Special Olympians serve up aces at tennis skills competition
Rockport — The Midcoast Recreation Center and Special Olympics Maine hosted their eighth annual tennis individual skills competition on Wednesday, Aug. 21, with 59 Olympians taking part in several drills teaching the components of the sport.
Athletes from four organizations, including the Coastal Navigators and Tennis For Fun out of Belfast, along with groups from Auburn and Portland, participated in the event, which had drills, including forehand volley, backhand volley, forehand ground stroke, backhand ground stroke, serve deuce court, serve advantage court and alternating ground strokes with movement.
“The event is always so much fun and this year we had the highest number of athletes yet which made it even more exciting,” said chief clinician Julia Kosowsky. “It was great to watch our past champions compete alongside some new faces.”
Tennis For Fun athletes Cody Herard and Brandi Place secured medals in the event, with Herard winning a gold and Place silver.
For the Coastal Navigators, Ronnie Vanesse and Denise Raynes secured gold medals, while Melvin Achorn and Scott Achorn received silver medals and Ada Rackliff, Samantha Herring, Lewis Regnier, Shane Roberts, Katie Kuhn and Scott Bass bronze medals. Jeremy White also earned a fourth-place ribbon.
Full results from the event were unavailable.
The event originated in 2005 when Laura Stein, who won the Maine Principals' Association state singles tennis tournament a year prior for Camden Hills, began the tradition and directed the event for five years, before handing the reins to Kosowsky.
“She passed the torch to me in 2009 when she came back to coach tennis at Camden Hills,” Kosowsky said. “At that point I was the current leader of Tennis for Fun, an hour long tennis program that takes place every Monday with the folks from Coastal Opportunities, another great program that Laura started. She asked me if I would like to start running the summer games and I was excited for the opportunity. It has kept me in touch with the awesome men and women who I worked with through Tennis for Fun.”
Kosowsky had plenty of help, including former and/or current Camden Hills Regional High School student-athletes Tessa Carroll, Maggie Finklestein, Will Conover, Emma Conover, Joey Michalakes, Abby Blakeley and Hannah Drawbridge, who “make the event run incredibly smoothly.”
Kosowsky also mentioned Judy Moore, who is always “bringing baked goods and other snacks, her camera and her positive energy and support” and Mark Capano, the program director for Special Olympics Maine.
Capano, who typically attends the event but could not this year due to a conflict, “is one of the biggest reasons we can put this event on every year,” said Kosowsky.
He works at Special Olympics of Maine and he recruits, registers and obtains medical information from all the athletes and always comes to the event to help with scoring and the medal ceremony and other logistics, Kosowsky said.
The cost of the court time is taken care of by MRC, while Domino's Pizza provides food for the athletes, and Hannaford provides water bottles for all participants.
Associate Sports Director
594-4401, ext. 116
Mark has been covering local sports throughout Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln county since 2007. He has a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication from the University of Maine and is also a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.
Mark is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, fantasy sports, the AMC drama "Breaking Bad" and iced coffee.
He resides in Thomaston with his wife Jenn and sons Beckett and Austin.
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