First year Special Olympics basketball team, the Andover Rising Stars, competed in the assessment rounds at the River School in Weston, last month. The Andover Rising Stars went undefeated and won all of their games.
The Andover Rising Stars is comprised of a junior and senior team. Combined the team has about 16 players (athletes) and 30 mentors who attend Andover High School and the town's middle schools. Every Tuesday evening the team practices at the Pike School where athletes learn the flow and expectations of the game as well as the skills needed to be successful. The mentors serve as on court coaches to the athletes where the athletes do all the shooting.
"True team spirit was demonstrated by all," according to a release from Felicia Roumeliotis. "There has been much improvement in the skills and self confidence of the athletes throughout their first season together. Along with learning the game of basketball, friendship and bonding has been very visible as all athletes and mentors enjoy the game."
Junior team athletes of the Andover Rising Stars are Alyssa Clark, Matteo Raponi, Ian Angles, Ally Hoerl and Allison Clark. The mentors are Kaylie Demers, Madison Gorrasi, Emily McCormack, Clark Harrison, Niam Chopra, Nicole Raponi, Isaac Poritzky and Tyler Ricchiuto.
Senior team athletes of the Andover Rising Stars are Aidan Horan, Brandon McCormack, Michael Briggs, Rachel Gentile, Katie Garofoli, William Quirnbach and Nikos Wallingford. The mentors are Ben Preller, Alec Livingston. Chris Briggs, John Miller, Dina Roumeliotis, Lorenzo Raponi, Stephan Vaz, John McKeon and Andy Hook.
Coaches for the junior team are Shaun Angles and Peter Garofoli. The coach for the senior team is Dave Briggs along with Dustin and Arno Topps. The Andover Rising Stars was set to compete for the first time in the Special Olympics State Championship in Worcester on March 10 and 11.