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Congratulations, Issaquah Dragons Bowlers!

The Issaquah Dragons Special Olympics bowling team

Congratulations to our Issaquah Dragons, on an outstanding season! The Dragons are a Special Olympics bowling team that includes student athletes from multiple district schools and programs.

“This truly has been the most special team of all the Special Olympics teams I’ve coached. Each practice, the energy was so uplifting and encouraging,” said coach Amanda Thrash, who also is an Assistive Technology Specialist for the district. “Not only were there marked improvements in scores over the course of the season, but the friendships that emerged and teamwork were so apparent as the athletes always cheered each other on. At the regional event, the Dragons brought an unparalleled amount of pride and support of one another by forming a cheer squad that moved between each medal ceremony, which was something no other team did. At our banquet, we had to add more chairs to the athlete table so everyone could sit together (in the past most sit with their families), it was truly heartwarming to see the bonds they formed and respect they have for one another.”

This year’s team included Joshua Atwood, Joshua Daly, Caiden Duke, Ray Fricke, John Gordon, James Huang, Hannah Jorgenson, Lauren McCabe, Edgar McDougall, Tessa Nickerson, Bret Oman, Ashley Schoenstadt, Hannah Taaffe, and Carter Vuong.

Of the team’s 14 members, 13 competed in the regional tournament at Kenmore Lanes and seven qualified for the state games in the Tri-Cities last month. Two of those bowlers medaled: Taaffe, a Skyline alum, earned silver in her division; and Fricke of Issaquah High School earned gold.

This year’s Dragons included 11 returning athletes and three new teammates.

“Having coached many other sports, I have to say bowling is truly the best! I was on the bowling team when I was in high school, so it’s been really fun to use my knowledge of the sport with my OT background to work with our athletes,” Thrash said. “The sport itself is independent in nature, but really lends well to camaraderie and sportsmanship when cheering each other on and support everyone doing their personal best.”

The district’s Special Olympics program offers three districtwide sports: bowling in the fall, basketball in winter and track in spring. Liberty High School also has a separate Unified Special Olympics program that offers robotics, basketball and cheerleading.

We are proud of you, Dragons!

In the photos, above: The Issaquah Dragons team. Below, Ray Fricke with his gold medal; and Hannah Taaffe with her silver medal.

Special Olympics Dragons athlete Ray F. earned a gold medal
Special Olympics Dragons athlete Hannah T earned a silver medal