The Haliburton Red Wolves Special Olympics team rolled to success at the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games Feb. 25-29 with a haul of four silver medals in five-pin bowling.
The five-person team travelled to Thunder Bay for the competition, their second consecutive national games, where they earned a team silver medal in the M1 division. Team members Kim Buie, Marianne Stammers and Andrew Bourgeois also all earned individual silver medals in their respective divisions. Lucas Anderson and Casey Heley joined them for the team medal.
Coach Rick West said the competition created lifelong memories for the club.
“It was very meaningful. They may never get a chance to do this again,” West said. “They’ll remember the experience for the rest of their lives.”
The squad qualified for national competition with gold-medal performances at provincials last June.
The Special Olympics uses a division system, sorting athletes and teams by skill to promote people of all ability levels to compete. The system creates some close contests, with Haliburton only 13 points off first in its division with a total score of 5,772. On the individual side, Buie won her silver medal by only one pin. West said the team battled well in its last round to secure second, which they only got by 18 points.
“Our bowlers did really, really well,” West said. “It’s a whole different level of bowling.”
West attributed the team’s success to some heavy practice in the three months leading up to nationals. They play out of The Fast Lane in Minden, where they were given free rein to practice as much as they wanted.
“That was huge,” he said.
The team made other memories together outside of bowling lanes, such as a visit to the Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay, West said. The trip to nationals was all made possible through community fundraising.
“The support of the community was great, as it always is,” he said. “Everybody that supported us, thank you so much for being there.”