Unified special olympics team holds spirit week, wins tournament

As a tradition for many Virginia high schools, Marshall hosted this year’s Fanquest.

Marshall’s Unified Special Olympics team was created in 2018 following an invitation to their very first Fanquest at Lake Braddock Secondary School.

“We invited Robinson and Madison Unified Special Olympics teams to take us on in basketball [this year],” club sponsor Sarah Espanol said.

The week leading up to Fanquest consisted of a spirit week and the final game was held Friday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m.

We had this idea back in January that we wanted to have spirit week,” junior and vice president of Special Olympics Zena Soufi. “Because if everyone’s dressing in something that’s not like normal per se, it’s gonna be for a reason. It’s kind of like spreading the word and to get as many people leading up to it.”

Member of the team, Philip Champagne approved the spirit days.

“I’m so happy that we’re having a spirit week,” Champagne said. “I hope everybody supports it.”

Since Marshall is hosting this year, they must prepare for the other schools: Madison High School and Robinson Secondary School.

“We’ve invited the whole school community to come out and cheer,” Espanol said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show the community what we can do, because we really love to play basketball and we’re pretty awesome, to honor our athletes and their families and give them a chance to shine, and for the community to get to experience the incredible joy that is Special Olympics. We bring the fun.”

The event also consisted of a tailgate before the actual tournament.

“The center of the thing is the inclusion banner which people got to sign at lunch,” Soufi said. “And we’ll all park in one of the parking lots and just be hanging out. I’m pretty sure we’re selling T-shirts and stuff and it’s just getting ready and getting hyped up for the actual games.”