DeKalb Special Olympics basketball team celebrates Seattle victory

A celebration in Auburn welcomed the team home, as the community cheered on Team Indiana.

Posted: Jul. 8, 2018 8:45 PM
Updated: Jul. 8, 2018 10:15 PM

DEKALB COUNTY, Ind. (WFFT)- The DeKalb Special Olympics basketball team returned this weekend from the USA game in Seattle. 

A celebration in Auburn welcomed the team home, as the community cheered on Team Indiana. 

Romano Ritenour described the moment he realized his team won in Seattle. 

"We won and I screamed so loud, and the buzzer went off and I was like, 'Yay we finally won,'" he said. 

The final score? 31-30. 

"The other team really likes me and their coach was like, "Dang, that kid is fast," Ritenour said.

Coach Carol Fike said for many of the players, basketball is a reason to get out of bed in the morning. 

"Anywhere I go with them, they're all smiles and they're all having fun, and it's all about a new adventure. Like, six of them had never been on a plane before and that was pretty crazy," Fike said. 

For Austyan Marquardt, the win and the medal mean special olympic athletes can do anything they set their minds to. 

"It means that people will realize that we can do this, and that we have done this, and that people really care about this program," he said. 

Marquardt has been playing for five years, and said the win inspired him to take his skills to another level. 

"I may or may not try out for the high school basketball team. I'm still iffy about that," he said. 

But for all of the players, Sunday was about taking it all in. What's next for the team? 

"We haven't really talked about it because we're all just going to start crying about what's next," Fike said. 

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