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NEW PHILADELPHIA (Tusco TV) - The Tuscarawas County Rockets are boasting a few more medals in their trophy cases after another strong showing in Columbus.

The Rockets recently competed in the Special Olympics Ohio Summer Games in Columbus. Coordinator Richelle Leffler says the team competed with heart and determination in six of the 13 events, which resulted in another state championship title and every athlete bringing home at least one medal.

“In bocce, we got a gold medal and two of our teams got bronze. In bowling, all of our participants got silvers. Our unified volleyball team actually captured gold for our first year competing. Athletics, we had multiple gold and silvers,” she says. 

Lefler says the Rockets also made their debut in competitive cheerleading, which was offered for the first time this year as an exhibition-only event.  

“It was mostly to get the experience of performing in front of a crowd, performing a routine, getting the judges’ feedback. They wrote us up little feedback cards and things so that we knew what to look for in the future,” she says. 

Athlete Leadership Council Co-President Easton Dillon says the Rockets are now hoping to keep the momentum going as they move into softball season and get ready to travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Special Olympics North America national tournament.

“We’ve worked hard and we’ve captured five straight state titles for basketball, football, softball and then basketball again and volleyball,” he says. “We just want to continue the streak of winning and doing our best.”

Lefler says the community can support the team by attending their local games, quarterly pep rallies, and fundraising events. She says people can check out the TuscBDD Facebook page for event information and team updates.

Rocket achieving medals in the state summer games included:


  • Unified Volleyball: Team of Rachel Russell (captain), Rylee Dillon, Craig Gordon, Steven Hazelip, Deric Johnson, Scott Minor, and Rachel Paden
  • Athletics: Matt Medley (pentathlon), Jehred Bennet (4x100m relay), Samantha Mastroine (400m run)
  • Unified Bocce: Team of Easton Dillon and Eric Lingo


  • Athletics - Matthew Medley; Jehred Bennett (200m dash, (4x100m relay); Jason Fickes (100m dash, softball throw, 4x100m relay), Elizabeth Lippencott (100m walk), Logan Wise (pentathlon, 4x100m relay)


  • Unified Bocce - Team of Miranda Milburn and Shane York; team of Jacob Jones and Mary Jane Mendoza

The Rockets cheer team includes Kaylee Arthurs, Chelsea Lefler, Elizabeth Lippencott, Samantha Mastroine, Alexis Partridge, Rebekah Rothel, Stacey Shroyer, Ginger Stalcup, and Nicole Young. 

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