Valor Collegiate Academies of the Nashville area competed at the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA), Nashville Sectionals for bowling earlier this week. This event took place at the Franklin Family Entertainment Center and contained fierce competition and joyous celebrations.
Valor coach Brynna Shepard discussed her experience getting to coach for the first time after 10 years of being involved with Special Olympics.
“TSSAA Bowling Sectionals left us speechless," said Shepard. "The energy we experienced during this event made us extremely grateful for the community we get to work with on a regular basis.”
Athletes, coaches and Unified Partners alike filled the air with excitement, nervousness and victory, as they shared their love for bowling and competing.
Athlete Rodney Nevils stated that he has been bowling for as long as he can remember. For this athlete, bowling has become more than a sport, it has become a part of his life.
“I have been bowling ever since I could remember," said Nevils. "Bowling is a time my dad and I get to spend together bonding.”
Continuing about his experience, Nevils spoke on the event with joy, seeing all his hard work pay off as an athlete.
“I loved bowling at sectionals," said Nevils. "Hearing everyone shout my name made me very happy! The first time I ever bowled in my life I used bumpers. Now I don't have to because I got better and now, I get strikes! I practice really hard; I don't use bumpers so I can learn to keep it on the lane and out of the gutters. I practice with my team and my dad once a week.”
Nevils' hard work is prevalent in his skills and his progression as an athlete. His dedication is shown through his procession and success, dominating the competition.
He acclaims his key to success was his signature hook move, allowing Nevils to get strikes and spares.
Nevils’ Unified Partner, Tweel Carder also shared this experience as a first-time bowler alongside Nevils. The environment was electric, and the pair took 3rd place overall, qualifying them for the TSSAA State Championship in January.
“I had a great time bowling at the sectionals tournament, said Carder. "It was a great, uplifting environment and listening to everyone cheering for the athletes was super inspiring.”
Their hard work and skills allowed them to come back in a fierce competition to beat Franklin in a redemption round after losing to them at first.
“My most memorable moment from TSSAA was celebrating my team after we beat Franklin for third place after losing to them in our first round,” said Carder.
This duo embodies hard work, resilience and passion, the very things that help bring their success.
Wishing all the best of luck to the duo as they take on the State Championship in January.