Sheldon, Iowa – Village Northwest Unlimited is pleased to share that three of the VNU Panthers athletes have earned medals at the Special Olympics State Basketball Skills competition held March 12, 2017 in Iowa City, IA. Les Van Engen placed 2nd, Brad Friedland placed 3rd and Janet Grooters placed 5th.
The Basketball Skills event includes competition in three drills: controlled dribbling, passing, and shooting. The dribbling event is timed and athletes must follow a line demonstrating ability for controlled dribbling. The passing event consists of passing the ball against a square on the wall and points are awarded for each time they hit inside the square. The shooting competition includes shooting from 6 different spots within the free throw lane and points are awarded for each basket.
“Our athletes competed well at both the district and state level this year”, said Sara Wolthuizen, Panthers Coach. “They have been practicing their basketball skills since December and their hard work showed at the state competition.”
The Basketball Skills competition with Special Olympics allows individuals to have a different opportunity to participate in basketball outside of the regular basketball game/team competition. “It’s fun to see them compete against others at the state level and to watch their individual growth and success as they develop”, says Deb Middle, Panthers Coach.
Area Special Olympics athletes first participate in a district competition held at Dordt College in Sioux Center to earn a trip to the state competition. Individuals who place 1st at the district tournament advance to the state competition in Iowa City, IA. Divisions are set based on the athlete’s age, gender and score.
In 2017, Village Northwest Unlimited sent 17 athletes to the district competition and of those, three moved on to state competition. There are age categories for individuals ages 8 – 51+ years old.