Local athlete will take on the worldKatie VandenBosch played in three state tournaments as a student at Farmington High School, but her next major competition will be an even bigger stage.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Katie VandenBosch played in three state tournaments as a student at Farmington High School, but her next major competition will be an even bigger stage.
VandenBosch, who was a member of adaptive soccer, hockey and softball teams at FHS, will compete next June in the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece. She won’t compete in any of the sports she lettered in as a high school athlete, though. She’s going to Athens to play tennis, a sport she had never played until a few weeks before last June’s state tournament, and which she almost didn’t play at all.
“Originally I was going to sign up for volleyball, but they didn’t have it, so I decided to try tennis,” VandenBosch said.
The decision turned out pretty well. VandenBosch missed a regional tournament, but after two months of training she took third at June’s state tournament. The trip to the world games typically goes to the first place finisher, but because that player had already competed in the world games Special Olympics opened the spot to any of the players. VandenBosch had to fill out an application and go through an interview process before she was selected.
“I was kind of shocked,” said Terrie VandenBosch, Katie’s mother. “I had no idea she was even eligible to be in the world games. I still kind of don’t believe it.”
In March, VandenBosch will travel to San Diego to meet the rest of team USA. From there, the team will travel to the island of Rhodes for more training and site seeing before the competition.
Seven other athletes from Minnesota will compete in Athens. Altogether, Team USA will send nearly 300 athletes.
VandenBosch said she’s excited to play, and to meet new people.
VandenBosch plans to continue working hard as she prepares for the world games. She typically practices from 45 minutes to two hours at a time on the tennis courts at Levi Dodge Middle School. That practice time will be cut back, though, as the snow starts to fly and VandenBosch gets involved in her other sports. This winter she will play basketball and hockey and she will bowl.
“She’s kind of got a little competitive spirit,” Terrie said. “She doesn’t like to lose.”
VandenBosch can’t pinpoint whether her competitive spirit comes from her parents. She said her father, Stefan, is competitive. He said he only gets competitive when he’s watching the Vikings.
VandenBosch has always been athletic. Since graduating with honors from FHS she has gone back to serve as an assistant coach for the Blazing Cats, the adapted athletics team that draws students from FHS, both Lakeville high schools and Burnsville High School. She hopes to continue working with young athletes.
“I like the little kids,” she said.
She likes to win, too.