Five Eden bowlers set to compete in NJSO state finals

Sam celebrates his victory with Anita Weatherington, Supervisor of Briggs Center

Five of Eden’s bowlers will go for the gold as they compete in the New Jersey Special Olympics state finals!

Adam, Chris, Eric, Sam, and Steven will compete in the Spring Games singles tournament this April. In order to qualify for the state-wide tournament, bowlers had to place first or second in each competition leading up to Spring Games.

Adam, Eric, and Sam will represent Eden’s team, Chris will represent the Mercer Bowlers 2 team, and Steven will be bowling for the Mercer Bowlers. While their teammates did not place in the singles tournament, they will still participate in the team competition during the Spring Games.

Eden’s bowlers worked hard to improve their skills this year. “It’s been really cool seeing all the guys grow and become more professional athletes, and it’s nice to see that they’re actually enjoying it as well,” said Eden Recreation Specialist Trey Norwood.

Eric and Adam at the semifinal tournament

Eric and Adam at the semifinal tournament

As the coach of the Eden team, Trey has been impressed with their drive to improve and how they push themselves to perform above expectations. “They genuinely do everything they can to win,” he said.

The bowlers also became more independent throughout the season. By the end of the season, Trey was only providing minor adjustments and ensuring that everyone was bowling safely. At one point, Trey noticed that Adam’s ball was curving in a specific way. When Adam told Trey that his hand was hurting, Trey had him make a minor adjustment to his form. Not only did his hand stop hurting, but he also improved his game.

These minor adjustments during practice had a major impact on the bowlers, especially during competitions when athletes must bowl independently without assistance from coaches. “They are fully aware they’re in a competitive environment because their whole personas change,” said Trey. “They know they are bowling to win.”

Steven at a semifinal tournament

Steven at a semifinal tournament

The bowlers take pride in the game and their ability to compete, but they don’t let that stop them from having fun while playing.

“Chris is a very enthusiastic bowler,” said Tish Capawana, Chris’s coach. “He understands every aspect of the game and especially enjoys getting strikes and spares, which is pretty often. He has the highest average on our team, but the others give him a run for his money. He loves being a part of Special Olympics bowling.”

Bowling with SONJ allows the bowlers to have fun, compete at a high level against their peers, and show off their impressive skills.

“So many people just have such a limited view of what the guys can do, and they’re capable of so much more,” said Trey. “This gives them a chance to really show what they’re capable of, and it’s so fun to see.”

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