USA National Games, competing in Unified Golf, where she earned a Silver Medal with partner Sarah Hawkins Lear. She works at Fresh Approach.
Julia Steinman, 22, of Lexington will compete in bowling at the Games. She will participate in the Singles, Double and Team (four person) events in New Jersey. Steinman has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years, and has bowled for all of them. She also competes in basketball, softball and track and field. The Joseph Beth Booksellers staff member will be making her first trip to a Special Olympics National or World Games event.
Three Central Kentuckians will serve as coaches at the 2014 USA National Games.
Mary Fehrenbach of Lexington will be making her third trip to the National Games as the Team Kentucky gymnastics coach. Fehrenbach, the 2011 Special Olympics North America Coach of the Year, has been the Team Kentucky coach at each of the previous USA National Games and her teams have won 27 medals in those Games. She has also served as the head gymnastics coach for Team USA at a number of Special Olympics World Games events and produced similar results.
Kenny Merritt of Berea returns as the Team Kentucky golf coach, a position he held at the 2010 Games as well. His 2010 golfers posted a Gold Medal finish in individual stroke play and a Silver in unified team play. Merritt has been a Special Olympics volunteer for more than 20 years, filling key role at a number of state events each year.
Phillip Norris of Lexington also returns to his role from the 2010 USA National Games as the Team Kentucky aquatics coach. Norris led Team Kentucky to seven medals at those Games, including one Gold. Norris serves as a coach for the Frankfort Sunfish aquatics team during the regular Special Olympics season.
Team Kentucky is made up of 39 athletes, one Unified Partner and 16 coaches from throughout the state. Kentucky athletes will compete in Aquatics (swimming), Artistic Gymnastics, Athletics (track and field), Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Flag Football and Golf.
"We are very excited to be able to introduce Team Kentucky," said Special Olympics Kentucky President and CEO Trish Mazzoni. "We have a team of very accomplished athletes and coaches that represents probably as broad a cross section of the state as we've ever been able to send to the Games. We know how proud all of them are to represent Kentucky and we know they will represent the state in a way that will make all of Kentucky proud. We can't wait for the Games to get here to share their accomplishments with everybody."
The 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games will be the third USA National Games that Special Olympics has held. Previous games were held in 2006 in Ames, Iowa, and 2010 in Lincoln, Neb. The Games will bring together 3,500 athletes and 1,000 coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Games will feature 14 sports as well as a number of cultural and social activities for the athletes. Each athlete will go on a dinner cruise around Manhattan and attend a minor league baseball game. There will also be opportunities to receive free health screenings at the Healthy Athletes venue and a chance to spend time at Olympic Town, an interactive festival-style area. The official Games Web site is 2014specialolympics.org.
Kentucky has had tremendous success at the USA National Games. The 2010 Team Kentucky group consisted of 39 athletes and claimed 34 medals, including 10 Golds. The 2006 National Games team saw 42 athletes capture 42 medals, including 18 Golds.
For more information about Team Kentucky or the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games, contact Special Olympics Kentucky Vice President of Programs and Team Kentucky Head of Delegation Kim Satterwhite at 800-633-7403 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Special Olympics is the world's largest program of sports training and competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation in competitive events is open to all individuals eight years of age or older. Training and competition in local, area, state, and national programs is offered year-round in Kentucky in 15 sports. In addition to its traditional sports competitions, Special Olympics also offers early childhood programming through the Young Athletes Program and medical screenings though the Healthy Athletes Initiative. Special Olympics Kentucky has been changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities in Kentucky for 43 years.