By LANA MUTHLER
ABU DHABI — Cameras were flashing and smiles were as big as they could get as gold medals were placed around the necks of the members of the Clinton County Hawks volleyball team.
It was certainly a proud and exciting moment for the local team, which defeated United Arab Emirates to take the gold medal. The locals won the last medal match first set 25 to 7 and the second set 25 to 18, sealing the world championship for our hometown athletes.
The World Games began last Thursday in Abu Dhabi with the Hawks winning their first two games, defeating teams from Bharat and United Arab Emirates. The score was 2 to 0 for both games.
The Hawks finished pool play on Sunday, compiling a record of 6 and 2, and sending them into the medal round. They received a bye on Tuesday and entered the championship game on Wednesday.
Updates on the local team’s performance in Abu Dhabi were relayed to The Express by Clinton County Special Olympics Manager Larry Rupert, who said the team was upbeat and wanted to represent the United States and their small hometown to the best of their ability.
And so they did.
“Their hopes were high and they were determined. They are so proud of what they have done. This is a great accomplishment and they certainly represented our town, county, state and the USA well,” Rupert said, excitement in his voice as he talked about this group of athletes. “I knew they could do it.”
They also expressed thanks for all the support from home, saying it helped to motivate them, he said.
Talk about support…
There’s going to be a special parade for this team of champions when they come home on Saturday and everybody’s invited to come out and help them celebrate.
It’s expected they will arrive in downtown Lock Haven between 1 and 1:30 p.m.
They will be escorted by numerous fire departments from Avis, through Dunnstown, into Lock Haven.
So, come out Saturday afternoon and give these special athletes the welcome home celebration they deserve and will never forget.
– WHO: Clinton County Special Olympics volleyball team
– WHAT: Parade of champions
– WHEN: 1-1:30 p.m. Saturday
– WHERE: From Avis to Lock Haven
– WHY: Welcome the World Champions home