LEWISTON — Midcoast Recreation Center’s (MRC) Tennis for Fun Team participated in the Special Olympics at Bates College in Lewiston on October 3, 2023. The MRC and Belfast Tennis for Fun athletes competed in several divisions: Skills, Orange and Green Ball Singles, and Red Ball Doubles.
In the Skills Competition, participants demonstrated various skills including serves, volleys, groundstrokes, etc. Samantha Herring won the gold medal; Darrin Cushman and Mary Putansu received silver medals; Jonathan Keene and Ellen Murname received bronze medals; Jeremy White placed 4th; Leesa Carpenter and Amy Stevens placed 5th; Katie Kunn placed 6th; and Lillian Kunn placed 7th.
In the orange ball singles division, Ronnie Vanasse won the gold medal; Destiny Winslow received the silver medal; Glen Smith placed 4th; Shane Roberts came in 5th; and Scott Achorn placed 6th.
In the green ball singles division, Cody Herard won the silver medal.
In the Red Ball doubles divisions, Abby Flagg & Crystal Anderson and Travis Paine & Toby Jones won silver medals; Kelly Aldus & Jennifeer Farrar and Michael Kunn & Myles Frederick won bronze medals; Dina Snape & Brandi Place placed 4th; Melvin Achorn & Ada Rackliff placed 5th; and Caroline Duda & Kathryn Kuhn placed 6th.
All of the athletes showed determination, endurance, and skill, and have improved significantly this year, according to MRC, in a news release.
Tennis for Fun is a volunteer-run program held on Monday afternoons at Midcoast Recreation Center, and also in Belfast on Friday afternoons. For 21 years, athletes with cognitive disabilities have been learning to play tennis through Tennis for Fun. The program was founded by Nathan Moore, and serves approximately 50 athletes each week between MRC and Belfast. Tennis for Fun also has 18 locations throughout the United States. MRC donates court time and coaches, and local community members donate their time and equipment as well.
The MRC coaches are Candy Smiley, Lana Arau, Sarah Glenn, Judy Moore, Kristen King, Sarah Efird, Hattie Moss, Alex Dodd, Marge Mitchell and Diane Ridley, and Cricket Stewart.
The Belfast coaches are Cheryl Hathaway and Judy Moore.
The program is free and open to anyone who qualifies for special Olympics. If you would like more information, contact Judy Moore at 813-417-3751.