Upper East Tennessee Special Olympics hosts first basketball competition

A team from Washington County called the Gators participated in a day of basketball competition inside Brooks Gym on the campus of ETSU last Friday. The event marked the first time Upper East Tennessee Special Olympics held a basketball competition. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

The sound of bouncing basketballs echoed off the walls of Brooks Gym on the campus of ETSU as young people from around our region gathered for the Upper East Tennessee Special Olympics’ inaugural basketball competition.

After winning a pair of gold medals on the ski slopes last winter, Johnson City athlete Rowan Benton tried his hand at basketball on Friday. Benton also had the honor of reading the Special Olympics athlete’s oath prior to the event. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

The Gators of Washington County, the Blue Devils of Unicoi County and the Longhorns of Johnson County came together for a day of camaraderie and competition. The teams played 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games and also competed in a variety of skills competitions.

The event started with the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem. Rowan Benton of Johnson City read the Special Olympics athlete’s oath. Benton showed his versatility by competing in basketball on Friday after winning a pair of gold medals as a skier in the Winter Special Olympics in Gatlinburg last year.

As the athletes competed, several teachers, coaches and volunteers from the community worked tirelessly to ensure the event ran smoothly. Employees from several local businesses were on hand to assist in several aspects of the event.


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