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Pleasanton RADD athletes shine at hometown basketball regionals

Three local skills competitors earn gold; teams also medal

Pleasanton RADD (Recreational Activities for the Developmentally Disabled) athletes earned various medals last month when their hometown hosted the Special Olympics Northern California regional basketball competition.

Leading the way for the local squad on March 9 were the individual skills competitors, with RADD's Adam Pinney, Ajay Miller and Vlad Goroklhov each winning a gold medal in the contest that tested athletes' abilities to dribble, shoot baskets and make chest passes.

In team competitions, the RADD A team participated in a higher division this time around, winning its first game and then dropping a close second game by a narrow margin en route to earning the bronze medal.

"These athletes train for eight weeks on passing, rebounding, fast-breaks and shooting. Their practice paid off and was demonstrated by an impressive 3-pointer by Heather Soto," RADD coach Kay King said.

The RADD B team gave the hometown fans thrills during the tournament in Pleasanton. After losing a tight game by two points in their opener, the RADD B athletes battled to a triple-overtime victory in their second game capped by a game-winning basket by Pete Voss.

"Judging by the cheering from not only our team, but the volunteers, score keepers and everyone else in the gym, RADD B was clearly the favorite amongst the fans," King said.

In all, more than 400 athletes from 15 teams across Northern California took part in the regional competition played at Amador Valley High School and Pleasanton and Harvest Park middle schools on March 9.

Voss, a 74-year-old athlete and longtime Special Olympics competitor, served as torch bearer during the opening ceremonies at Amador -- which also saw RADD athlete Jason Paasch lead the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.

After the tournament, Tri-Valley REACH sponsored a pizza party for the RADD teams at New York Pizza on Main Street.

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