Atoms Special Olympics

Students participate in basketball tournament


Katie Pope

Thomas Winant prepares to take a shoot during the Atoms’ Special Olympics team game against the Robert E. Lee Lancers Special Olympics team at Holmes Middle School on Jan. 14.

Jude Nanaw, Sports X-tra Editor

As the screeching whistle sounded and freshman Tate Conroy’s shot went up into the air and through the basket, the audience roared at the close of the second quarter.

As the game went on, and the teams exchanged baskets, the Lee Lancers began to pull away with a lead.
For the first time on Jan. 14, AHS participated in the Special Olympics.

The Atoms Special Olympics basketball team competed in the Area 26 Basketball Invitational Tournament which was held on Jan. 14 at Holmes Middle School.

“This is the first year that Annandale has participated in the special olympics,” Principal Tim Thomas said.

The team played in two games that consisted of four quarters each and lasted about approximately an hour each as well.

In the first match-up, the Atoms played against the Robert E. Lee Lancers Special Olympics team and against the Lake Braddock Bruins Special Olympics team in the second half of the tournament.

The Atoms were defeated narrowly in both match-ups, losing 38-24 to the Lancers and losing by only two to the Bruins

The AHS special education department was responsible for organizing the Atoms’ participation in the event.

“I think it is tremendous that we participated this year,” Thomas said. “It is a great opportunity not only for the kids participating in the special olympics, but it also shows how we value inclusion at Annandale High School.”

In the weeks leading up to the special olympics basketball tournament, Leadership students attended team practices to help those participating in their preparation.

“I think the Special Olympics is a really great and positive for the school to participate in,” junior Leadership student Devin Gill said.

Not only did leadership students attend practices, but many also attended the tournament and helped out on the court.

“We had one to two practices with everyone playing in the tournament during W4 every week,” Gill said. “We also were able to play in the tournament games with the students.”

Players frequently rotated in and out of the games throughout all four quarters of each game.

The audience at the tournaments consisted of parents, students, as well as many AHS staff members including administration.

Also at the tournament were other school special olympics teams that rotated onto the court once the preceding games were completed.

“It makes me happy to see all types of kids out their on the court participating together,” Thomas said.

With this being the Atoms’ first year participating in a special olympics event, it will be determined if AHS will continue participation in these events in coming years.

“I think that it went really well this year and that Annandale should definitely participate in this event every year,” Gill said.

It is anticipated that because of the successful participation in the basketball tournament this year, the school will continue to join special olympics tournaments in future school years.

“I appreciate the efforts of the special education staff for this event and all they do for our kids,” Thomas said. “I absolutely anticipate this event being a part of the future.”

The Atoms’ participation in the special olympics this year was successful overall and the efforts of the special education department are greatly appreciated.