They train hard and compete to win and they have the medals to prove it. The Huntington High School Special Olympics team has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments, including capturing nine medals in the Special Olympics Winter State Games in Rochester.
The Huntington Town Board took time out of its meeting last week to honor members of Huntington’s “snowshoe” team for a job well done. Supervisor Frank P. Petrone and Trustees Susan Berland, Eugene Cook, Mark Cuthbertson and Mark Mayoka all participated in the ceremony, which drew applause from the audience.
“Whereas; Due to the lack of snow on Long Island, the Huntington High School snowshoe team was forced to find another way to practice snowshoeing,” states the proclamation issued by the Town Board. “Their creative alternative was to run relays and practice falling on the sand at Fleets Cove Beach in Centerport; and
“Whereas; This unique practicing style paid off for the Huntington High School snowshoe team. Once they set their snowshoes to the Rochester snow, it was clear that practicing on sand was the perfect alternative because it was harder to walk on sand with snowshoes than it was to walk on snow; and
“Whereas; After a long competition in Rochester, the Huntington High School snowshoe team came home with eight individual medals and the silver medal in the 4x100 team relay.
“Now, therefore, we, the Town Board of the Town of Huntington, on behalf of our residents do hereby present this proclamation to the Huntington High School snowshoe team in recognition of its unprecedented success at the Special Olympics in Rochester, New York.”
“These student-athletes deserve tremendous praise and recognition, having succeeded in a competitive event that was particularly difficult to prepare for,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Their commitment is admirable and we are all very proud of their efforts!”
At the Winter State Games, John Cronin won a gold medal in the snowshoe 50m dash and a bronze medal in the 100m as the Huntington High School junior paced the Blue Devil team.
Junior Liam Mrotzek won the silver medal in the 100m and the bronze in the 50m. Cronin and Mrotzek were also members of Huntington’s silver medal winning 4x100m relay team, which included alums German Alvarez and Brendan Cribbin.
Huntington teacher-administrator Linda Roth, who helps coach the Blue Devil squad, said they were pleasantly surprised at how well they did since it was the first time the athletes were competing at such a high level.
Alums Alvarez and Cribbin also medaled in individual events in their age brackets. Alvarez took the gold in the 200m and the silver in the 100m. Cribbin won a silver medal in the 50m and finished fourth in the 100m.
The Winter State Games drew over 650 athletes and coaches from across the state. The opening ceremonies were at the Rochester Convention Center. Competition was held the following day at various venues. The snowshoeing events were contested at nearby Swain Mountain.