What does it take for a team to win a championship? According to Coach Craig Lennon of the Dexter Champions, “It takes dedication, working hard at practices, and playing well as a team.”
The Dexter Champions, which includes teammates Josh Calcut, Jonathan Clark, Tom Eakin, David Hart, Jacob Stephenson, Alana Schwartz, Colin Turner, James Wright and Mackenzye Yannella, recently won gold medals at the Special Olympics Basketball State Finals in Rockford, Michigan.
On Sunday, April 19, members of the team and their families celebrated the victory at Aubree’s Pizzeria & Grill where a photo of the team is being hung on a restaurant wall to honor the team.
“It’s cool to have a photo of us here,” said Yannella, who is 12. “We won and that felt good.”
“We play well together,” said Schwartz, 18. “It makes me feel good to wear this medal. Our coach is proud.”
Lennon says it’s good for the members of the team to get the recognition at Aubree’s.
“It’s great for the community to see kids’ photos on the wall,” said Aubree’s Manager William Stripp.
Parents of the Dexter Champions were thrilled.
“It’s great that the restaurant is doing this,” said parent Jim Stephenson. “We want to thank Coach Craig for all the time he put in.”
“They’re enjoying the interaction the team has given them with other kids,” said parent Ed Calcut. “They passed the ball and played like a team.”
Parent Deb Hart said it was exciting coming to Aubree’s with the team and their families.
“The Special Olympics have a strong role in kids’ lives, ” said Hart. “We want to let more kids know about this.”
“We’re trying to spread the word for the Champions,” said Kristi Haywood, co-area director for the Washtenaw County Special Olympics. “They worked hard to get where they are and have a real sense of accomplishment.”
Team member Jim Wright, 17, says that he is proud to have the team photo displayed at Aubree’s.
“This team focused on being better and took risky shots and had fun,” said Wright. “I really like getting to know these people and the friendships I’ve made.”