Special Olympics recognizes coach, volunteer, and athlete of the

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Madison County Special Olympics recently recognized individuals for their exemplary contributions to the program. This year’s recipients were: (from left) Lincoln Comer, Coach of the Year; Jessica Wiggins, Athlete of the Year; and Butch Scott, Volunteer of the Year.

Recently, the Madison County Special Olympics program, affiliated with the Madison County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, announced the winners of its annual recognition awards.

Jessica Wiggins concluded an outstanding 2007 with Athlete of the Year honors.

Exemplifying the term “team player,” Wiggins was an essential sparkplug in the success of many of Madison County’s team-related Special Olympics sports in 2007. As a guard on the Tigers’ 13-4 basketball squad, she averaged 3.24 points, 4.18 rebounds, 2.88 steals, and 2.29 assists per game.

While playing second base (and often batting leadoff) for the Unified Division II State Softball Champions, Wiggins led the Tigers in games played, at bats, walks, as well as finishing third in runs scored. She was an integral member of the volleyball team that finished second at the State Summer Games, and placed fifth at a national tournament in Texas.

“Jessica has shown great range as an athlete and has excelled in many sports,” said Lincoln Comer, Madison County Board of MR/DD recreation coordinator. “She has also taken tremendous steps as a team leader and is extremely dedicated in her endeavors.”

In addition to the vastly time-consuming coordination duties essential to running a quality Special Olympics program, Comer has channeled his energies to coaching as well. It is that multi-faceted, teaching-first approach that has earned him Coach of the Year honors.

During his seven years at the Special Olympics helm for Madison County, Comer has served as coach for many Tiger teams. In 2007, he was a player-coach for the Tigers Unified softball team, which rallied to capture the Division II state title. Additionally, he coached the Tigers basketball team to a deep run in the State Tournament, finishing with a 13-4 record.

According to comments submitted on the several dozen nomination forms, Comer applies a tough work ethic, seeking to bring the best out in each athlete. Equally high on his list is teaching athletes to respect the game, while having fun.

Making Special Olympics an enjoyable experience for all involved is what earned Butch Scott recognition as Volunteer of the Year.

In 2007, Scott helped in a variety of ways. He officiated home basketball games, assisted with basic skills competitions, volunteered at Mad River Mountain, chaperoned at Summer Games, competed as a Unified partner, and served as an umpire for softball.

“Though he takes his responsibilities very serious, he is best known for his antics and humor,” Comer said. “Volunteers like Butch Scott are essential for everyone’s program, as he reminds us that Special Olympics is as much about fun as it is competition.”

For more information about Madison County’s Special Olympics program, and/or volunteer opportunities, contact Comer at 740-852-7050.

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