Medals Roll In As Athletes Complete Competition
Competition came to a close today for most of the Team Kentucky athletes at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games and the medals continued to roll in.
Louisville swimmer Austin Stine grabbed Kentucky’s first swimming individual gold medal, swimming the 50yard freestyle in a personal best :58.37. He beat silver medalist Darryl Morgan of Alaska by a little less than four seconds. Stine has one more swim at the Games, going for a third gold medal tomorrow in the 100-yard freestyle.
Also at the pool, Maddie Brinkman grabbed a bronze medal in her division of the 50-meter free. Brinkman also swam a personal best, touching in :36.63. Like Stine, she has one more swim at the games, trying to add one more medal to the count in the 50-yard backstroke.
Justin Hale finished his USA Games with a 4th place finish in a time of 2:46.93 in the 200-yard individual medley, which was a personal best by almost two seconds.
Our Bocce athletes claimed their second medal of the Games with the Unified doubles team of Torrey Thompson and Mark McKinney taking silver in their division. Thompson and McKinney faced off against Matt Foley and Kurt Straub of New Jersey in the gold medal match, but never really got on track, falling 12-2.
Amy Butler and Kym Dickamore grabbed a fourth place ribbon in the doubles event, falling to Jillian Meyer and Katherine Juda of North Carolina 9-5 in the bronze medal match.
Kentucky’s golfers closed out a grueling week in the Florida heat today, with both teams winning sliver medals. Wake Mullins and Unified partner Dennis Gaines shot an 89 on a weather-delayed final day of competition to close the tournament at 258. They were just two shots behind gold medalists Dakota and Cole Wallace of Arkansas. Mullins and Gaines won the bronze medal in the same event in 2018 at the Games in Seattle.
Bryan Cheely and partner Kevin Cheely closed out the tournament with a 51 to shoot 164 in the 9-hole Unified Alternate Shot competition. They go home with a silver medal in their first USA Games experience.
Kentucky gymnasts once again grabbed a bundle of medals today in the balance beam and floor exercise event finals. In the morning session, Lee Dockins and Aliya White both claimed a gold and a silver. Dockins took the gold medal in the floor exercise with a score of 19.287. She also claimed silver in the beam with a score of 17.362. Dockins’ floor routine was so good that she was selected to perform in tomorrow’s gymnastics show. White grabbed the gold in balance beam with a score of 18.75. Her silver came in the floor, despite scoring 19.1 in the event. Dockins and White competed in the same division in both events – a rarity in Team Kentucky’s USA Games history and just swapped spots in the events.
Racheal Connor also competed in the beam and floor event finals. She posted scores of 16.2 in the balance beam and 18.3 in the floor exercise. We will find out her position in the events at the awards ceremony tomorrow.
Kentucky’s bowlers placed third in the team event after rolling a 1286 three-game total. They came close to rivaling the gymnasts for most hardware earned. They come away from the Games winning six total medals.
In other action, Michaela Hickerson took 5th in her division of the 100 meters. Hickerson ran a time of :17.465. Danielle Mola of Connecticut took the gold in that division.
Also, the Team Kentucky flag football team held a 13-12 halftime lead, but seemed to lose their momentum after the break, falling 25-13 to Illinois. They will play Pennsylvania in the bronze medal game.
Tomorrow at the USA Games
Competition comes to a close tomorrow with a fairly limited schedule.
The track will be the busiest competition venue and Kentucky will be involved in a lot of the action. Team Kentucky opens with an early heat of the 4×100-meter relay. They won their heat of the event preliminaries on Wednesday with a time of 1:03.826.
Right after the relay ends Trevor Yates will head back to the starting line to run his heat in the 3,000 meters. Caitlin Roy and Michaela Hickerson will both run heats of the 200-meter final.
Flag football will be trying to claim the bronze medal.
Several Kentucky gymnasts will be involved in the closing gymnastics show. In addition to Dockins’ floor exercise, Kentucky gymnasts will join with 2018 USA Games gymnast Tonya Cornett for a routine. Dockins and Brinkman will be performing on the floor while Cornett and Connor will sing.