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The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

Bocce Season Was a Ball

Judged only on wins and losses, Tyrone High School’s 2024 Unified Bocce season was a real heartbreaker. The team lost all five of its matches, with three of the losses coming in overtime.

But just talk to anyone associated with the team, and it will quickly be obvious that the season was anything but a failure.

“This is sooooooo awesome,” said first-year player Micheal Mingle.”This is my favorite team.”

This was Tyrone’s first season competing in the Special Olympics Pennsylvania Unified Champion Schools (UCS) Bocce League.

Unified bocce is an inclusive program where students with intellectual disabilities, autism, or other disabilities come together as equal peers with students without disabilities to compete in an athletic competition against teams from other schools.

The team demonstrates and promotes the values of inclusion, acceptance, teamwork, and empowerment for all.

Like every varsity sport, Bocce teaches much more than just a sport. Players learn life lessons that they will carry with them forever.

This is sooooooo awesome. This is my favorite team.

— Team member Michael Mingle

“Bocce helps the students involved grow in their understanding of others,” Tyrone special education teacher and head coach Zach Soellner said. “Bocce is such a great sport because all the students grow and learn about individuals who differ from them. Everyone on the team was able to grow in their ability to work with others. Bocce also teaches our students to be selfless as they work with their team toward a goal.”

Tyrone principal Chad Packer, who was instrumental in bringing the sport to Tyrone, served as an official at both home matches.

“My favorite part of being the official for Bocce was to see the excitement generated from the players and spectators, “ said Packer, “It was a great atmosphere and allowed our team to display their talents and skills developed from hard work.”

The Tyrone community showed up for the events as well. There was a big crowd on hand for the home opener, including a student section and an appearance by the Eagle mascot.

The team members are Aliyah Riling, Caleb Lavanish, Michael Mingle, Piper Myers, Malakai Wicker, and Collin Lewis.

All the student-athletes involved said that they had a very positive experience.

“Getting to hang with friends was my favorite memory of the season,” said junior Caleb Lavanish.

According to the players, Bocce is an easy game to play, but very difficult to master.

“Yeah, Bocce is definitely harder than it looks. How flat the floors are and how the ball feels can really impact how someone does whenever they have to roll the ball. It especially relies on having control over how hard or soft you roll the ball,” said Malikia Wicker.

The team is already looking forward to next year, and according to Packer and Soellner, Tyrone may even add a second team to accommodate more players.

“We want to provide as many opportunities as possible to engage students in the school community at TAHS,” said Packer.

Bocce helps the students involved grow in their understanding of others. Bocce is such a great sport because all the students grow and learn about individuals who differ from them. Everyone on the team was able to grow in their ability to work with others. Bocce also teaches our students to be selfless as they work with their team toward a goal

— Head Coach Zach Soellner

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About the Contributors
Grace Naylor
Grace Naylor, Staff Writer
Grace is a sophomore at Tyrone Area High School. This is Grace’s first year in Eagle Eye as a staff member. Grace plays softball and basketball. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family. Grace likes writing about school sports and other fun activities within the school. Grace is a member of All Eagles, a club dedicated to student inclusion. She also is in the National Honor Society. Grace is a part of the Eagle Eye Yearbook. Her favorite subject in school is Math. When Grace gets out of high school, she wants to attend a 4-year college to be a teacher for Elementary Special Education students. Grace is excited to write stories!
Tony Hughes
Tony Hughes, Staff Writer
Tony Hughes is a junior at Tyrone. This is his first year in Eagle Eye. In his free time, he enjoys playing football, basketball, and track. He enjoys playing Xbox and hanging out with his friends.  His favorite video game is Black Ops 2 and his favorite restaurant is Taco Bell. He plans to write about sports and help with social media accounts. After high school, he plans to attend college for his bachelor's in teaching and sports. 
Michael Mingle, Staff Writer
Michael is so excited to be a part of Eagle Eye this year. He loves dragstrip racing and nitro-top fuel. When he graduates, he wants to work at a school and become an animator.

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  • S

    Sue BryanMar 3, 2024 at 11:22 am

    Congratulation to the new Bocce Team. I have played bocce and absolutely love the sport but it sure takes patience and skill. Looking forward to great things from this team and Coach Soellner.
    Sue Bryan

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