Area26 news & updates

Winter 2023 | Issue 39

Let me win, but if I cannot win,
Let me be brave in the attempt.

In this edition...

  • State Games / Fall Season
  • Football Champions
  • Nysmith Fundraiser
  • Remembering Evan Patchett
  • Joe Smith Welcome
  • New Social Opportunity
  • Polar Plunge 24
  • Fit5 Fall
  • Golf Fundraiser
  • Athlete's Corner
  • Coach of the Quarter
  • Health Corner
  • Virtual Activities
  • Upcoming Events
  • Area 26 Participation Policy 
  • Registration Resources
  • Staff Directory

Winter Sports practices have begun!!

Opening Ceremonies

Saturday evening's events this year included a very unique steel drum performer, our very own Lee Blakeman (blue shirt...) as part of the torch crew final, and a Fall-Festival dance.

Area Chair Elaine Tilton and SOVA President David Thomason at the ceremony.

The DJ warming up the crowd before the big event.

Fun at the beach before checkin!!

Holiday Inn Resort - home away...`

We were lucky enough to get the Area 26 Crew into the Holiday Inn Resort North Beach on the water in Virginia Beach once again this year.

Our knights in shining aprons returned again this year...The Knights of Columbus VA Beach section took time out of their schedules to feed our hungry crew dinner and breakfast, which were both filling and delicious. The KoC was also the major sponsor of the Championships, and hosted the Honor Guard for all of the ceremonies.

The hungry mob...


-by Laura Cameron

Area 26 Bowlers came away with Silver!

Rebecca Cameron,Marie Hock, Jenny Blakeman and Lee Blakeman came from behind after the first round on Saturday to walk away as Silver Champions!!  


- by Robin Utz

Another great season of Fall Golf! We remain grateful to our coaches and unified partners as our skills continue to improve. Many of our golf athletes had personal bests during the Fall Champs 2023. 

The 2-day competition across all levels, wading on the shore at the beach, watching Opening Ceremony and dancing, we left Fall Champs filled with team spirit for Area 26 and thrilled we made new friends across Virginia.

Results: Level 5

Andrew Allen - Gold;

David Curtin - Silver

Level 3

Jinho Chang/Coach Nicholas Kirwan - Silver

Level 2

Michael Abraham/Coach Sandy Scwartz - Bronze

Michelle Otterness/Coach Gail Whalen - Silver

Charles Nguyen/Coach Tim Nguyen - Gold

Elisabeth Atkinson-Richter/Coach Charlie Atkinson - Bronze

Micheal Long/Coach Joe Long - 4th place Grant Harris/Coach Robin Utz - Ineligible to place. 

Level 1 - Skills Competition 

Scott Eichmann- Gold

Jack Sander - Silver

Nathan Gibson - Bronze

Alex Park - Silver

Jarrett Datoc - Silver

Dan Hartle - Bronze

Coaches Sue Datoc and Jason Eichmann - GOLD for being top ranked Level 1 coaches (by the golf coordinator) 


Eagles Blue Shines for Silver

-by Jeff Orazi

The Eagles Blue team represented Area 26 proudly at Virginia State soccer competition over the weekend of November 4-5.  The team showed up excited and ready to play with a ferver that only state championships can stir. Showing well against multiple teams during  seeding rounds on Saturday, the Eagles Blue were placed in Division 1 against tough competition. 

Round 1 of play Sunday, the Eagles faced a Stafford team that they had never completed against before. Veteran Khang Le turned two early steals into goals setting the tone for a solid performance in which 5 of the Eagles 10 players scored - scorers were Khang Le, Eve Lotterer, Bobby Opelia, Bryan Rojas, and Chris Romero. The Eagles’ passing, teamwork, and unselfish play was a clinic on how Special Olympics athletes operate - it was beautiful.

Round 2 the Eagles faced their area 26 rivals GMU Gold Rush. The teams know each other well, facing off weekly at Area 26 soccer events.  Despite valiant and impressive efforts of all of the Eagles players, Gold Rush bested the Eagles that day. 

The Eagles Blue team proudly donned their Silver Medals at the awards ceremony following the games!

The Fairfax Condors brought home the Silver Medal in their division at the State Games (photo by Rita Updike)

Diamonds Sparkle ✨ at States - by Tana Lesure

The Diamonds traveled to Virginia Beach for the Soccer Tournament.

They had a successful first day on the field and looked forward to the Opening Ceremonies that evening. For them, the dance was the highlight, dancing and meeting athletes from around the State.  

On Sunday the team won the silver medal in their division.  They played with heart., sportsmanship and determination It was a wonderful way to end the season. Can’t wait until next year!

Eagles Orange finds Silver at the Beach - by Kevin Murphy

Eagles Orange participated in two divisioning games on Saturday with final scores of 1-0 (win) and 0-0. Following all of the divisioning, Eagles Orange was placed in Division 6 with the Screaming Eagles and Kirk's Kickers from the Staunton area. 

Our Sunday games were highly competitive and very tense for the players, coaches, and family/friends. Eagles Orange played the Screaming Eagles in a 9:00a game. The Screaming Eagles jumped out to a first half lead of 2-0, but Orange managed to tie the game at 2-2 by halftime. The second half was a back-and-forth tussle, with Orange taking the lead, Screamers tying the game, and eventually Orange taking the lead with only a few minutes remaining. Eagles Orange won the game 4-3. The second game was just as close with Kirk's Kickers winning 1-0. The Kickers took the lead in the first half, and despite some excellent goal chances by the Orange players, we were not able to tie score. The final game in the Division was between the Kickers and Screaming Eagles, and the Kickers prevailed. 

Eagles Orange won the silver medal in the division with a record of 1-1.

GMU Soccer Roundup...- by Leo Alonso

GOLD RUSH, for the fifth year in a row, once again came away with a Gold Medal as the Top Team in the Top Division in the State of Virginia.  


They were victorious in their first game vs. the Prince William Howitzers.  The team came out in fine spirits with David scoring in the first two minutes to set the tone. The defense was outstanding with Mac, Kevin, Leon, Noah, and Christian at goal. Scoring goals were David, 2; Ben, 2; and Eli, 1.


In the championship game vs. the Eagles Blue, the team kept the pressure on leading to a 5-0 victory and a shut-out by Christian. The team had a tight defense that rarely allowed the Eagles past midfield. Scoring were David, 4; and Mac, 1.


Great tournament; great dominance by a very strong, well-coached team! Kudos to Coach Chris Carter and Assistant Coach Jim Rill!

PATRIOTS, in their first game vs. the Chesapeake Tigers, jumped to a 2-0 lead, falling behind 3-2, and tying 3-3 at the end of regulation time. The team went into overtime where they had numerous open attacks on the opponent’s goal only to overshoot the goal. Tigers finally scored at the end for a 4-3 victory.


In the second game vs. the Chesterfield Force, they were defeated 4-2 after two very tough games.  


It was a great weekend! For next year, Patriots will concentrate on getting closer to the goal and booting the ball into the net.

STARS (contributed by Donna Vostal)


The George Mason Stars took the Bronze as they played their hearts out for their expert new coach, Molly. The first game against the Virginia Beach Eagles was tricky. Up by 2 goals, with a score of 1 to 3, the Stars went into the second half confident. While the Stars scored another goal, the Eagles got a lucky high goal from midfield and then another quick 2 goals giving them the win 4-3. It was a difficult loss but the Stars should be proud because the Eagles ended up with the Gold.


The Stars focused on the win in the second game against the Chesterfield Crush, with Coach Molly giving positive and smart directions to all of the Stars as the game progressed.  The Stars scored 2 goals, then the Crush tied the score. They fought hard and with a total team effort the Stars rallied, scored 2 more goals, took the win and the Bronze. 


All of the players were fantastic and just kept getting better as the games moved on. Veronica was a wall at Goalie with Beth doing a terrific job subbing in during the first game. Eva, Stephanie and Beth played excellent defense, using their soccer smarts to anticipate their opponent’s next move. Morgan and Celeste are quite a great duo on attack, pushing hard against the defense as they kept putting shots on goal, especially in the first game. Beth showed her super skills both in defense and offense. Annie and Sarah really revved up their games for this tournament, their impact was visible! The Stars players are smart, strong and exciting to watch!  Congratulations on the Bronze, great job!!!!

Eagles Red wins Gold (Photos by Bill Whiteside and Barb Lotterer)

Screaming Eagles Bring in Bronze (photos by Marjie Grey and Omeima Khidir)


The WarHawks shined in Shenandoah and returned again this year with Gold!

This year the WarHawks competed fiercely against several top-notch teams at the State Games and won the Bronze overall.

YOUR 2023 WarHawks

Front Row: Sam Selnick, Hoang Phan, Chris Robinson, Kyler Reese, Stephen James, our KoC Honor Guard

Second Row: Coach Christine Fowler, Jacqui Calloway, Coach Cameron Murphy, Kia Hill, Nick Ortega, Ben Fowler, Sean Minnick, Austin Ward, Coach Barry Tilton, Head Coach Alina Tilton

Flag Football brings back Gold at NIRSA

The Avengers (shown here sporting their State Games Bronze Medals) competed in two tournaments and a scrimmage besides the AOG Combat Zone reported on last month.

Once again this year they scrimmaged with the main Area 23 Team (also, interestingly, called the Avengers...), and then moved on to Richmond for the big show.

In their fourth season attending the Fall Flag Championships, the divisioning rules had us face the best competitor (our rivals the D-Boys in the first round. As a result, we came away with a Bronze this year, but are ready to re-secure Gold next season.

Five of our players got the opportunity to join a Virginia all-star team for the North Carolina NIRSA this year. Players Austin Ward, Chris Robinson, Kyler Reese and Bryan Boyd (Front Row)..Kevin Miller, Nick Donlon, Nathaniel Green, Head Coach Matt Elliston and Matt Sapienza (Back Row) contributed to an excellent crew, coming away with GOLD. Receiver Chris Robinson was selected for the All-Tournament Team Recognition for his position!!

SOVA Football Coordinator Marcus Leggett presenting Chris with his certificate

Coach Tilton and Chris with SOVA senior staff (David Thomason, Bryan Schubring, Dave Pawlowski) and athlete Jacqui Calloway celebrating the award.

The team then proceeded on to Maryland to compete in the NIRSA Regional Championship there. The full team battled groups from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Tennessee and won the Traditional Level tournament.

After the success at Maryland, the team earned a slot at the National Championship Tournament in Oklahoma City from the 18th to the 20th of December. The only Virginia team invited to date!

The trophy...First ever earned by a Virginia team!!

The medal winning crew with the NIRSA Trophy

In honor of Veterans Day, the team's Tournament Medals were presented in the manner of the military's traditional coin ceremony by the three service veteran coaches (Tom, Barry and Jim).

The Full Traditional Division at NIRSA

Your 2023 Avengers

Front Row: Hoang Phan, Billy Duquette, Tony Linthicum, Stephen James, Sam Selnick

Second Row: Coach Tom Lipovski, Matt Sapienza, Nick Donlon, Jay Choi, Chris Robinson, Nick Ortega, Austin Ward, Sean Minnick, Max Hershberger, Coach Jim Warson, Tom Merz, Kyler Reese, Coach Barry Tilton

Not Pictured: Head Coach Matt Elliston

Nysmith Fundraiser...

Once again with the turn of the Fall, the talented students of the Nysmith School and members of our Legends and GMU basketball gathered for the 2023 edition of the Make-the-Point fundraiser to shoot for funds. Global Messenger Kyler Reese once again spoke (live for the first time since 2020) at the kickoff. Athletes Stephen James, Tony Linthicum and Sean Minnick joined Kyler on the court to help the athletes shoot straight and true!

The event was their most successful ever by FAR, bringing in over $10,000. THANK YOU NYSMITH!!

Kyler giving the keynote opener at the Make The Point opening presentation, followed by Tony Linthicum and Stephen James presenting their perspective on what Special Olympics participation meant to them.

Take your best shot!!

Kyler, Stephen , Sean Minnick, Area Chair Elaine Tilton, PE Director Steve Balk, Katherine Michetti and Tony at the event

Steve and Katherine receiving special awards from Area 26 for their support to our programs.

Region Director Joe Smith and Area Chair Elaine Tilton receiving the collected donations from the Nysmith Special Olympics Fundraising Committee for Make the Point

From Right: Joe, Camille Prunka, Elaine, Katherine Michetti,

Stacy Kerzner, and Sabine Heisman

In Memoriam...Remembering

Evan Matthew Patchett

July 17, 1992  -  December 3, 2023

Long time Area 26 SO Athlete Evan Patchett passed away at Inova Loudoun Hospital at the age of 31. He graduated in 2011 from Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, VA, where he was in the Options Program, and graduated in 2014 from the John S. Davis Career Center in Falls Church, VA.

Evan was a VERY active Special Olympian who was getting ready for Basketball Season just a short time ago. Evan was an outgoing sports and movie enthusiast with MANY friends in the area. He will be sincerely missed by all who knew him.

His full obituary can be found at the button below.

His family has requested that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to SO Area 26 or to his former employer ECHO

Evan Patchett Obituaury

Welcome Party...

Area 26 Leadership, council members (current and former), season directors, sports coordinators, long time coaches, global and health messengers attended a Meet and Greet, welcoming the new Potomac Region Director, Joe Smith and Congratulating Veronica Jennings on her promotion as the AVP of Local Programs.  

This was the first in person gathering of Area leaders since the COVID shut down.

Chair Elaine Tilton hosted the event to introduce Joe to the area leaders and thank Veronica for her long and wonderful service to our community.

New Social Opportunity...

Great Vibe Events

(Ages 18 and above)

Andy, Mark and Jimmy Boone are three brothers who have dedicated their lives to helping individuals with disabilities.Their motivation and inspiration come from their love for their sister, Faith Boone, who was born with Down syndrome and passed away at the age of three from a heart condition.

Faith's impact on her brothers' lives was immediate and profound. Although she was with them for a short period of time, Faith lived every day fighting with a smile to achieve small successes that most people take for granted. Faith's strong determination and love for life were the cornerstone of what made these brothers who they are today.

The Boone brothers started volunteering at a young age in organizations like Best Buddies, and volunteer programs that support the neurodiverse community. They loved seeing the individuals grow and learn through the many activities they participated in. They also learned valuable lessons about compassion, empathy, and inclusion from the relationships they’ve built over these years.

After graduating High School, the oldest brother Jimmy, began working at Jills House, a Christian nonprofit that provides short term overnight respite care for families raising kids ages 6-17 with intellectual disabilities where he spent several years. After his time there, Jimmy teamed up with Andy, & Mark, and together they began working with Fairfax County as the lead instructors of their Tuesday Evening Adaptive fitness course taught at Providence Rec center in Falls Church, VA. A course that was developed for individuals with intellectual abilities to help them exercise, build strength, and of course have fun. In fact, that is where you can still find Andy and Mark Boone every Tuesday as they enter their 6th year with the program!

The Boone brothers' passion for helping others led them to start Great Vibe Events, a non-profit company that organizes and hosts fun, educational, and social events for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The core belief of Great Vibe Events is that everyone deserves to have positive and meaningful experiences, regardless of their abilities or challenges. At Great Vibe Events, we believe that everyone deserves to have fun, learn new skills, and connect with others.

That said, they have officially announced their first event! This event will be held at the Unity of Fairfax Church in Oakton on Jan. 13th, 2024. 

Address: 2854 Hunter Mill Rd, Oakton, VA 22124
Date: 01/13/2023
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm
You can register online at the button below.
For more information, or any questions: please reach out to [email protected].
Great Vibe Events Informaiton and Event Registration

Polar Plunge 2024...

Polar Plunge Season is upon us. Our Area 26 Plunge Team, the Ice Dippers, is open for registration and donations for the Prince William Site. Area 26 Team leader Coach William "Bill" Creighton is leading a team for cold water excitement. 

The event is February 17th at Leesylvania State Park!

Make sure if you sign up to plunge or donate, you do it on Bill's team, so that Area 26 gets their half of the funds collected!!


Ice Dippers Plunge Page


Basketball Practice gets under way...

First on the court for 2023-24 is the Belfonte Wizards...time for the hardwoods!

Fit5 returns...

Fit5 Crew were all over the fields and courts this year with performances in tennis, track, football, volleyball and soccer, amongst other things.

Did YOU keep busy this Fall?

Tom Merz working the corner-control route for Flag Defense

Jay Choi practicing to receive the deep pass

Max Hershberger at the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon!

Chris Robinson receiving his Medal at NIRSA North Carolina

David Kellet-Forsyth taking a pass at the 2023 State Games

Kyler Reese demonstrating lifting techniques as SO Fitness News contributor

Area 26 Fall Fundraiser Golf Tournament - Another Great Success!

-by Chuck Roney

105 golfers supporting Area 26 athletes!

The 18th Annual Area 26 Golf Tournament honoring Mark Emery raised nearly $50,000 to help fund Area 26's activities.

One hundred and five golfers, including several Area 26 golfers, turned out to play on October 19 at Westfields Golf Club in support of Area 26's athletes.  

The Alexandria Wealth Management team of Jeffrey Erhardt, Rick Talente, Mark Fowler and Chong Yi won the tournament with a winning score of 14 under!

With more proceeds still in bound, the Tournament raised nearly $50,000 for Area programs!!

Congratulations to the Golf Tournament committee of Robin Utz, Rich Wolf, Sheila Erhardt, Sue Datoc, Marjorie Gray, Charles Atkinson and Chuck Roney for a highly successful campaign!

A message from the Area Chairman...

To the Area 26 Golf Fundraising Committee; Chair Chuck Roney, Robin Utz, Rich Wolf, Sheila Erhardt, Sue Datoc, Marjorie Gray, and Charles Atkinson, 

Volunteering is an act of heroism on a grand scale. Thanks to your efforts and generosity, your willingness to give your time and service is greatly appreciated. 

The funds raised from the Mark Emery Memorial 18th Annual Area 26 Golf Tournament Fundraiser will help us continue to meet the needs of our community by providing the much needed sports programs. Not only does your work support our organization, it allows us to continue to fulfill our mission and serve the athletes in the Area 26 program each year.  

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” 

-Margaret Mead 

Joey Roney showing signed Chase Young Commanders Jersey that he won in the silent auction.

Greg Baroni, President of Attain Sports and owner of the Bowie Bosox baseball team, speaking at the Awards Dinner.

Teddy Hackemer, Joy Cavagnaro and Joey Roney

Twenty Area 26 golfers participated in the tournament with the team of Bob Opeila, Nicholas Kirwan, John Ajello and Andrew Allen finishing tied for fourth place with a score of 10 under par.

Area 26 Golf Coordinator Robin Utz, center, won the women’s long drive contest

Athletes Corner

  • by Kia Hill

Hello Area 26!!!!!

Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your fall sports. This month I have some more athlete chats to share...

On the way to/from and at Fall Games, I spoke to Christian, Eve, David and Jack - here are the interviews...

Christian Graham

Q) How long have been a special Olympics athlete 

A) Over 10 years

Q) What sports do you play for what teams?

A) Basketball and Soccer - both for Gold Rush

Q) What is your favorite pro sport team.

A) Every NFL Team

Q) What do you do outside of sports?

A) Take Walks. 

Q) Did you get a medal?

A) Yes, we got Soccer Gold

Eve Lotterer

Q) How long have been a special Olympics athlete 

A) 26 years

Q) What sports do you play for what teams?

A) Basketball - Eagles Silver, Soccer Blue - Eagles Blue, Gymnastics, Cheer and Special Olympics Swimming

Q) What do you do outside of sports?

A) Play piano and viola and hang out with friends.

Q) What was favorite part of Fall Games?

A) Playing Defense! 

Q) Did you get a medal?

A) Yes, Silver

David Kellett-Forsyth

Q) How long have been a special Olympics athlete 

A) Over 10 years

Q) What sports do you play for what teams?

A) Basketball, Soccer, and Track

Q) What is your favorite pro sport team.

A) Paris Saint Germain

Q) What do you do outside of sports?

A) Play video games, party, travel hangout with my boys and play pick up soccer

Q) What was favorite part of Fall Games?

A) Going out there and having fun being there with friends

Q) Who is your hero?

A) Kylian Mbappe

Q) Did you get a medal?

A) Yes, we got Soccer Gold

Jack Gibson

Q) How long have been a special Olympics athlete 

A) 16 years

Q) What sports do you play for what teams?

A) Soccer and Basketball at GMU

Q) What do you do outside of sports?

A) I do homework and spend time with my family.

Q) What is your favorite pro sport team.

A) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Q) Who is your hero?

A) My Parents

Q) What was favorite part of Fall Games?

A) Being with my friends and doing the activities!

See you on the courts!

Kia Hill

[email protected]

Coaches of the Quarter

- Alina Tilton and Cameron Murphy, Volleyball; and Tom Lipovski, Football

Hello Area 26!! For my first time as Coach of the Quarter interviewer I got the chance to talk to two of my coaches for the Volleyball team, the WarHawks.  Alina Tilton and Cameron Murphy.

Alina and Cameron came down each week from Penn State to coach volleyball along with working their internships...THAT is commitment! Here is my interview...

Max- How long have you two been involved in SO? 

Alina- My older brother is a Special Olympics athlete and has been since I can remember. I grew up with Special Olympics and volunteering for the neurodiverse community. I have been a Special Olympics Volleyball coach since my freshman year of high school so about 8 years now.

Cameron- I’ve only started to be involved with Special Olympics in August 2023 for the Warhawks.

Max- Alright, you did great at it and the athletes enjoyed it. Can’t wait to have you both back for the Warhawks coach next season! What is your favorite moment as a coach?

Alina - Fall Champs my first year of coaching. Our team was the first volleyball team for Special Olympics, and it was the first time most of the athletes played the sport as well as being on a team together. We had lost every game leading up to Fall champs because there was a lot of learning happening. All the sudden the players came together and showed everything that was learned from the practices and earned Gold overall. The moment of seeing the athletes click and work together was the proudest moment for me as a coach. All the hard work paid off with winning gold and see the faces of the athletes light up through their accomplishment.

Cameron- One of my many favorite moments as a coach is our first tournament. We mostly practice outside and hadn’t had much practice on an actual court so to see everyone work made me proud.


Max- Anything you would like to say about your day job?

Alina- I am an intern for a cybersecurity company and my shift requires that I test cameras at night. I am also the communications trainer and an operations director.

Cameron- I also work at night with cybersecurity and cameras, running field tests on the equipment. 

Max- that’s pretty cool!! What was your favorite thing about Virginia Beach at state games?

Alina- The bonding time between the athletes as well as the rush of adrenaline experienced through competition.

Cameron- I would say that my favorite part was the last game and our medal ceremony. It made me extremely happy to see that the team was satisfied and it was great to reflect onto the season and everyone’s hard work.

Max - Ok Mr. Rookie Coach- Can’t wait to have you back for the next season. Glad you enjoyed it and coaching hard with the athletes.   Seems like you are both perfect coaches for the Warhawks team. Looking forward to seeing great things next season

Go Warhawks on 3!!!

I also had the chance for a short profile of the Avengers Defensive Coordinator Tom Lipovski.

SO Position: Assistant flag football coach, defensive coordinator

Profession: Attorney 

Football background: "I played football in high school, the air force academy, and the university of Texas"

Advice: Be an energy giver to your team. You can do that by giving full effort, being excited when your teammate makes a play, or picking up a teammate when a play doesn't go they're way. And have fun! 

Looking forward for the winter sports coming up and I bet you're ready for it as well.. Talk to you all in the Spring in the next newsletter 😊

Another Coach next time, till then keep working out!!

Max Hershberger

[email protected]

Health Corner...

(This month excerpted from Kyler's column in the SOVA Fitness News)

by Kyler Reese

HI Everyone!!

Hi everyone!! Fall is ending, and it is going to get harder to exercise outside as it gets colder. One of my favorite ways to stay in shape and toned in fall and winter is to add some weightlifting to my routine.

To be fair, I do some lifting daily year-around, because it is a quick way to target muscles I need for my sports. But in the winter, my workouts get longer and more intense, because so does our time on the couch playing games and watching TV!

Here are some of the exercises my weightlifting friends and I do, as well as some steps to make sure you stay safe:

Low weight/High rep routines – use hand weights (dumbbells or filled plastic milk cartons – something easy to grab and hold for a long time)

Weight size – from 5-15 pounds, depending on how much practice you have had and how comfortable you are to safely do the exercise

Reps – start with 20 and increase by 5 each week until you get to about 50 (if you can)


  1. Curls – hold the weights with your arms down and lift from the elbow till your bent arms touch your chest. This works your biceps.
  2. Butterflies (this one is hard…) – hold the weights with your arms out to your sides at shoulder height, then bring your arms in front of you, keeping the weight level the whole time. This one is for your pectoral (chest), deltoid and shoulder muscles.
  3. Raises – Hold the weights close to your body at shoulder height and push them over your head till your arms are straight. Good for your triceps in your upper arms.
  4. Sitting curls – sit in a chair where you can easily move your arms, and raise the weights from your lap to your chest. Again, this works the biceps, but more from the side. 
  5. Wrist curls – while still in the chair, lift the weight ONLY using your wrist. This will make your forearms much stronger for holding a bat or throwing.  

If you have the energy, add a series of push ups and crunches right after you do this workout, and you will see a big improvement in endurance and muscle tone.

You should work on about six areas of your upper body and alternate every other day with squats while holding the weights to increase resistance and strengthen your legs for running.

These are really good for increasing endurance and strengthening your “slow twitch” muscles.

If you swim, run track, or play a sport like soccer or basketball with a LOT of running involved, these exercises will make it easier to play for the full time or complete your race with energy for the finish.

High weight/Low rep routines

Weight size – from 25-100 pounds, depending on how much practice you have had and how comfortable you are to safely do the exercise

Reps – start with 6 and increase each week by 2 until you get to about 12; then increase the weight by 10 pounds

This kind of lifting is for developing muscle bulk and strength. It is usually done at a gym, but you can start at home with a few of the exercises to get used to a rhythm. There are lots of websites to show you how to do these lifts. BUT you should have a partner nearby, since the heavier weight can sneak up on you.

Don’t have weights around at home? You can make some…

Like I said earlier, plastic milk jugs make a great hand weight. Just fill them with either water or sand, and you are all set. If you need more work for your core muscles, you can also hold the weights while you are doing your crunches, and you will get stronger fast!

Hope you have fun getting in shape!

I hope you have a great winter season, and happy holidays! 

Talk to you next time,


Motions for the Butterfly Lift

Motions for the Raise Lift

Virtual Activities...

Hi Athletes,

As always, details and schedule can be found on the online resources page on the Website. As you can see below, YOUniquely Fit is going strong...

YOUniquely Fit Workout Zoom Link
SOVA and NOVSOVA Online Activities

Upcoming Basketball Tournament events...

Saturday, Jan. 6th   Loudoun Basketball Invitational Tournament //Sites TBD

Sunday, Jan. 21st     Area 26 Tournament // Episcopal HS (Alexandria)

Oakton HS (Vienna) and Woodson HS (Fairfax)

Sunday, Feb. 11th.    Area 26 State Games Warmup Tournament //

Oakton HS (Vienna), Twain MS (Alexandria) and Woodson HS (Fairfax)

Feb 24-25                  Basketball Championships in Richmond

Opportunities to volunteer and help at these events can be found at the button below...

Area 26 Volunteering
Area 26 Participation Policy...

The US, the State of Virginia and SOVA have declared that the COVID pandemic is officially over. Area 26 is now operating under normal rules. As always, if you are sick, do not join in group activities where you might infect others. For those with compromised immune systems, Masks are recommended but not required.

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.

More information and COVID19 Isolation Guidelines from the CDC

NOTEWhen you submit the athlete paperwork via the [email protected] email address (and volunteer packages to the [email protected] address) they go both to the Area AND to SOVA for processing.

-- See the Registration Resources section (farther down) for links to all forms --

Registration Resources


Athletes require renewal of their medical certifications every three years (dated from the doctor's signature). Athletes with an expired Medical Form will have to submit updates to all forms. The package now contains 7 pages - please complete and submit the full package (button below).

SOVA Athlete Medical Forms

Athletes, please email completed athlete forms to: [email protected] (this will deliver them to both the Area AND to SOVA - only the one email address is required)

See the button below for Volunteer Class A Certification Process on the Area 26 website. 

Volunteer Class A, and coach certifications must be updated every 3 years. Coordinators should routinely check and inform their coaches when their packages are are due to expire.

Area 26 Class A Volunteer Certification Process

Volunteers, please email completed volunteer forms and certifications to: [email protected] (as with the athleteform email, this will deliver them to both the Area AND to SOVA - only the one email submission address is required)

Stay Healthy, Stay Active!!

We love to have pictures of your Special Olympics activities - so keep busy and...
Keep submitting your SO photos!!
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

Email: [email protected]


Elaine Tilton

Chuck Adkins-Blanch

Patrick DeLapp

Jeff Eskridge

Christine Fowler

Max Hershberger

Kia Hill

Jay Hoffmeier

Nancy Julia

Katherine Martin

Jeff McGiboney

Tejas Patel

Nancy Robbins

Joe Smith

Abby Whidden

Area 26 Special Olympics |

Season Directors

Elaine Tilton, Fall/Winter

[email protected]

Nancy Julia, Spring/Summer

[email protected]


Barry Tilton

[email protected]

Volunteer Coordinator

Tejas Patel

[email protected]

Athlete Representative

Kia Hill

[email protected]

Medical Coordinator

Christine Fowler

[email protected]

Director, Potomac Region

Joe Smith

[email protected]

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