Special Olympics athletes compete in regional basketball tournament at Cassell Coliseum

Twenty teams competed in the Southwest Regional Basketball Tournament

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Breaking boundaries for equality—that’s the goal of the Special Olympics Southwest Regional Basketball Tournament, which dozens of athletes took part in at Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum.

For one Special Olympics athlete, the court isn’t an unfamiliar space, but the opportunity still brings him joy.

”Many years, I always wanna play it. It just psyches me to come out and play basketball, a sport I love,” Andrew Hylton, a Special Olympics athlete, said.

Twenty teams competed in the Southwest Regional Basketball Tournament.

Nancy Morehouse, director of the Southwest Region of Special Olympics, said the tournament has been growing and growing since COVID-19, allowing these special Olympic athletes to shine just like any other athlete.

“Being able to provide this community sports opportunity, where people with and without disabilities, play as equal team members, that gives them the opportunity to feel the courage and to feel confident,” Morehouse said.

Hylton said his confidence grew because of this experience, and he wants others to have the same opportunity.

“Anyone who loves playing basketball, have fun, be yourself out there, and have fun out there,” Hylton said.

Morehouse said this tournament allows for the athletes to grow and learn in a fun and exciting environment.

“Ways that will carry on to their education, as well as their workplace in their job, so we are really tickled to have basketball as a catalyst for them,” Morehouse said.

Athlete Michael Hall said he wants to make eight buckets and the reason is for the fans.

“So that way I can get good cheers,” Hall said.

The teams will be competing in another tournament next Sunday at Roanoke College.

About the Author

Kelly Marsh joined the team in July 2023.

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