Area 6 Basketball Season is Here!

Today at 3pm basketball practice starts for our Goochland Athletes. If you are interested in playing or partnering, please come to the Goochland Recreational Center at 3:00 pm. Please contact Jayne Hancock at if you have any questions.

Location Details
Goochland Recreation Center
2748 Dogtown Road
Goochland VA 23063

Powhatan Basketball starts tomorrow, Tuesday, November 11 at 6:30 pm at Pocoh0ntas Middle School. Please come and let us know you would like to play or partner with our Athletes. Please contact Pat Fowler at if you have any questions.

Location Details
Pocahontas Middle School
4290 Anderson Highway
Powhatan VA 23139 US

Chesterfield Community Basketball starts next Monday, November 17 at Swift Creek Middle School at 6pm. November 17 and 24 will be tryouts so we can place our players and partners on teams. You must attend tryouts to join a Special Olympics Area 6 Chesterfield basketball team. Please contact Richard or Karin Koch at if you have any questions.

Location Details
Swift Creek Middle School
3700 Old Hundred Road South
Midlothian VA 23112 US



Help our Athletes Compete in the SOVA State Competion this Fall!

Click here to donate to help us send Athletes and Coaches to the SOVA State Fall Competition in Virginia Beach.


2013 Fall Games Opening Ceremony Excitement

Each year the Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) State Fall Competition is held in Virginia Beach, VA. This is a fun time for our Area 6 Athletes as they compete in bowling, volleyball, soccer, bocce and other sports, and enjoy the Virginia Beach atmosphere. SOVA Area 6, including Chesterfield, Goochland, Powhatan, New Kent and Amelia, is one of the largest SOVA local Areas and we just keep growing. Please help us to raise the funds necessary to transport and house our Athletes for the State Competition weekend. The cost to cover an Athlete for the weekend is just $60 and provides them with housing, food, competition, fun and an experience they never forget. We are also raising funds here to provide the transportation to the State Competition as our transportation costs have risen 300% this year.

The Area 6 Soccer Team Ready to Play!

The Area 6 Soccer Team Ready to Play!

Just click on the link and you can help send our Athletes to Virginia Beach in November 2014. While we will have some help through grants and scholarships, we are hoping to send 177 Athletes, coaches and chaperones this year, an increase over the 155 we sent last year. Thank you so much for helping us. All our Athletes and Volunteers greatly appreciate your kindness.


Good Friends from Area 6 at the 2013 Fall Competition Soccer Tournament

Just click here to help us send Athletes and coaches to the 2014 SOVA Fall State Competiton.
If you would rather send a check by mail, please make out the check to SOVA Area 6 and send it to:

Special Olympics Virginia Area 6
3212 Skipwith Road Suite 100
Richmond, VA 23294-4413


Roller Skating Competition at 2013 SOVA Fall Games



Passing of Several of our Special Olympics Family

This summer has been filled with the passing of several of our Special Olympics family.  We want to extend our sympathies to the families of the following:

Mary Beth Simmons –  An Athlete that participated with us in bowling. She was a graduate of Monacan High School.

Tim Taylor – Tim was a volunteer in basketball and softball. He took part in the Polar Plunge each year and was instrumental in starting the Annual Kustom Kar Show which benefits Special Olympics Area 6. He was the fiancé of Michelle Shores and the father of Khloe Taylor.

Anthony Varuolo Sr. – Tony, the father of Athlete Anthony Junior, was a partner in softball. He also helped coach soccer, basketball and softball.

Dorothy Kitts – She was the mother of Mark Kitts. Mark is a Chesterfield County bus driver that has transported our athletes to tournaments and special events and always goes the extra mile to help whenever possible.

Our hearts and prayers go out these Special Olympics families during these difficult times.

Special Olympics Virginia 2014 Summer Games – An Athlete’s Story

The Special Olympics Virginia 2014 Summer Games were held in Richmond on June 6 – 8 this year. The swimming competition provided one or our Athletes and his family a very special time. The usual schedule of events this year was altered from the preliminaries on Friday and racing on Saturday, to races on both Friday and Saturday. Although the events of Friday ran longer than what SOVA expected, and arriving on time for opening ceremonies that night was a concern for all coaches, it had its purpose. This purpose was to shorten the event time for Saturday, opening a nice amount of time for all swimming Athletes to be able to attend Olympic Town as well as participate in the Healthy Athletes Program. This was the first time in a very long time that Matthew Annechini’s mom was able to take him to these offerings.

For Susan Annechini, a parent who has worked with Mat one-on-one for 15 years in the swimming pool, Mat’s performance in the pool this time around was truly a joyous accomplishment. Since his start in 1999, Susan has had the pleasure of watching one of his peers Peter Zaino, an accomplished SOVA swimmer; perform the most beautiful butterfly stroke. She always thought how wonderful it would be to see Mat do the same. Due to Mat being blind and unable to put his head underwater in order to keep his ears from filling up with water, and his not being able to hear at all, the mechanics of a “pretty” butterfly have eluded him.

Up until this year, Mat has required his mother to swim in front of him clicking a sound device in order to get him from the start wall to the finish wall of a race. He has struggled for years keeping the technical aspects of the stroke together in order to not be disqualified. This year Mat and his mom worked on a technique that would possibly allow Mat to swim the butterfly in competition independently. This “way” has never been seen in the SOVA arena before, and they were taking a chance on using it the games this year.

At the games this year, Mat raced side by side with Peter in the butterfly. Not only did he swim side by side with Peter, but completed the race without any sound assistance. Not only did Mat accomplish swimming the race independently, he executed the most beautiful butterfly stroke she has ever seen him swim, EVER! As Mat touched the wall the tears started. When awards were presented to Mat and Peter, they stood side by side, arm in arm, smiling with the true sense of the Special Olympic Spirit.

So if you see Mat out there swimming in a meet, congratulate him for all the hard work he has put in and a job well done! Mat’s efforts and those of his mom embody what Special Olympics is all about. As a side note, Mat also plays basketball with his Chesterfield team each year, with the assistance of his mom as needed. Without Special Olympics and a dedicated mom, Mat would miss the opportunity to compete in athletic events and become part of a team that provides him with support and friendship. We love being a part of Special Olympics!

We are Headed to the SOVA Summer Games June 6 and 7!

This June 6-7, more than 1,300 athletes from all over Virginia will travel to Richmond to go for the gold at Summer Games in bocce, bowling, track & field, swimming, tennis, and softball competitions – and they need fans! SOVA Area 6 has many Athletes and Unified Partners taking part in the SOVA Summer Games based out of the University of Richmond on June 6 and 7, 2014. Listed here are our Athletes and Partners that will be competing in the games. We invite all interested parties that are not part of the Area 6 Delegation to come out and Cheer on our Athletes.

Head of Delegation (HOD) for Area 6 for the Summer Games is Michael Marretti.

Athletes competing in Aquatics include Kristen Hughs, Lauren Stokes, Keith Goode, Matthew Annechini, Jennifer Post, Casey Flaccomoio, Greg Gorman, Paul Marretti, Kristin Geyer, Robert Stowers, Kisha Williams, Peter Zaino, Jimmy Anthony, Elizabeth Blackwell, Stephen Solomon, Nick Zweerink, Sam Parrish, Chip Gunter, Anne “Beth” Edwards, Sheryl Beggs, and Jonathan Koch. The Aquatics Coaches and Chaperones assisting our Athletes are Sue Annechini, Sam Parrish, Harry Hancock, Sally Jenkins, Kay Goode, Antral Griulo, and Karin Koch.

Competing in Athletics are Area 6 Athletes Isaac Schiling, Hugh Stevens, Derek Vincent, Sarah Buser, Leander Spencer, Shea Zatkulak, Kesari Henderson, Peter Fisher, Isaiah Morgan, Abigail Reed, Colleen Carfrey, Mary-Ellen Plott, Tyrell Green, Nicholas Marcucci, Geoffrey Baskerville, Renee Anderson, William Sands, Alex Hernandez, Steven Morris, David Johnson, Alex Chavez, Logan Crowe, Stephen Patton, Jacob Rogers, Seth Rogers, Craig Licorish, Tommy Harrison, Lea McNinch, Lilly Kuhn, Guillermo Bonilla, Brent Blackburn, Amanda Nimmons, Veronica Maggard, Ryan Price, Caleb Samuels, Patrick Baird, Destiny Davis, Isaac Williams, Larry Tinsley, Dylan Whited, Emmalie Villanueva, Taylor Jefferson, Donte Johnson, Hope Garner, Mark Boone, Destiny Hill, Shakiara Gaines, Danielle Bell, Natalya Robinson, Emily Morrissey, Immanuel Taylor, Aaron Wyatt, Alexis Hayes, Cameron Gisher, Dondre Tucker, Shayla Seward, and Clarence Pickens. The Athletics coaches and chaperones are Sharon Walton, Samantha Spencer, Monica Bell, George Baskerville, Monique Tinsley, Frank Tinsley, Pierre Marcucci, Karol Fisher, Nancy Bowles, Sandra McNinch, Holly Reed, Isiah Williams, Romona Taylor, Angie Blackburn, Katherine Spencer, Dan Morrissey, Maria Nino, Kristin Morrissey, Pete Fisher, Trijay Vincent, Paul Spencer, Jessica Lewis, Robin McClaine, Anne Schlicher, Jessica Tayloer, Anita Schilling, Marjorie Loya, Sara Meade, and James Hope.

Area 6 Athletes competing in Bocce at the Summer Games include Scott Woodfin, Michael Hauser and Rachel Hope. Bocce coaches and chaperones include Christine Hopkins, Brad Jackson, and Jayne Hancock.

Competing in the Bowling Singles for Area 6 are Cornelia Dewitt, Justin Poythress, Kristen Marshall, Benjamin Cunningham, Nate Smith, Mary Davis, Ernesto Gonzalez, Jeremy Burell, Cathy Christian, Stuart Adams, Cathy Pitts- Sledge, Brook Kelly, Zachary van, Jacob Bennette, Crystal Fowler, Franklin Anderson, David Ramon, Kenny Hatfield, James Smith, Kelvin Pace, Thomas Anderson, Lisa Papendorp, Dianna Tate, Tyler Pitts, Wade May, Kathy Woolney, Rodney Vest, Joe King, Michael Lee, and Debra Hubley. Bowling Singles coaches and chaperones include Maria Schisa, Pat Fowler, Cindi Anderson, Rhonda Marshall, and Pam Goode.

Our Area 6 Softball competitors include Athletes and Partners Travis Hunter, Brian King, Anthony Varuolo, Alyssa Smith, Christopher Brennan, Michael Marshall, Kaitlyn Redding, David Witt, Gene Wooden, Oscar Turner, Dennis Wayne Haley, Andy Parada, Charles Ashley, Ashley Wattie, Joe Christian, Kyle Roberts, Khori Cooke, Brad Romano, Ben Revette, Ja’Von Chalkley, Wesley Warnick, Adam Smith, Kenny Holloway, Chelsea Gaughran, Tony Shores, Nicholas Glass, Lacotta Edge, Sydney Jones, Roxanna Ronquillo, Travis Turner, Tom Giles, Deion Gilbert, Eric Quarles, Tyrine Garner, Brian Blackburn, Shaun Smith, Jasmin Goodwyn, Gary Conner, Julie Bourgeois, Jason Myers, Marvin Connor, Mikayla Smith, Victoria Dryer, David Grup, Debra Goodwyn, Kaden Anderson, Sharon Mabry, Bob Warnick, Neil Hunter, David Menk, David Mabry, Matthew Witt, Gray Hunter, Lauren Howe, Michelle Myers, Daryl Smith, Zachery Marshall, Marissa Mabry, Richard Koch, and Tony Varuolo. Our Softball coaches and chaperones are Thomas Zahler, Liz Revette, Michelle Shores, Wallace Blackburn, Tracy Cade, Bob Parada, and Kenny Witt.

We have two Athletes competing in Tennis and they are Jessica Campbell and Hunter Stallworth. Our Tennis Coaches and Chaperones are Brenda Campbell and Bob Stallworth.

Come out and Volunteer to Cheer our Athletes at Summer Games: June 6-7 in Richmond Join the crowd and sign up to Volunteer to Cheer at We’ve got spirit, how ’bout you? Help us reach our goal of packing the stands with 2,000 fans for our athletes. All ages are welcome to this free family-friendly event!

Find our schedule and sign up at to be a fan at any of the locations below:

University of Richmond: track & field, tennis
Collegiate School Aquatics Center: swimming
J.R. Tucker High School: powerlifting
Glen Allen Softball Complex: softball

Bedford Here We Come

We’d like to wish all our Athletes, Coaches, Partners and other Volunteers the best of luck at the Softball Tournamnet in Bedford this weekend, May 16-18. Play hard and have a great time! Good Luck! And thank you in advance to all the Bedford volunteers that make this softball tournament so special, including the Bedford Moose Lodge!

SOVA Speed Skating Championships and Friends from Afar

Travis Hunter and Jannai Kennedy

Travis Hunter and Jannai Kennedy

The 12th Richmond Area Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) Speed Skating Championships were held on March 1, 2014. There were 23 Athletes that competed, including Travis Hunter and Jannai Kennedy, a couple of World Champions that competed in the Special Olympics 2013 Winter World Games that took place in South Korea. The skating competition was held at the Richmond Ice Zone which has provided ice time at their facility for Area 6 Special Olympics skaters to train for many years. Basically, we were skating on our “home ice”. Skaters and families had a lot of fun during the competition.


Destiny Hill, Guillermo Bonilla, Peter Fisher and Carolina Chavez

Alex Hernandez and Justin Sulkowski

Alex Hernandez and Justin Sulkowski

Watching our skaters out on the rink was a moving experience for families and fans. Some more advanced skaters, such as Travis Hunter, showed others what could be achieved with hard work and lots of practice. Other skaters were in the championship for the first time and though they may have been slow and a little wobbly, it brought tears to their parents’ eyes to watch them try with such grit and determination. Whatever skill level the Athletes possessed, their triumph came in being brave and doing their best. All the Athletes were winners!

Steven Patton, Brian Blackburn and David Johnson

Steven Patton, Brian Blackburn and David Johnson


A dinner and dance was held on Saturday night after a long day of preliminary competition. Saturday’s scores were used to division racers into their final events on Sunday morning. The dinner and dance was held at the Double Tree on Kroger Center Boulevard. While Athletes love to compete in their sports, the fun of socializing after the games is an important part of many of our events.

Xavier Hayes, Erika Hayden and Christopher Worsham

Xavier Hayes, Erika Hayden and Christopher Worsham


A special treat for the Athletes was a visit by two of the Special Olympics Athletes from Georgia that were driven up by their World Games speed skating coach. These Athletes competed in the 2013 Winter World Games with Travis and Jannai. Rory, his mother and younger brother came up from North Carolina. Travis and Rory became great friends while in Korea. Jannai’s interpreter from the world games, Maggie, came to watch the athletes skate as well. Head speed skating coach from Virginia Beach, Kurt and figure skating coach, Leslie, also from Virginia Beach were there too. For Travis, Jannai and their families, it was like having a mini world games reunion. They are hoping to make this an annual event. The families and Athletes had a great time reminiscing about their trip to South Korea. For some reason (smile) food there was a topic of great interest.

None of this would be possible without the assistance of our sponsors, coaches, venue and event volunteers Area 6 was supported at the event by a group of dedicated volunteers who have been coming to the RIZ for years each week during the season to help skaters put on safety equipment, tieskates, assist with coordination of activities, time practice races, and teach the skills of iceskating.  A big thank you goes to Stephanie Floyd, who coordinates ice time with the rink, recruits and trains volunteers, provides information about the season for volunteers and local programs, and serves as the “heart and soul” of our Special Olympics ice skating program.  Thank you everyone for making this an enjoyable time for Athletes, families and friends.

Partners Urgently Needed for Chesterfield Softball!

We are looking for 14 more volunteers to partner with our Chesterfield Athletes in playing Softball starting as soon as possible and ending the beginning of June. Skill not required! The smiles, positive atmosphere, exercise and fresh air is all free!

Due to the number of Athletes in Chesterfield interested in taking part in Softball, SOVA Area 6 has planned our teams with only a few volunteer partners on each team. Special Olympics National Rules requre teams being made up of ALL Athletes or one half partners and one half Athletes. We need more partners to qualify to participate in regional and state games, which are very important to our Athletes. Softball is a difficult sport to field Traditional Teams due to the skill required for pitching. For this reason we have Unified teams to provide pitchers on most of our teams.

Due to the popularity of softball with our Athletes, we have had to add two teams and are currently seeking 14 partners to fill out our Unified teams. Volunteers are welcome to bring a friend to volunteer with them and we will do our best to put them on the same teams. Family members are also welcome to partner with students. We have had many families volunteer as a group in the past. No previous skill is required. For their efforts the partners will get exercise, fresh air, community service hours, be surrounded by a lot of positive people and have a fun with our Athletes and other volunteers. Partners must be 16 in order to take part, or must have a parent or guardian with them if age 14 and 15.

The schedule for Softball is as follows:

Held at 1pm, 2pm or 3pm on Sunday afternoons with Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day off. Practice Dates are April 6 and 13 and May 4, 18 and 25. We practice at Bensley Park, 2900 Drewry’s Bluff Road North Chesterfield, VA 23237.(Near Chippenham and Route 1).
Local Tournaments:
April 27 at Warbro Athletic Complex beginning at 8:30 am
June 1 at Bensely Park beginning at 1pm
Regional Tournament:
Bedford, VA on May 16-18. The students could ride the bus with the chaparones and Athletes Friday night, returning Sunday afternoon, or they can come out for the preliminary games on Saturday and the tournament games on Sunday. Those staying the weekend will be provided chaparoned lodging, all meals, Opening Ceremony participation and access to the fireworks and a dance on Saturday night (Saturday dinner, fireworks and dance) are hosted by the Bedford Moose Lodge.
State Summer Games:
If their team is chosen to play in the state tournament, the tournament is held at the University of Richmond and the fields we usually play on are off Glenside Softball Complex in Henrico.

The calendar can be seen on our website Select Calendar from the menu at the top, right. If you need any additional information please contact Karin Koch at 804 382-2637.

Here is an official description of the partner opportunity:

Team sports bring people together. Our Unified Sports® teams include people with and without intellectual disabilities in an effort to shatter stereotypes through positive interaction on the playing field. Join a Unified team today and play alongside the most inspiring teammates you’ll ever meet! To find out if Unified Sports are offered near you and become a Unified Partner, locate Special Olympics near you.

Basketball and a New Partnership – Thank you Blessed Sacrament

Game-Play-1 Special Olympics Basketball season has closed on a high note again this year, with many Athletes in Area 6 taking part and having a great time. Our Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) Area 6 Tournaments in Goochland and Powhatan were a huge success and the Athletes also enjoyed invitational tournaments at Lee Davis High School in Hanover and U-Turn in Richmond, as well as the James River Regional Tournament held this year for the first time at St. Christopher’s School, also in Richmond.

Game-Play-2 Basketball tournaments are the highlight of the basketball season for our Athletes, coaches and partners. The hard work they put in at practice is shown in action on the tournament courts and Athletes have a great time showing off their improved skills. The fun includes playing basketball, hanging with friends and family, watching their friends’ games, having some fun in ‘Olympic Town’ (an arts and crafts area) and often includes a nice breakfast or lunch too.

None of this would be possible without the tireless efforts of the many SOVA volunteers, but often they are joined by volunteers from our tournament venues. This year in place of our Area 6 Basketball Tournament at Powhatan High School, Blessed Sacrament Huguenot offered to host our Powhatan Tournament and provided a wonderful venue, great assistance, and many terrific volunteers. We are hoping our partnership with Blessed Sacrament continues well into the future!

Half-Court-Team-and-Coach-Crystal And of course the networking skills of Pat Fowler, the Powhatan Coordinator for SOVA Area 6 must be mentioned too! Pat Fowler became involved in Special Olympics through her daughter Crystal’s start in tennis in middle school. She took on a leadership role with Special Olympics and with her guidance the program has continued to grow, attracting more Athletes every year. Sports including volleyball, softball and basketball have been added to the SOVA Area 6 Powhatan program thanks to her efforts. When presented with the opportunity to host the Powhatan Tournament at Blessed Sacrament, Pat was diligent in working with leaders of the school and the Area 6 board, coaches and other volunteers to make it happen.

Torch-BearerTwenty-one teams from Powhatan, Goochland, Amelia, Chesterfield and New Kent counties gathered at Blessed Sacrament for the tournament. The tournament began with opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. As part of the opening ceremony the Athletes say the Athlete oath (“Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”) and the Pledge of Allegiance, then a torch run concludes the ceremony. The goal of the ceremony, according to Event Coordinator Harry Hancock III, was to “make sure everyone felt special, as they should.”


SOVA Area 6 would like to thank all the many, many volunteers that made this tournament successful. This includes the Powhatan Moose Lodge which served lunch at this tournament at Blessed Sacrament as they have in the past at Powhatan High School. They provided the food and many volunteers to run the event. There were also the referees, many who are players from BSH sports teams, and the cheering, which along with other fans and family members, included the ‘Knights’ cheering squad. Having people cheering them on really makes the Athletes smile.  There were the concession stand workers, scorekeepers, coaches and managers, all working to ensure a safe, fun and positive atmosphere. Without all these people our events would not be as special as they turn out to be. Thank you all!

Olympic-Town Pat echoes Area 6 goals when saying “It’s all about the Athletes. This is their social time, especially for the ones out of high school who don’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities to interact with one another. This gives them a chance to mingle and find common ground.” The sports provide the venue, but rather than concentrating on competition, Area 6 makes it our goal to provide safe and positive times for our Athletes and volunteers. Practices and tournaments are very important to our Athletes. Fresh air, exercise, getting to know others, both Athletes and volunteers, and learning something new or getting better at it are all benefits of the many SOVA Area 6 programs. Athletes do enjoy winning when it happens, it’s just not an essential element for our Athletes to have a great time and walk out the door after events with big smiles on their faces.

If you would like to become involved in one event, a sport for a season or life, please contact us. Working with our Athletes will change your life for the better.
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For articles on the Powhatan Tournament at Blessed Sacrament in “Powhatan Today” click here: Blessed Sacrament hosts Special Olympics Basketball Tournament” and “Special Olympics: Bringing out the Best in the County” by Mike Schoeffel


BP Oil Company and A Greatly Appreciated Area 6 Champion

Special Olympics Virginia Area 6 has received a very generous donation from BP Oil Company for their program “Fueling Communities.” Each year BP selects a different charity in the local area to assist. This year Gary Poythress of GPM Investments LLC, which operates a chain of convenience stores in states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England, helped convince senior management at BP to make this years’ donation to SOVA Area 6.

Gary championed SOVA Area 6 for this BP donation to help thank all the volunteers and coaches of SOVA Area 6 for the many years of support working with Special Olympics Atheltes. Gary sends a real special thank you to Richard and Karin Koch for their tireless efforts and endless years of voluntary efforts in every sport that SOVA Area 6 offers its Athletes.

SOVA Area 6 participated in the giant check presentation. The amount of the check donated to Area 6 is $20,000. These funds will help provide the resources needed to continue offering many of the sports Area 6 currently offers to the intellectually disabled in Chesterfield, Goochland, New Kent and Powhatan.

Michael Marretti (center), SOVA Area 6 Board Chairperson, accepts the BP donation from Gary Poythress, Director of Fuels (left) and Bill Reilly, VP of Marketing (right) of GPM Investments LLC.