Special Olympics Illinois was represented by 26 athletes and Unified partners on two softball teams at the 2016 Special Olympics North America Softball Invitational Tournament Aug. 18-21 in Roanoke, Va.
Representing Illinois were:
- Tri-County Unified of Peoria (pictured above) – Athletes and Partners: Chad Broomfield, Darren Darr, Thomas Dault, Bernard Harms, Logan Heberer, Stephen Knipmeyer, Steve Lawson, Steven Lawson, John McLaughlin, Robert Reese, Ryan Stear, Larry Woods and Christopher Worden; Coaches: William Hopkins, Victoria Kipmeyer, Barbara Needham and Larry Needham; 2nd place
- Wolverines from Pathway Services Wolverines of Jacksonville (pictured below) – Athletes: Tim Beals, Chad Bollinger, Kevin Bush, Gary Crawley, Willis Dickey, Sammy Flagg, Willis Grosclaude, John Henderson, Vincent Lobby, Jesse Mattern, Willie Mayes, Tony Rouleau and Nick Wedeking; Coaches: Doug Binkley, Michelle Larkin and Richard Larkin, Erin Mattes; 4th place
About 450 Special Olympics athletes and 100 coaches representing 32 teams from across the United States and Canada competed. Teams were from Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Vermont and Wisconsin. Competition included both traditional Special Olympics teams and Special Olympics Unified Sports teams (people with and without intellectual disabilities playing on the same team).
The tournament was made possible by Presenting Sponsor Moose International and lead sponsors ASA/USA Softball, Coca-Cola and Special Olympics Virginia, Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of Salem, the City of Roanoke and Botetourt County.