A volleyball team of area players has been selected to represent Washington at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.
The team, which is made up of players from Skagit, Whatcom and Snohomish counties, has been practicing twice a week since December.
The national championship event runs Sunday through June 12.
In 2018 — the last time the games were held — five of the 10 players on the current team were part of a team that won the Special Olympics national title.
“We are returning champions,” coach Randy Geoghegan said. “We are excited to compete again. We have a great team.”
The team held a scrimmage Tuesday to showcase its talent. Family and friends who won’t be making the trip to Florida were invited to attend the scrimmage.
Some Burlington-Edison High School volleyball players have assisted Geoghegan and assistant coach Lucy Capron with practices.
“These girls are amazing,” Geoghegan said. “They are out here at practices helping us run and teach drills. They are great role models.”
High school players Clara Bowser, Brooke Tyler, Dakota Wyman and Amey Rainaud-Hinds helped the team throughout the season and competed in the sendoff scrimmage.
All of the players on the team have been part of the Special Olympic program for years. Each athlete has played a multitude of sports, Geoghegan said.
One player, Skyler Poor, is also a Special Olympics barrel racer. His participation in the rodeo event has earned him the nickname “the cowboy.”
After a season of barrel racing, Poor is focusing on the volleyball competition.
“I love barrel racing,” Poor said. “It is a rush. Volleyball is fun too. I am excited to go to Florida.”
Other team members are Kevin Geoghegan, Nick Hollands, Daniel Brito, Larry Simpson, Marc Moore, Gable Wilkins, Nick Rothbauer, Grant Brickbealer and Stacey Conser.