So Ice Skating Threesome Need A Coach

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While Special Olympic volunteer coaches are almost always needed in all sports, there is currently a frantic call for someone to coach a trio of Payson SO ice skaters.

The three, Jenna Palandri, Jacquelyn Karrys and Becky Radimaker, have been practicing and competing for the past three years without the supervision or guidance of a coach.

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Photo courtesy of Payson Special Olympics

Special Olympic skaters Jenna Palandri, Jacquelyn Karrys and Becky Radimaker have been working without the help of a coach, but now need one to make them the best they can be for important upcoming competitions.

The lack of a mentor has prompted longtime Gila County Special Olympics coordinator Becky Derwort and Lucy Karrys — Jacquelyn’s mother — to issue a impassioned plea for a volunteer coach.

“We really hope and pray someone will step forward and help us this year,” said Lucy Karrys.

In preparing for the state competition, which will be held Feb. 5, 2011 in the Valley, the three girls are practicing locally in a dry land training regime on roller blades.

Several times each month the three travel to the Polar Ice Center in Chandler for on-the-ice practice.

“Professional coaches in the Valley help with the choreography and each young woman chooses their own music,” said Lucy Karrys. “Sometimes athletes will repeat the routine they had the year before to strengthen it.”

At the state competition, the Payson Olympians will skate a dance routine to their chosen music and in costume.

Both Lucy Karrys and Derwort are confident the girls would improve and do better in competition if they had the tutelage of a coach.

Payson has a long and proud history of producing highly successful Special Olympic individuals and teams.

Currently, David Frohme and Roseanne Hendricks are awaiting notice of their possible participation the Special Olympic World Games to be held in the summer of 2011 in Athens, Greece.

They are candidates to receive berths because both medaled at the 2010 USA National Special Olympic Games held July 18 to July 23 in Lincoln, Neb.

America’s Olympic team will be chosen from the USA medalists.

As members of Team Arizona in Lincoln, Frohme ran to a gold medal in the 1500-meter run track and field event. In the long jump, he was a bronze medalist.

In 2007, Frohme, and several of his teammates were prominently featured on a first-ever SO Arizona promotion DVD.

“They were featured in the video two different times,” said SO coach Ruby Lane.

Later that fall, Lane and Frohme were among the invited guests who attended the premiere of the Arizona SO DVD.

During the premiere, the DVD was first shown to the public on a big screen at the Beauty of a Bonzer Concert for Charity at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.

Watching the DVD with the Arizona Special Olympic athletes, coaches and volunteers were Sammy Hagar and Cheap Trick band members.

“They got to see it between musical sets they did for us,” Lane said. “It was a wonderful time.”

In the spring of 2009 at Mesa Red Mountain High School, 16 Payson athletes turned out to compete in the Arizona State Individual Skills Basketball competition.

The Payson contingent showed well, winning several medals competing against a 175-athlete qualifying field.

At the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, local speed skater Christine Sexton won a gold medal.

Also last year, the foursome of Heather Werlinger, Annie Spencer, Ken Bonn and Gary Boon qualified for the Special Olympics United National Bowling Tournament in Las Vegas.

Just two years ago, Payson sent the unified team of John Sexton, David Frohme, George Karrys, R.D. Nielsen, Chad Torgenson and Bonn to the inaugural Swim, Bike and Run Special Olympics Triathlon in Tucson.

In 2005, after receiving a $23,000 donation from the Tonto Apache Tribe, Payson Olympians traveled to Phoenix for the summer games. A field of 13 athletes made the trip including the gold-medal winning 4x25 relay medley team of Tomacina Quain, Frohme, Melody Hurwitz and Krissy Sexton.

For Quain, the SO experience was nothing new. “She has participated every year since 1975,” her mother, Nadine Hightower, said.

The Payson teams’ successes over the years comes as no surprise to Derwort, a retired Payson High School special education teacher.

“They work and practice very hard, that’s why they do well,” she said.

Anyone interested in coaching the Payson ice skaters should call Lucy Karrys at (928) 474-1120.

Those interested in volunteering in other sports, should call Derwort at (928) 474-9142.

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