Students Compete in Unified Indoor Bocce State Championships

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HAGERSTOWN, Md – Thirty two teams from all over Maryland competed in the Unified Indoor Bocce State championships at Hagerstown Community College, while the Unified Bocce team at Smithsburg High School aimed to defend their division title.

The Special Olympics Unified Bocce State Championship brings students with and without disabilities, together to play an unfamiliar game.

“You get to meet a lot of people, you don’t have classes with so you don’t see them around the halls,” said Lexi Knode, an athlete at Smithsburg. “So you really get to interact with people that you wouldn’t before if you didn’t play the sport.” 

Within 30 minutes, each team takes turns rolling their balls with the goal of getting as close as possible to the small yellow ball, called the Pallina.

“At the end of a frame points are totaled up, with a maximum of four points in a frame; based on how many of your balls are close to the Pallina or closest to the Pallina,” said Conaway.

“We will have to strategize a lot, and part of it just comes down to luck of the roll,” said Knode.

Win or lose, the Smithsburg team says it’s all about playing a game that unfies all students.

“The unified front is one of the best things in sports,” said Conaway. “Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t matter to us, we are out here to have a good time and to get kids playing- that’s the most important thing.”

Close to 200 student athletes competed in the state championships. Frederick High School won the gold in their division, but Smithsburg High School was unable to defend it’s title.

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