Summit County Special Olympics tennis players bring home medals | SummitDaily.com
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Summit County Special Olympics tennis players bring home medals

The Special Olympics Summit County tennis team at the U.S. Air Force Academy after state-wide the competition. From left to right: Erikka Abbott, Abbey Dobrota, Caroline Willis, Diane Mikulis and Gabe Duwaik
Diane Mikulis/Courtesy photo

Last month, three Special Olympics tennis players from Summit County participated in a state-level competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. 

Erikka Abbott, of Dillon, Gabe Duwaik, of Silverthorne and Caroline Willis, of Frisco, all competed against talented Special Olympics athletes from across Colorado. 

Gabe Duwaik makes contact with a forehand shot while competing in the skills event at the statewide Special Olympics tennis competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Diane Mikulis/Courtesy photo

Abbott, Duwaik and Willis trained all summer to prepare for the competition in Colorado Springs. They were joined this season by new athletes Abby Sherman and Anders Dayton. Most practices were held at the Breckenridge Recreation Center’s indoor courts due to frequent rain over the summer.  



Abbott and Duwaik competed in the tennis skills event. Each scored well enough to earn a silver medal. Both athletes demonstrated their proficiency at forehand and backhand groundstrokes, volleys and serves. 

Willis and her tennis partner, Abbey Dobrota, of Frisco, competed in Level 2 of the unified doubles competition. Unified sports pair a Special Olympics athlete with another player who does not have a disability. 



The duo played exceptionally well with one another after training throughout the summer to hone their communication and tennis skills. Willis and Dobrota went on to win the gold medal in the Level 2 division.

Abbey Dobrota, left, and Caroline Willis, right, pose with their gold medals after competing at the statewide Special Olympics tennis competition at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
Diane Mikulis/Courtesy photo

In addition to Dobrota, the athletes were assisted by several other community volunteers including;  Joe Balocco, Christi Barry, Cheryl Davidson, Sally DeLong, Amy Heflin, Eileen Kirrane, LeeAnn Lumsden and Kelly Smith.

“We are so happy with the way our program has grown,” tennis coach and Summit County Special Olympics program coordinator Diane Mikulis said. “Not only have we added sports and athletes, but we now have some great community support from our volunteers. That really improves the athletes’ experience.”

The next sport for Summit County Special Olympics athletes is bowling, which will be held on Wednesdays at Elevation Bowl in Dillon. Additional athletes are invited to participate. Registration is required.

Winter sports start in January and include Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Abbott, Duwaik and Willis all competed in the Special Olympics Colorado Winter Games this past March at Copper Mountain Resort. The trio was able to snag two medals each in the Alpine competitions. 

The Summit County Special Olympics team hopes to add more winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing if coaches and volunteers can be recruited ahead of the season. Both activities are competitive events at the Colorado Winter Games.

For more information, contact Diane Mikulis at specialolympicssummit@gmail.com.


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