Untitled Document

PRESS RELEASE
September 26, 2013

BLOOMFIELD BENGALS SPECIAL OLYMPICS ATHLETES HONORED
FOR MEDAL-WINNING PERFORMANCES AT SPECIAL OLYMPICS NJ SUMMER GAMES

Freeholder Brendan Gill Presents Board’s Commendations
To Softball, Track & Field and Bocce Ball Athletes

(Newark, NJ) – During the Wednesday, September 25th, meeting of the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders held at West Orange Town Hall, Freeholder Brendan Gill of Montclair honored members of the Bloomfield Bengals Special Olympics team who won gold, silver or bronze medals at the Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ) Summer Games held June 7-9, 2013, at The College of New Jersey in Ewing.  This year’s Games attracted more than 2,500 athletes from across the state who competed in seven sports: aquatics, bocce ball, gymnastics, powerlifting, softball, tennis and track & field. 

Freeholder Brendan Gill of Montclair (2nd row, far left) presented commendations to medal-winning members and coaches of the Bloomfield Bengals Special Olympics softball, track & field and bocce ball teams during the Board’s September 25th meeting held at West Orange Town Hall.  Also pictured with the athletes are Theresa Nevins, Coordinator for the Bloomfield Bengals (3rd row, far left), and Frank Petrucci, Area 9 Director for Essex County (4th row, far left).  The Special Olympics NJ Summer Games were held at The College of New Jersey June 7-9th.  (Photo by Glen Frieson)

Bloomfield Bengals Special Olympics athletes competing in softball, track & field and bocce ball brought home a total of 21 medals: the Softball Team captured the gold medal; members of the Track & Field Team won 3 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 8 bronze medals; and the Bocce Ball Team won 2 gold medals and 2 silver medals.

“As the District 5 freeholder representing Bloomfield, it is a pleasure and an honor for me to recognize the accomplishments of these medal-winning athletes from my district”, said Freeholder Gill.  “I’d just like to say how proud we are of you for your hard work and for representing yourselves, Bloomfield and Essex County so well.  I also applaud everyone involved in the Special Olympics Movement… the athletes, their coaches and families, and the thousands of volunteers who make it all possible”, said Gill.  “I can also guarantee you that you will have the full
support of all the freeholders and the County when New Jersey hosts the National Special Olympics next year!”

The Softball Team played in a 3-game, round-robin competition winning its first game, 7-0, falling just short, 4-5, in its extra-inning second game, but came back strong to win its third and deciding game, 6-0, to capture the gold medal.  The team was coached by Head Coach Cheri Daddis and Assistant Coaches Eddie Serrano, Amira El-Boghdedy, Kevin Zima, Patty DeFranco, Megan DeFranco and Melissa Gajewski, and was comprised of the following players: Christopher Benavides, Anthony Cianci, Sergio Ciccolella, Ian Crawley, Silvern Cush, Alex El-Boghdedy, Carl Fresco, Thomas Fresco, Samuel Garcia, Kelli Horan, Delon Noble, Derrick Noble, Adelaido Solante, Janaiah Thomas and Francis Velez.

Eleven different members of the Bloomfield Bengals Special Olympics Track & Field Team captured a total of 16 individual medals in the 100-Meter Dash, Softball Throw and Standing Long Jump events: Kwame Addae won a gold medal in the Softball Throw and a bronze medal in the 100-Meter Dash (M, 22-29); Alannah Browning-Brown won a gold medal in the Softball Throw (F, 16-21); Adrian Davis won a gold medal in the Standing Long Jump and a bronze medal in the 100-Meter Dash (M, 16-21); Kevin Davis won a silver medal in the 100-Meter Dash (M, 22-29); David DeLeon won a silver medal in the 100-Meter Dash and a bronze medal in the Softball Throw (M, 16-21); Michael Harrity won a silver medal in the Standing Long Jump (M, 16-21); Antonio Reyes won a silver medal in the Softball Throw (M, 16-21); Brendalis Rodriguez-Rivera won a silver medal in the Softball Throw and a bronze medal in the 100-Meter Dash (F, 22-29); Diana Hincapie won bronze medals in both the Softball Throw and 100-Meter Dash (F, 30+); Jonathan Medina won a bronze medal in the Standing Long Jump (M, 16-21); and Kevin Zeitlin won a bronze medal in the 100-Meter Dash (M, 30+).  The team was coached by Megan Leonard, Sharon Vanderlyn, Sergio Hincapie and Frank DeFranco.

The Bocce Ball Team sent five 2-person teams to the Games, and four of those teams won medals:  the team of Melissa Dolinac and Colleen Harle won the gold medal in the Female-12 Division; the team of Terrence McCarthy and Joseph Catalfamo won the gold medal in the Male-13 Division; the team of Lori Tesei and Rosalinda David won the silver medal in the Female-08 Division; and the team of Gabrielle DeBlasio and Jillian Francesco won the silver medal in the Female-10 Division.  The Bocce Ball teams, which competed in 2-game round robin competition within their divisions, were coached by Head Coach Joseph Kika and Assistant Coaches Megan DeFranco, Patty DeFranco and Dr. Alan Cebulski.

Frank Petrucci, the Area 9 Director for Essex County Special Olympics, thanked the Board for honoring the athletes and spoke about the Mission of the Special Olympics Movement: “To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

“This is quite an honor”, said Theresa Nevins, the Bloomfield Special Olympics Coordinator, “because this is the first time our programs have been honored in this fashion.”  She went on to thank Freeholder Gill and the Board of Freeholders for their “… generosity, kindness and compassion.”  She also made special note of the support Bloomfield Special Olympics receives from the Bloomfield Public Schools and community organizations, as well as volunteer coaches, all of whom make it possible to provide the programs at no cost to the athletes.

Bloomfield Special Olympics was established in 1977.  Since its early days, when it focused mainly on track & field, the program has grown to also include flag football, soccer, bowling, basketball, softball and bocce.  This year, under the leadership Ms. Nevins (who has served as Coordinator since 1989), Bloomfield Special Olympics sent 45 athletes to compete in the Summer Games.  Bloomfield Special Olympics is one of the local training programs within SONJ’s Area 9 (Essex County), which is led by Area Director Frank E. Petrucci and the Area Committee: Albina Bagano, Bob Beatrice, Bill Copeck Pat Deshenes, Larry Eckel, Debbie Fresco, Bob Gleason, Dante Mercurio, Captain Ken Miscia, Theresa Nevins, Keith Parsick and Dot Petrucci.

SONJ, which was founded in 1970, is headquartered in Lawrenceville and headed by its current president, Marc Edenzon.   Over the last 43 years, it has grown to include more than 20,000 volunteers, 20,000 family members and 23,000 athletes.  Part of a worldwide Special Olympics movement of sports training and athletic competition programs, SONJ’s mission is: “To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of

Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.”

For more information about Special Olympics, visit SONJ’s website at www.sonj.org, or the national organization’s website at www.specialolympics.org.

 

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
973-621-4452
Gkroessig@freeholders.essexcountynj.org

 

Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695