POULTNEY, Vt. –Rutland Eagles Special Olympics enjoyed an afternoon at Green Mountain College on Saturday, February 16th as club members were in attendance to watch GMC take on New England College in men’s and women’s basketball at the Eagle Dome.
After club members cheered on the Green Mountain men during the first half, it was the Rutland Eagles’ turn to churn up the hard court as eight ballers took to the court at halftime. The eight hoopsters were J. Michael Stone, Christopher Mitchell, Caroline Gillen, Austen McAllister, Stephon O’Connor, DJ Roque, Bill Pierce, and Tricia Blanchard. The players were coached by “Coach Scott”, Scott Crawford, and supported by Mary Mitchell, Ron Finn, Donna Montag, Donna Gillen and Jayne Trepanier.
For one of the players, J. Michael Stone, coming to Green Mountain College is nothing new. Stone works as a part of the College’s custodial staff where he is the primary custodian in charge of the Waldron Athletic Center.
“It was a great opportunity for our team to be represented in such a unique and special way,” said Stone. “The student-athletes and fans welcomed us with open arms and since it was our first time in an event like this at GMC, I thought our players did really well. It was nice to be appreciated for our hard work by the fans and student-athletes that I see and interact with on a daily basis.”
The game featured eight minutes of running time during which the players energetically flew up and down the court. Play featured layups, nifty passes, jump shots, fast breaks and three-pointers. The crowd loved the halftime action and really became boisterous when the teams began trading baskets back-and-forth.
Upon hearing the final buzzer go off, hands were shaken and pleasantries exchanged amongst the participants. As evidence of a good time being had, both teams’ shirts were doused with sweat while their faces were adorned with smiles. The crowd gave a hearty standing ovation as the athletes left the court waving to the fans. A special thanks is sent out to Vinnie Hayes, one of the referees for the men’s game, who came out during halftime to officiate.
Green Mountain College was thrilled to be able to host the Rutland Eagles Special Olympics Club. Through fundraising during the year the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (S.A.A.C) was able to make a contribution to the Rutland Eagles Special Olympics.
Rutland Eagles Special Olympics will be participating in the Winter Games from March 8-10. At this event, athletes will compete in cross country and alpine skiing and snowboarding events. The Games will be held at the Woodstock Inn and Suicide Six.
For more information regarding Rutland Eagles Special Olympics, please write to Mary Mitchell, 712 Horton Road, Sudbury, Vermont 05733 or contact her at 802-948-2877.
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--Courtesy of Green Mountain Sport Information