Shadow Gryphons win bronze in bocce at Special Olympics Provincial Championships

Things were not exactly going the Shadow Gryphons’ way.

The four-member team of students from Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS) got a pep-talk from their coaches, Anna Hanson and Allanna Vargo, to get them focused and back on track.

Credit: Anna Hanson | Facebook

The students, Aiden Grantham, Lorenzo Sherwood, Hannah Schneider and Aurora Lachapelle, were completing at the Special Olympics Provincial Championships in bocce, in Chatham earlier this month.

The team name, said Hanson, was chosen by Grantham and was inspired by his interest in mythology and medieval history.

It’s a “mystical creature hidden in the darkness and fused into a shadow gryphon,” she explained.

Hanson told Fort Erie Radio in order for the team to make provincials, they had to first win their regional competition.

At provincials on June 11, the team played in division games. The next day they also participated in a round robin.

But the team found themselves in a tough spot, sitting in last, and worried about winning a medal. They had practiced with outdoor bocce balls but both the provincial and regional levels used indoor balls.

Hanson said she reminded the students they were not there to win medals but instead to have fun and make friends.

“Once I told them that they just forgot about the whole competition and played their best,” said Hanson.

Their best ending up seeing the team put up a 7-1 victory to earn a bronze medal.

Hanson said the best part was “seeing the huge smiles on their faces when they won the bronze” adding that the team had made the Specialized School to Community Department and the high school proud.

She offered a “big thank you to Brian from Spirit Wear 365 for donating our jerseys and to Aiden Grantham for designing them.”

Hanson also said she enjoyed the opening and closing ceremonies and that she looks forward to the team competing again next year in Ottawa.

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