Area26 news & updates
Mid November 2021 | Issue 27
Let me win, but if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt.
EDITOR'S NOTE: SOVA and NOVASOVA are still working on the details for the Basketball program, and Winter sports will have plans shortly. We will take a publication break for December, but WILL blast any specifics on activities that have short-notice.

Congratulations to all of the teams and competitors from the Fall Games for a VERY strong Area showing. Besides this newsletter, I will be posting pictures and updates on the website soon.

Also, as always, please send comments, article suggestions, articles and photos to me at:
Area 26 Policy...
Face Mask 1
All athletes and volunteers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination if participating in close contact and/or team sports. Additionally, SOVA Policy requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination for all athletes, volunteers and coaches participating in indoor, overnight or away events. This includes any local, regional, state or national invitational events. Proof of vaccination must be sent to SOVA and Area 26 (please see Return to Activities Resources in the section below). 

Athlete families, please verify with your coaches that your paperwork has been approved before arriving for practice or events. The coaching and volunteer staff cannot accept the forms in person and grant immediate access, as SOVA has the approval authorization.

NOTE: When you submit the athlete paperwork via the email address (and volunteer packages to the address) they go both to the Area AND to SOVA for processing.
Area 26 stormed the VA Beach area (and fought REAL storms) for Fall Games on the 6th and 7th..Highlights follow...
Eagles Red, Gold Medal
GMU Stars, Gold Medal
GMU Patriots, Bronze in Double overtime...
GMU Mason Nation, Gold Medal
GMU Green Machine, Silver Medal
Eagles Orange, Bronze Medal
GMU Gold Rush, Gold Medal
Screaming Eagles - awaiting input from the Coaching Staff
Soccer Action...Eagles Red
Mason Nation in Motion
Green Machine chowing down before the day
Green Machine ready
The WarHawks played hard through 4 competitive matches - in the finals, the team came back from a 7 point deficit in the first game of the final match to win overall and finish with GOLD!!
Our Bocce Crew performed well at the tournament bringing back one individual Gold, three individual Silvers and two more Silvers for doubles - we will provide more details on the website in early December...
The Golf team performed admirably under the worst possible weather for the sport (40 mile and hour wind gusts in rain all weekend...) they still came out with 10 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze for their efforts. Individual Stats will be on the website as an update by December 1st.
Flag Football State Tournament
The Avengers traveled to Virginia Beach to represent the Area for the first time in the State Tournament. The team played VERY well, and ended up winning in overtime in the medal match to bring Gold back to Northern Virginia!!
The four-team top bracket competed on a much brighter Saturday for the State Title. The division included...
Chesapeake Meercats
...and the Chesapeake Cheer Squad
VB Cowboys
VB. Raiders
The Area 26 Avengers
The entire Division!
Screaming Eagles vs GMU
During an earlier season scrimmage tournament, our teams got to play in better weather...
Flag Football Southern VA Invitational
The Avengers assembled on Saturday October 9th, at Norfolk Academy for the first live play tournament since 2019. They won both games to take 1st overall, and earn a place for the State Games in November!
Golfers got in the swing for Fall Games in better weather...
Soccer Under the Lights...

Area 26 Soccer teams met with Area 14 teams at the brand new Paul VI campus on October 16th in Loudoun to resume the tradition of playing "under the lights". Highlight pictures are below.
Coach Leo Alonso had this to say about the event"...  Earlier in the week,  torrential rains were  forecast for last Saturday.   Coach Leo and PVI’s Associate Athletic Director Ken Kuberski (both eternal optimists) spent three days calming down administration and parents wanting to cancel this great event!!  
As it turned out, we had clear skies and a festive atmosphere as sixteen Area 26 teams played thrilling games over four hours.  This article sets forth what it’s all about:   Paul VI families and peer mentors,  Area 26 parents, coaches and athletes enjoying a wonderful  evening of soccer.   All participants proudly accepted Gold Medals donated by Porto Charities, Inc.  They were fantastic competitors pulling in the biggest crowd in its 20-year history."

The event was also covered by the Loudoun Times Mirror. You can read their article at the button below...
Andrew Benson Memorial Soccer Tournament
Bishop Ireton school in Alexandria hosted a very special soccer tournament on Halloween as part of their new Options program, which will be bringing the school into the fold for Area 26 activities. Area 26 Teams Gold Rush, Eagles Blue, Quicksilvers, Green Machine, Steelers, Condors, Eagles Red, Patriots, Alexandria Kicks, Screaming Eagles, White Oaks, Wakefield Warriors, Eagles Orange, Mason Nation, Davis Dons, Davis Diamonds, Stars, PVI Panthers and Pride all participated in the event.

Besides the games, there was Face and Pumpkin painting, and really great food all day. The school is already looking to support Basketball season as well. Thanks are due to Bishop Ireton staff, students and volunteers for this wonderful inaugural event!
Open Water Season Concludes Swimmingly...
. by John Ferris and Susan Pleskow
The Area 26 Open Water Swim Team, Potomac River Dolphins, concluded its 2021 season with a very successful swim in the Swim the Loop race in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Carl Alf (who will be representing Virginia next year in the USA Games!), Rose Pleskow, Bruce McGiboney, Luke Ferris and their unified partners had to overcome choppy water and a strong current to complete the 1.3 mile race. The Potomac River Dolphins would like to thank John Alf and Stephanie Pena (unified partners), John Beckerle (kayak support) and Kristen Smith who coordinates Swim the Loop and has always shown that she has “No Limits” to her inclusion of our athletes. 

The Potomac River Dolphins would like to congratulate Jenny Mitchell for completing the 5K Swim for the Potomac this year as well as thank Denis Crean and Wave One swimming for their continued support so the team could have a safe and successful season.

 Our Potomac River Dolphin team is grateful to Anne McLindon, from Rise Tide Swimming, for her continued open water swimming skill and safety instruction.
Plane Pull 2021 - a big day for Area 26 - and the donation page is still open...
-by Abby Lacy, Area Team Captain

Hello Everyone!

Big thanks to everyone that came out and helped us pull last weekend! We had an amazing day with high energy, dancing, and raising money for Special Olympics!! We even got to see some incredibly impressive worming from our very own break dancer, Tammy Kiser! 

As a team, we officially hit our goal ($5000!!) the day following the pull so HUGE THANKS to everyone that donated- we are forever grateful for your support! 

The donation page will stay up for a bit longer, so If up feel so inclined, you can donate at http

Thanks again for the generous donation from Coach DeLapp's Company, Vortex Companies LLC,

IMPORTANT: Please always remember when registering or donating to indicate your affiliation with Area 26 so that we get 1/2 of the proceeds to fund the local program!!
Ongoing Reminder - Return to Activities Resources

  • The plan to restart our sports follows the SOVA guidelines for the return-to-play effort (button #1). [NOTE: COVID-19 Educational material are on pp 20-24]

  • We continue to encourage our community to get vaccinated as soon as they can. *Athletes and Volunteers must be vaccinated and provide proof in order to participate in Area 26 close contact and/or team sports, staying overnight at away games, multi-day events and state games. Information about getting vaccinated can be found (button #2)

  • Each athlete and Volunteer will have to complete a COVID Waiver Form. The link is now to an updated copy which adds vaccination status - (button #3).[3] 

  • SOVA and the CDC provide information about what it means to be a “high risk” participant, and we encourage you to follow the guidance of both SOVA and the CDC in this regard (button #4).

  • Athletes with an expired Medical Form, will have to submit updates to all forms. The package now contains 8 pages - please complete and submit the full package (button #5).
Athletes, please email completed athlete forms AND front/back images of Vaccination Cards to: (this will deliver them to both the Area AND to SOVA - only the one email address is required)

In preparation for return-to-play, we are including a link below to the Volunteer Class A Certification Process on the Area 26 website. 

Volunteer Class A, and coach certifications must be updated every 3 years. Many certifications have expired, and many are due to expire. All volunteers are also required to have a COVID19 Waiver on file (button #3 above... ).
Volunteers, please email completed volunteer forms, certifications AND front/back images of Vaccination Cards to: (as with the athleteform email, this will deliver them to both the Area AND to SOVA - only the one email submission address is required)
Virtual Activities...
Hi Athletes,

As always, details and schedule can be found on the online resources page on the Website.
Fit-5 Fitness Pals Monthly Update...
The Fit5-Five...Chris, Tom, Dave, Max and Kyler are ready...
David Kellet-Forsyth showing fancy footwork...
Tom Merz on the ropes for the first tug at the Dulles Plane Pull!
Kyler Reese with Max Hershberger Ready for the Law Enforcement Pull (his 3rd plane...)
Kyler and teammate Stephen James at the top of the rope...
... and Fit5 duo Chris Robinson and Max Hershberger with Area 26 crew Avenger Jay Choi, Marques Lowery (Bocce Coordinator) and Billy Duquetter leaning into it...

Athletes Corner
  • by Max Hershberger
Hello Area 26!!

Hope you're doing well and staying active by working out daily...Stay hydrated and make sure to eat good, healthy meals and get good sleep!!

-Keep on staying Hydrated, exercising,!eating good healthy meals and getting good hours of sleep as well.

We just finished the Fall Season, where I went with the WarHawks Volleyball Team tio State Championships on November 6-7th and we won Gold. Then I went BACK to Virginia Beach with the Avengers for football, and we won Gold there too!! Now it is time to get ready for Basketball...

Other things...

Cycling meet. In early October I did the cycling meet at Dover Delaware.. I did the 5k and the 10k. I got 1st place on my 5k and 2nd on my 10k for cycling.. I am looking forward more cycling events. If you’re interested in cycling please contact with Nancy Julia or Jeff Mciboney.

Flag football- Back in October I had our other flag football tournament in Virginia Beach. We had a good tournament and we won both our games.

Plane Pull- we had the annual plane pull on October 23rd at Dulles airport on that Saturday. We represented Area 26. This was my first time ever to pull the plane and I really enjoyed it. Can’t wait for the next year to do it again. To everyone who went, hope you all enjoyed it as well like me.

Fun activities- George Mason Basketball has started, and I will be going to the games this sea. on. Mason beat Stony Brook on November 9th season opening night. 

For your Winter Sports and Basketball, remember unvaccinated will not be able to participate... Please get your shot if you can that way we can make the season safe and enjoyable. 

Talk to you next month
Max Hershberger
Winter is Just About Here...and that is GREAT news, as it means that skiing will be back soon. The following is from Coach Ed Morrisey...
The Area 26 Alpine Ski and Snowboard team is looking for new members. Some previous experience in skiing or snowboarding is helpful. Athletes compete in three disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, and super giant slalom (super-g) in novice, intermediate and advanced categories. We follow the International Ski Federation (FIS) rules for racing, modified slightly for our athletes. Our very experienced coaching staff (including a World Winter Games Alpine Coach) will help athletes become the best racers that they can be. 

Our athletes train before the snow flies to get in shape for the demands of skiing and snowboarding. We work on endurance, strength, and quickness to get everyone ready for the slopes.

Once there is snow, we're off to Ski Liberty in Carroll Valley, PA to get time on the slopes preparing for competition. We teach athletes the basics of racing - how to start, go through gates, and most importantly, stop at the end of the run!

We meet on Sunday mornings beginning in November for both preseason training and on-snow practices. The season runs into early March, or for as long as the snow and funding holds out. For more information on skiing, please contact Head Coach Ed Morrissey at, or for snowboarding, Marta Morrissey at
Stay Healthy, Stay Active!!
We love to have your pictures - so keep busy and...
Revealing the Champion in all of us...
Please continue to share information about this newsletter and website with those you know in the community so that we can better share the wonder of our special athletes and volunteers. To sign up to receive the newsletter, go to our webform Newsletter Subscription
Area 26 Points of Contact
Area 26 Council

Elaine Tilton

Chuck Adkins-Blanch
Patrick DeLapp
Billy Duquette
Jeffrey Eskridge
Christine Fowler
Max Hershberger
Jay Hoffmeier
Veronica Jennings
Nancy Julia
Abby Lacy
Katherine Martin
Jeff McGiboney
Tejas Patel
Nancy Robbins
Bernie Woolfley
Area 26 Special Olympics |
Season Directors
Elaine Tilton, Fall/Winter

Nancy Julia, Spring/Summer

Barry Tilton

Volunteer Coordinator
Tejas Patel

Athlete Representative
Max Hershberger

Medical Coordinator
Christine Fowler

Senior Director, Potomac Region
Veronica Jennings
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