menu Home
Local NewsSports

Rockets represent Tuscarawas County at Special Olympics Winter Games

| March 12, 2024
The Rockets Cheer Squad won gold medal honors at state.

The Rockets recently brought home several awards from the 2024 Special Olympics Ohio Winter Games.  The event was held at Bowling Green State University, and the Rockets had athletes representing Tuscarawas County in Competitive Cheerleading, Skills Basketball, and Swimming.  The 3-day event featured almost 2,000 athletes from across the state and marked the last Winter Games to be held at Bowling Green.  Special Olympics Ohio has announced that next year, the statewide event will be held at The Ohio State University.

In Competitive Cheerleading, the Rockets participated in the Team Mount & Tumbling Division.  Thirteen teams were registered for the cheer competition, and the Rockets team earned gold.  This makes them back-to-back-to-back state champions in Competitive Cheer.  The squad is coached by Kat Arthurs, Julie Erwin, and Rhonda VanFossen.  Team members include Dolly Alsept, Kaylee Arthurs, Heather Baker, Julia Cloud, Emily Erwin, Lexi Lacheta, Chris McDade, Coco Miller, Ember Miller, Alexis Partridge, Rebekah Rothel, Jess Seevers, Tory Seevers, Stacey Shroyer, and Emma Ward.  Team member, Nicole Young, was unable to attend the event but practiced and performed with the squad the entire season.

In Skills Basketball, the Rockets had three athletes qualify for the state event.  Chelsea Lefler captured gold for the Rockets to start the day.  Grayson Johnson and Kody Miller both earned silver medals in their respective divisions.  Matthew Toole, Sr. coached the team who was also featured at a recent Strasburg Varsity Boys’ basketball game.

In Swimming, the Rockets received several awards.  The relay team of Steve Meredith, Andrea Morgan, Katie Ross, and Delores Weber earned silver medal honors in a packed division.  They shaved almost 20 seconds off of their qualifying times.  Earning individual awards for the Rockets were:  Jackson Gambs – silver in the 100m freestyle and  fifth in the 50m freestyle; Miranda Milburn – silver in the 50m backstroke and fourth in the 50m freestyle; Andrea Morgan – fourth in the 50m freestyle and fifth in the 50m backstroke; and Katie Ross – bronze medals in both the 25m freestyle and 25m backstroke.  The swim team is coached by Dee Dee Weber.

Athlete Chelsea Lefler, shared, “This was the best ever.  I win this gold medal for my friend Chuck.”  Chris McDade added, “I loved it.”

The Rockets have been preparing for state competition since October.  The Ruth Carlson-Starlight Foundation helped sponsor the trip to the state event.  The Uhrichsville Eagles sponsored the Rockets’ trip to Basketball Regionals at The SPIRE Institute in Geneva at the end of January.  The Rockets had three basketball teams compete at regionals.  Basketball season has concluded with a 3-on-3 tournament (hosted by the Rockets at Strasburg-Franklin Schools on February 10th), the 7th Annual Friendship Games (hosted by the Rockets at Strasburg-Franklin Schools on March 9th), and the Tuscarawas County Community Game (at Memorial Hall in Dover on March 20th).  Some members of the cheer squad participated in the Friendship Games and will take part in the Community Game and also took part in the first ever Rockets Cheer Invite on February 11th.

For information on how to get involved, just email Richelle at  Spring sports are currently getting ready to start.  Sports include bocce, bowling, powerlifting, track & field, and volleyball.  Spots are open for athletes, coaches, and unified partners!

The Rockets held their first ever Cheer Invite this season at Strasburg Schools.

The Rockets Swim Team poses for a photo before one of their practices at the YMCA.

The relay team of, from left, Steve Meredith, Andrea Morgan, Katie Ross, and Dee Dee Weber swam their way to a silver medal at SOOH Winter Games.

The Rockets hosted a 3-on-3 tournament with 12 teams participating. Fritz McGinnis (coach), Zach Dryden, Carter McConnell, and Matthew Medley were named to the all-tournament team.

Written by