MINNEAPOLIS — Hi Ho Silver.
Before there were superheroes, there was the Lone Ranger. With his trusty sidekick Tonto by his side, and his reliable steed Silver transporting him to and fro, the masked do-gooder kept his identity concealed so his true identity would not receive any accolades.
During their time at the USA Volleyball Tournament National Championship in Minneapolis, the Madison County Tigers Unified Special Olympics Volleyball Team earned a silver medal — a great follow-up to their gold medal in Orlando in 2016. The Tigers are affiliated with Madison County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
After not playing well (by their own admission) early in the pool play rounds, the Tigers were fairly confident that they could cruise through the ‘Bronze’ division to a second straight national title.
But with a flight time approaching for a team from Hilliard, the Tigers’ Lincoln Comer arranged for his squad to switch with them — thus ending up in a more competitive bracket. He was willing to sacrifice an almost-guaranteed championship to help out his fellow Special Olympians.
“I really wanted her group to have a positive experience as we have such a good relationship with their organization,” said Comer, MCBDD Recreation and Special Olympics guru. “Well it worked out for everyone — the USAV tournament officials let us switch brackets, the Northwest Superstars won gold (and made their flight), and we played a bit better and took home the silver medal in the silver bracket.”
Led by athletes Mike Elfrink, Paul Hiles, Shawn Stewart and John Zeeck, the Tigers were joined by Unified partners Alexis Comer, Lincoln Comer, Nate Gonzalez, Jessica Thompson and Chris Zeeck. Jason Shingler served as coach.
The last time the Tigers traveled to this tournament in Minneapolis was 2009 when they earned a third-place finish.
Elfrink and Lincoln Comer received extra recognition as the tournament committee selected an athlete and a partner from each team who signified what Unified Sports is all about.
For more information regarding Madison County Special Olympics, contact Lincoln Comer at 740-852-7052, ext. 1917.
Founded in 1928, USA Volleyball is a Colorado incorporated nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Federation International de Volleyball as the National Governing Body for the disciplines of beach volleyball, indoor volleyball and sitting volleyball in the United States. USA Volleyball has over 315,000 registered members, 12,000 teams and 5,300 clubs nationwide.
The Madison County Tigers Special Olympics Volleyball team earned a silver medal in the USA Volleyball Tournament National Championship, which took place recently in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Members of the team are front row from left: Chris Zeeck, Shawn Stewart, Alexis Comer, Michael Elfrink and Jessica Thompson; second row: Paul Hiles, John Zeeck, Jason Shingler, Nate Gonzalez and Lincoln Comer.