Special needs athletes put free-throw skills to the test

By Samie Gebers

Last update: Saturday, April 15th, 2017

“Even though she’s only 4 feet 11 inches, she’s dynamite out there,” said Kathleen Hill as she watched her daughter Allie make free throws on the court.

“She’s playing with 6 foot tall athletes and she is just a powerhouse.”

Allie Hill, who was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, played her heart out alongside other special needs individuals at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday.

Kayla Livermore prepares to make a free throw at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“I’ve learned that there is nothing she can’t do,” Kathleen Hill said.

More than 50 special needs athletes, ages eight and up, paired up with student athletes and community members to reach their goal of 10,000 baskets made.

“There is a wide range if issues that qualify them for Special Olympics, but this is a great opportunity for them to play in an environment with the general education population,” Laura Mayo said, a coordinator with the event.

Athletes took turns shooting the ball, cheering each other on and giving one another pointers.

Participants and volunteers smile for a photo durring the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“Basketball is my favorite sport, everyone gets to see me shoot and support me,” Glenn Fernandez Junio said.

Junio has been participating in Special Olympics events for over 20 years, and explains that he is a well-known figure on the court.

“Glenn always likes to make the shot,” said his father Virgil Junio. “Special Olympics gives our kids something to thrive in. The most important thing is the camaraderie.”

Valerie Middleton was more than happy to cheer her daughter on from the sidelines.

“She’s come a long way,” she said. “(My daughter) used to be antisocial and now she’s playing basketball with the boys.”

The event raised money for Special Olympics Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley and Hoops of Hope.

Kayla Livermore bites her nails before her turn to shoot at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal
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Special needs athletes put free-throw skills to the test

Allie Hill prepares to shoot a basket at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“Even though she’s only 4 feet 11 inches, she’s dynamite out there,” said Kathleen Hill as she watched her daughter Allie make free throws on the court.

“She’s playing with 6 foot tall athletes and she is just a powerhouse.”

Allie Hill, who was diagnosed with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, played her heart out alongside other special needs individuals at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday.

Kayla Livermore prepares to make a free throw at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“I’ve learned that there is nothing she can’t do,” Kathleen Hill said.

More than 50 special needs athletes, ages eight and up, paired up with student athletes and community members to reach their goal of 10,000 baskets made.

“There is a wide range if issues that qualify them for Special Olympics, but this is a great opportunity for them to play in an environment with the general education population,” Laura Mayo said, a coordinator with the event.

Athletes took turns shooting the ball, cheering each other on and giving one another pointers.

Participants and volunteers smile for a photo durring the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“Basketball is my favorite sport, everyone gets to see me shoot and support me,” Glenn Fernandez Junio said.

Junio has been participating in Special Olympics events for over 20 years, and explains that he is a well-known figure on the court.

“Glenn always likes to make the shot,” said his father Virgil Junio. “Special Olympics gives our kids something to thrive in. The most important thing is the camaraderie.”

Valerie Middleton was more than happy to cheer her daughter on from the sidelines.

“She’s come a long way,” she said. “(My daughter) used to be antisocial and now she’s playing basketball with the boys.”

The event raised money for Special Olympics Santa Clarita and Tri-Valley and Hoops of Hope.

Kayla Livermore bites her nails before her turn to shoot at the annual Special Olympics Shoot-a-Thon at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex on Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

About the author

Samie Gebers

Samie Gebers

Samie Gebers is currently studying broadcast journalism at College of the Canyons. She reports on the weekends as well as produces video content during the week.

Samie Gebers

Samie Gebers

Samie Gebers is currently studying broadcast journalism at College of the Canyons. She reports on the weekends as well as produces video content during the week.