Final Day of Competition Has Exciting Open for Kentucky
The final day of competition at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games couldn’t have gotten off to a more exciting start for Team Kentucky. In the first activity of the day, the 4×100-meter relay team of Michaela Hickerson, Caitlin Roy, Kevin Rates and Trevor Yates blazed their way to a gold medal in their division. Team Kentucky used a scorching third leg from Rates to take command and cruised to the win in 1:03.570, .87 seconds ahead of Idaho.
The win also led to one of the great moments of the Games for Team Kentucky – a wild celebration on the medal stand at the awards later in the day.
The 4×100 win wouldn’t be the last medal of the day at the track for Team Kentucky. Hickerson ran a :39.163 in her division of the 200-meter run, holding off Sarah LaBreche of Rhode Island to hang onto the silver medal.
The other gold medal of the day for Kentucky came at the pool where Maddie Brinkman won her division of the 50-yard backstroke. Brinkman touched in a personal best :47.400, 1.95 seconds ahead of Anna Reagle of Connecticut. Brinkman ended the Games with two gold and one bronze medal.
Almost immediately after he ran the anchor leg of the 4×100 relay, Trevor Yates was back on the track running the 3000 meters. Yates finished in 15:03.808, placing fifth.
Austin Stine – who won gold yesterday in the 50-yard freestyle – completed his events today with the 100-yard freestyle. Stine shaved six full seconds off his personal best, finishing in 2:04.56 to place fifth. Stine closes the Games with two gold medals and today’s fifth place finish.
Team Kentucky closed out their USA Games with a fourth-place finish. They found themselves down early 18-0 to Pennsylvania. Kentucky stabilized behind a touchdown each from Jacob Dunn and Hunter Morrison, but couldn’t overcome the early deficit and fell 31-12.
There was one special moment that happened for Team Kentucky away from the field. On Thursday, gymnast Aliya White ran into ESPN personality Daina Shilts, who rose to fame during the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Korea where she competed as a snowboarder. White is a big fan of Shilts and was very excited to see one of her idols. The two had such a great interaction that today Shilts invited White to the ESPN suites at Wide World of Sports. White was treated to a surprise in both seeing Shilts again and Shilts giving White an autographed hat.
Tomorrow at the USA Games
A lot of Team Kentucky will use the day off to head to the Magic Kingdom, a perk provided to every athlete at the Games. Later in the evening they can all return to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports for the Closing Ceremonies.
Team Kentucky returns home on Sunday, June 12. The team is scheduled to land at Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Airport at 11:50 am. They will return having won 32 medals at these Games, including 15 golds.