Special Olympics Maine is sending a group of 44 athletes, coaches and partners to the Special Olympics USA games in Seattle.
The USA Games, scheduled for July 1-6, are held every four years, and this will be the fourth time the event has been staged. More than 4,000 athletes and coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will descend upon Greater Seattle.
Athletes will compete in 14 sports including swimming, flag football, soccer, track and field, golf, bowling and bocce.
More than 10,000 volunteers will help conduct the games, while 10,000 family members and friends, and 70,000 spectators are expected to attend.
Venues include the University of Washington, King County Aquatic Center, Seattle University and Celebration Park. The Special Olympics USA Games will be the biggest sporting event to hit the Seattle area in more than 25 years.
The Special Olympics Maine delegation is slated to gather Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Special Olympics Maine state office in South Portland. There, the athletes will receive their uniforms and gear before departing by bus for Boston at 3 p.m.
The group will eat dinner before spending the night and then flying to Seattle early on Saturday morning.
Mark Capano is the head of the Maine delegation and is assisted by Scott Gregory of Fryeburg. The state’s team rosters are as follows:
Athletics — athletes: Jennifer Johnson, Orono; Megan Rosenberg, Brunswick; Lucas Houk, Portland; and Sage Turmelle, Waterville; head coach: Jeff Bosse, Milford; assistant coach: Toby LeConte, Boothbay.
Soccer — athletes: Kala Emery, Lewiston; Valerie Giles, Boothbay; Della Lippincott, Lewiston; Josh Costain, Hampden; Harold Flood, Hampden; Zachary Conley, Auburn; Todd Morin, Minot; Brian Richards, Auburn; head coach: Rhonda Lausier, South Paris; coach: Krista Wotherspoon, New Gloucester.
Bowling — athletes: Madison Mooers, Hampden; Ashley Stasulis, Lewiston; Brandon Mullen, Lewiston; Dennis Plourde, Hampden; head coach: Duane Hall, Brewer; unified partners: Fred Cummings, Otisfield; Sue Uhlenhake, Brewer.
Bocce — athletes: Caitlyn Gunn, Bangor; Cassandra Mattia, Dixfield; Chris Oster, Stetson; Stephen Costello, Orono; head coach: Wendy Gilbert, Bradley; unified partners: Amanda Ludden, Levant; Andrea Lee, Bangor.
Golf — athletes: Travis Curtis, Montville; Heather Wheaton (caddie), Bangor; head coach: Brian Lee, Bangor.
Swimming — athletes: Cailynn Goss, Hampden; Grace Giles, Boothbay; Zachary Ewing, Hampden; Danny Miller, Boothbay; head coach: Sandra Hebert, Dixfield; coach: Robin Mendenhall, Bangor.
Special Olympics is a year-round sports training and competition program for children and adults who have intellectual disabilities. In Maine they serve more than 4,400 athletes and sponsor 75 events throughout the state each year.
Fans may follow the USA Games by visiting https://www.specialolympicsusagames.org (.) ESPN-TV will be covering the games.